We live in a world of uncertainty. The increasing complexity of this world puzzled us, and lead us to an unpredictable future. Since massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) were invented, people spend more time in virtual world, enjoying their immersive fantasies, rather than in their cruelly limiting real-life roles. (Sterling, 2009)
In fact, there are more technologies dominate our ways of living, lead us to an unknown future. As a designer, the future imaginator, to propose a foreseeable future landscape for others to reflect is a must do.
Compare to science fiction, which uses literature as an infrastructure, design fiction uses design artifacts to provide immersive fantasies, an ambiguous imaginary area. Dunne and Raby described an futuristic world by using models and props, in their recently project “United Micro Kingdoms”. In the project, England will governed by four extreme lifestyle tribes in the future, Digitarian tribe depends on digital technology, they move by Digicars with the most rational attitude; Communo-nuclearist tribe lives in a nuclear-powered landscape-like train, which never stops; Bioliberal tribe travel in extremely light organically grown vehicles, powered by gas, and Anarcho-evolutionist tribe DIY biohacking themselves to exist within the limits of the planet.
This project leaves many blanks for visitors to fill in. Instead of showing every technical details of each tribe and their appurtenances, Dunne and Raby choose only materials and forms to suggest their design artifacts.
By giving four prognostications, “United Micro Kingdoms” gives us a chance to inspect our daily life carefully, further more, makes us to rethink the role that we play in the world, and the future we are willing to live in.
Sterling, B. 2009. Design Fiction.
Wainwright, O. 2013. Are nuclear trains and cars made of skin the future of travel?