Faculty: Ankita Trivedi

Design Futures in Indian Science Fiction

The relational multiplicity of Global South has fallen into crises since globalization led to celebration of homogenization creating borrowed aspirations in the region. Such mainstreaming of homogenous aspirations have been fed even more by the neo-liberal market forces driving forms of design - both through material and media-based inflation of capital driven goods and values. Thus, to engage with the plural imaginaries of design, we must look beyond the Eurocentric history of design, including the design histories of the Global South- both as records and as methods. To look beyond such constructions, I propose to seek design futures and futuring mechanisms in the under-examined science fiction narratives from India.
The tools of sci-fi narrative are increasingly being used in the field of design to better imagine, experience, and shape possible futures. Whether these emerging design practices are categorized as “design fiction,” “sci-fi prototyping,” “useful fiction,” “experiential futures,” or “world-building,” there is a growing field of futurists and design professionals applying these science-fictional techniques to advise companies, governments, and nonprofits on how to prepare for the opportunities and challenges that the future will bring. The Sci-fi genre has a crucial role in Design Futures practices, since its mechanism of cognitive estrangement allows for authors and readers to imagine alternative futures, compare and build narratives about problems and change in their environment, and think about implications of fictive elements as plausible futures for society.