Faculty: Ankita Trivedi

Design Futures, Speculative Design, and Science Fiction Prototyping

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.

This project will engage with speculative fiction/science fiction from India through design pedagogy to
reimagine design futures for India. Each student will engage with a chosen Indian Science Fiction
narrative; visualize it, analyse its worldbuilding mechanisms using Darko Suvin’s ideology of the ‘novum’
and intervene within this world as designers by prototyping products/spaces. Students will be exposed to
the design process of speculative design and strategic foresight and add to their repertory of design tools
focused on the identification of problems, development and prototyping of solutions.

Student DRP