Whakatauki – Proverbs are metaphorical observations that are designed to guide us in our lives.
Metaphor meaning: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
- Look at the list of proverbs given and understand the meaning of the proverbs completely and select one from these that you feel challenged, feel suspense and the one that provokes the vision.
- The types of process employed will differ from project to project. produce a significant body of work from which edit and refine.
- Ensure that the work embodies the essential qualities of the expression of the verb.
- produce works that are thoughtful, provocative, evocative, rich, subtle and elegant.
Options to chose from;
- A series of graphic design A2 posters.
- A series of paintings, photographs, sculptures, moving image or installation.
- A piece of speculative design for the future or a functional series of objects for the domestic environment.
Document all the process that went into making the art
“Even a monkey sometimes falls from a tree”
The meaning I got from the above proverb is that ‘one can be an expert in a respective field but they can make mistakes leading to their failure’. when I went through this proverb I immediately came up on the idea to show the demise of some of the big companies in the world over the decades such as, Kodak, Nokia, Xerox, Blockbuster, General Electric as illustrations either using Photoshop or Illustrator.
“coming events cast the shadows before”
when I encountered this proverb I understood that if one pays close enough attention to the events happening now you can speculate what might happen in the future. I felt that this would be a appropriate proverb if one can do a speculative design. If I choose this proverb my idea is to take a potential problem that is prevailing in the world right now such as plastic, pollution, climate change, isolation, social media and try to make a speculation on that in a negative way or show the technological advancements thats happening right now and represent it in a positive way of the future outcome. for this project photography can also be a appropriate tool if considered.
“Marry a man with calloused hands”
The above proverb means ‘marry someone or be with someone who is a hard worker in whatever field’. when I came across this proverb my idea is to use photography as a tool to show the meaning or I thought this can also be applied to the future perspective because in it works in the past to marry someone with calloused hands, but now no one has calloused hands, so what can be seen in a man to get married. illustration practice or sculpture making can also be a good option, in my perspective.
“Unlike a canoe rope, a human bond cannot be severed”
The meaning of this proverb emphasizes human relationships. If I choose this proverb my idea is to show the relationships between people in various sectors either using photography or illustration. This proverb can also be represented in the future perspective of where the human relationships are going becoming fragile each generation.
“We are a small Island, we are still great”
This proverb reminds us that size doesn’t matter to be great or a small group of people can accomplish enormous things.
While I was searching through the Unitec library catalogue about speculative design I found the book ‘speculative everything’ by Dunne Anthony and Raby Fiona.
This book taught me a lot of things about speculative design below are some of the notes I gathered from this book.
Below are some of the speculative designs from other practitioners
While I was reading the book I got some ideas on the go, I just tried to write every idea down, I’m not sure at that time if they can be considered speculative or not. I don’t have any idea for a particular problem these are my random initial thoughts. But all are some how related to the planet.
This idea was about what if instead of chopping the trees of and constructing houses from the wood, we engineer the plants to grow so big that we construct houses within the trees. Which leaves us living in harmony with the nature and planet.
If we might occupy all our land, we might be growing plants on our dresses, cars etc.
Idea III & IV
The top deals with the idea of Fizzy drinks, as every one is getting conscious of health, we might find drinks in future that might deliver only few ml of drink per day and then its locked by itself until next day.
The bottom deals with the idea of plastic. As we are using plastics in everything I thought of making few installations using plastic bottles such as even making a painting canvas with plastic, or the plastic bottles sticking out of canvas as painting.
This idea deals with technology as technology is getting smarter we might one day build everything into the contact lenses so, we mighty watch television, spy on someone, get all the details of strangers just by looking at them.
This one deals with the human body as more and more people are trying to alter there bodies through tattoos, piercing, we might one day be able to change the color of the bodies in what ever color we like each day.
This one also deals with technology in health, as baby designing is starting to evolve, me might one day able to deliver babies who are half robots and half humans.
These are mostly related to sci-fi or fantasy thinking. We might one day be able to surf near a black hole.
Use the space time as trampoline for the kids to play (which is more than 1000 years from now).
This one deals with the food. I just wrote down the ideas, What if one day we design humans to be born with chloroplast cells so that they synthesize there food in their own body.
At this point my question was What if humans can prepare their own food?
This one deals with the pollution. what if one day we might design cars that acts as a bio respirator, which runs by taking in all the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and exhausts oxygen.
I got my ideas, at this point I had no idea of what to do next. As I spoke to one of the tutors about my idea she suggested me to choose one Idea and follow through and gave me some suggestions on how the final out come should be (in material sense and technical sense – how it functions) and so on.
I finalized my ideas on the basis of thinking that “I would be able to deliver something” and I choose (at this point my questions were).
Idea VI – What if humans can change color when ever they want?
Idea IX – What if humans can prepare there own food?
Idea X – What if cars might one day act as bio respirators taking in carbon dioxide and exhausts oxygen?
At this point I have no idea on what to do and left these ideas aside and went back to speculative design book to see the work of other people again and encountered Dunne and Raby’s ‘United Micro Kingdoms’ series of works.
In that they divide UK into four different regions and device transport systems specifically made for those groups. In this they suggest alternative futures.
After reading that I had some influence of that and try to do the similar thing and downloaded a world map started to divide the world based on the education disciplines and a central hub connecting them.
I thought I was being distracted with what I have read and moving away from my original ideas and the whole concept is too complicated for me either to processes. so I went back to my original three finalized ideas.
This is my next encounter with one of the tutors and we she asked about my work, I told her the three Ideas – VI, IX, X and asked her I was not able to figure out how to approach them and she gave me some insights into how these can be approached and narrow it down to one idea.
Through the suggestions from the session I came up with some ideas (I realized, until that point I was only thinking on the ideas but not on the expression of ideas (the physical side or product side or the deliverable side of the idea).
For Idea VI – What if I make a bed like device, which hold the pigments in it for colour change and when a person sleeps in it over night it changes colour through spraying on him or injecting into him.
For Idea IX – What if I make a shirt or a dress that absorbs sunlight through tiny cells that embedded in it – makes food and injects into the person who is wearing it.
For Idea X – To make a car that looks futuristic that is capable taking in carbon-dioxide and releasing oxygen.
I thought I need to learn 3D modeling software to represent my ideas. But I don’t know what software to be used. So I tried to do something in illustrator.
Based on the above ideas.
Here I tried to do something how the car should look like and how does it work but I’m not much convinced with that.
The next day I saw somebody working on a 3D software called solid works and saw the tutorials in youtube to work on it. I realized it is way hard and unfortunately I forgot to save the work I did on it and lost it.
from this week encounter from the tutors, he suggestions from the tutor were I was ‘designing for a solution’ and I should change my approach, I realized I was going too broad on many ideas and should narrow it down to a particular idea so I finalized the Idea IX (what if humans can prepare their own food?) and eliminated the other two. As the Idea VI doesn’t deal with a particular problem. and Idea X is too complex and is not dealing with a particular section or group of people or defining a problem.
This is where I was introduced to the terms Biomimicry and personas.
Every time I’m stuck I went back to the speculative design book or topic on it in the internet to check whether if I’m doing right. At this stage I’m in a state of confusion and started my research to work around finding a problem and apply my Idea IX there.
I had a collection of the articles before where I would always read around my spare time, and want to define the problem from these articles and wrote down a statement that leads to my final Idea.
Intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES) 2019 global assessment report on Biodiversity prepared by 150 experts from 50 countries says humans have failed in protecting the earth and other species of the planet and are dragging the earth towards the sixth mass extinction. More than quarter of the 100,000 species accessed so far are on the threat to extinction, which is 1000 times faster than before humans arrived on earth, and if not taken enough responsibility it would be 10,000 higher in the future. It is reported that in the last decade about 42% of the animal and plant species were declined in Europe and central Asia, if it continues, by the end of 2100 the planet would lose half of all the plant and animal species. So, what is causing such a devastating effect on biodiversity? The main drivers are the habitat loss (the result of farming for food and over exploitation of plants and animals) climate change and pollution. All of which are degrading the land due to forests loss1. Agriculture has taken a great toll on forests, between 1980 and 2000 about 100 million hectares had been cleared. About three fourths of the land on earth have been altered by humans for agriculture. The report says that “we’re producing food without regard for how it will affect ecosystems”. Which is leading to climate change, since the industrial revolution the atmospheric CO2has continuously increased from the normal 280ppm to 410ppm by 2018 which contributes to about 30% of total greenhouse effect and would remain in the atmosphere for about 100 years warming the climate. The oceans and the calcareous rocks formed by deposited carbon act as the natural carbon sinks, on the other hand Photosynthesis helps living organisms build organic carbon in them through atmospheric CO2which helps in keeping the CO2from atmosphere. Lignin present in the plants is resistant to microbial degradation and helps build carbon stocks as coal for millions of years. With the industrial revolution taking over, humans in the past 160 years burnt 25% of the earth fossil fuels and inverted the earth’s natural ability to store the carbon which is adding 28Gt of CO2 per year which is 50 times more than volcanos, while the natural geological sequestration cannot keep up with the rising CO2 which results in, ecosystem disruptions, glacial retreat, sea-level rise, ocean acidification, extreme weather events3. The soil holds three times more carbon than the atmosphere which is being released back by deforestation and poor farming. The soil is deeply damaged by erosion through various farming machinery, over-watering and the use of chemicals which costs the climate in two ways – by compromising plant growth and its ability to take in carbon from atmosphere and the release of already stored carbon in the soil. About half of the world population (3.2 billion) is affected by this. Soils form at a rate of 1cm per 300 years and 75 billion tonnes of fertile soil is lost every year to land degradation. The only solution to this is to grow the forests back while combating growing world’s population4. The world’s population is set to increase to 10 billion by 2050 and the demand to feed the growing population also increases by 70%, if we are relying on the same methods growing crops we will be heading towards a major catastrophe5. What technology did so far is mitigating the already highly altered world such as reducing emissions, creat, altering crops that has less impact but the ground on which humans are altering the environment is not changing for this we need radical new technologies that focus on adaptation visualizing the suffering that is going to come6. The speculative design that I choose would be considered in the area of adaptation rather than mitigation.
Lichfield, G. (2019, April 24). Welcome to climate change. MIT Technology Review. Retrieved from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613350/welcome-to-climate-change/
Schwartz, A. (2019, May 8). The UN’s devastating extinction report, explained in 5 charts. Popular Science. Retrieved from https://www.popsci.com/un-extinction-report-stats-climate
Briggs, H., Dale, B., & Stylianou, N. (2019, MAy 5). Nature’s emergency: Where we are in five graphics. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48104037?ocid=socialflow_twitter
Paris, G., & Blard, PH. (2019, May 7). How Humans Derailed the Earth’s Climate in Only 160 Short Years. Inverse. Retrieved from https://www.inverse.com/article/55570-humans-climate-change-earth-s-climate-co2-160-years
Griffiths, J. (2019, May 13). There is more CO2 in the atmosphere today than any point since the evolution of humans. retrieved from https://edition.cnn. com/2019/05/13/health/carbon-dioxide-world-intl/?no-st=1558312719
Harrabin, R. (2019, February 12). Environment in multiple crises – report. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47203344
Harrabin. R. (2019, April 29). Climate change being fuelled by soil damage – report. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48043134
After this I thought I’m asking the wrong question and changed the question from
‘What if Humans can prepare there own food’
‘What if we change the way we feed?’
I realized the change of question has changed a lot in the way I approach my project. At this point my idea was what if I prepare a device that makes food (such as basic protein or carbs) through sunlight where everyone can consume and it has got something in it such as microbes, algae or fungi to make food.
So in my mind I just want something that makes food and delivers into a bowl, and that bowl can be detached and be able to move by itself near a light source when its not connected.
these are my initial drawings.
Later I thought it would be better if I do something in 3D software and it should be easier to use so I found an app called 3DC.io in App Store and try to make some design prototypes for that
The above is the final design I thought, it has got these capsules where it detaches and moves by itself on its own and different types of capsules prepare different food and also looked into capsule design as it can manufacture its own thing.
this is what it looks like I thought.
below is the process of making.
I also wrote down a story board on how its to be shot.
The I went out and looked into things that looks like a capsule and found some objects that looks like what I wanted to use.
Then the session with the tutor game me more insights into how to design a product and asked me to narrow it down even further to a particular section or group of people.
this is where I was introduced to the concept of affordances and started to look into that
While I was fiddling with what section of people do I need to proceed I came across the below article written by Don Norman.
Norman, D. (2019). I wrote the book on user-friendly design. What I see today horrifies me. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/90338379/i-wrote-the-book-on-user-friendly-design-what-i-see-today-horrifies-me
This is where I decided my product is aimed at disabled or older who cannot prepare there own food. and it is a Kitchen object that fits in everyday kitchen.
So now my question from
‘What if Humans can prepare there own food’
‘What if we change the way we feed?’
What if I can make a equipment/device that can prepare food for the elderly who can’t function well and that incorporates my previous ideas of preparing food from light source involving microbes or algae.
To exactly know the affordances I started searching on microbes preparing food. and below is my research.
I learned that microbes are grown in a bio reactor
and I had to device my equipment based on that, involving a bioreactor, a centrifuge, a drying chamber and a collection chamber and started to draw my plans based on that, involving four chambers and something is going on in them.
These are initial drawings based on the thoughts then I changed the way it looks as the industrial scale ones are more oblong I wanted to make these the same.
then I thought this how it looks for the front.
I put a display on top and few controls on that, and some squares to that symbolizes the source input.
Then I played around with colors how it should look.
some 3D models of this.
below is the working process.
Then I thought I would change my design as it is not matching the insides with relation to the collecting chamber.
so I changed to this. to much more refined output.
below is some work process.
I also tried the final outcome in 3D software.
At this point I realized I’m making a functional product design and it doesn’t seem to me like speculative design, if I know all the internals of it and how it functions how can it be speculative. So I thought I must go back re-check on what speculative design is.
The watched a video by Anthony Dunne who explained his work and his students work. below is the video
This is also my last session by the tutors, and the insights from the video and the suggestions from the tutor helped me to better understand what speculative design is.
I realized I have to design for my idea but with affordances and the people interacting with the design in the way I wanted it to function.
So, during this time I looked into All of my work and also the desired outcome I wanted.
All I want is a design suitable for the kitchen, that can synthesize food with all the necessary affordances and a person interacting with my design. This time I wanted to make a physical prototype and I wandered around multiple stores in Auckland to find materials that appropriately fits into my idea.
I also looked into various kitchen appliances and how they are being operated. and wanted to design around that theme.
Below are some videos of affordances work all shot by me.
For the speculative design I had to combine that looks like it is a kitchen object and also it can synthesise its own food and its moving. So, I started looking into all my process so far, if I can take any of the clues and also into the commercial objects outside to get some design ideas.
My final object constitutes my ideas gathered From the entire process and also from the objects that are used in various industries.
All the above inspired me to make my final design.
I alway wanted my design to be a bowl from beginning, I don’t know why, because I think it is more connected with food. so When I think of food I think of bowl. so I opted for my found object at hospice.
Then I wanted to create a base for it to put the wheels on at the end, as I imagined it to be moving from my initial thoughts.
Then I want to put some openings inside the bowl, as the food is being prepared on the other side it filters into the bowl. so I found something at spot light. that I thought would appear as openings.
As I imagined that the food is being prepared by microorganisms, algae or fungi (primitive forms). which can synthesize food using light. I want the set to be surrounded by it outside.