Back To The Future

Class 4A
Mar 12, 2017

In Class


Lecture: Introduction To Virtual Space

This semester’s methodology is radically different from the last one, and more in line with the idea of Digital Culture: independent self-driven learning, flexible thinking and productive collaboration. Please refer to this lecture for technical details on how the class will be organized with details on teamwork.

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Device using bees to detect odours

Lecture: Critical Design

This semester we will work within the framework of Critical Design, which examines our reality and present trends to offer alternative possibilities and different ways of being in future. This lecture offers a brief introduction to Critical Design, and several examples that may be useful for further research on the subject.

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Lecture: Your Project brief

Entire semester will be dedicated to one project that student will work on teams.
The design brief for the project will be for students to observe and extrapolate current trends in our society, science and technology and imagine a possible future. For that “projected” future each team will design and present an object, serie of objects and/or space and present this design my means of a short video. The presentation has to address the context of the students’s designs and its consequences on every day life in future. More than anything else, both the design and presentation should raise intellectual curiosity about the way we live and choices we make today.

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Group Exercise: Speed Thinking

This is a group divergent thinking exercise with goal to produce great quantities of ideas that would be used as a raw material that students’ design briefs will be made of. It comprises of several rounds of exercise each one dealing with one particular topic related to our future (and present) lives that may be relevant for design. These rounds are grouped into two main groups: Environment and Us. For each topic, a brief micro-lecture will introduce students to the topic, and the quick inspiration sheet will offer some food for thought to start with.

Download Exercise Instructions

Download Microlectures: #1 Environment

Download Microlectures: #2 Us

Download Quick Inspiration Sheets

Session Conclusion

At the end of session, each student has to take photos of their post-it notes, and upload them to this website. This will serve as a proof of attendance, and -more importantly- be the basis for the homework.


Students are expected to perform 3 tasks at home. The purpose of this homework is for students to get to know each other interests and preferences, as well as to start doing their own research on critical design.

Do not do the homework automatically just for the sake of it – this homework should get you closer to the definition of the project you will be doing this semester, so put some effort into it!

Please perform tasks #1 and #2 on this MindMap (click to open):


Click here to open the mind map in MindMeister (you will need to open a free account there). For a quick guide on how to use MindMeister, click here for video tutorial.

Task #1: 5 More Ideas

Using the same method as we did in class, each student should post 5 more ideas. You can use the same range of topics that we’ve done in class, or invent new ones. You can use Post It notes, if you want, or you can just write down directly on your computer.

Task #2: Connect With Your Classmates

Each student is expected to examine other students’ ideas (posted in class) and make at least 5 comments on their classmate’s ideas (or comments). Here’s what to write about in the comments:

Important: Finish this task before Saturday evening!

Task #3: Express Your Interests

Write down a short paragraph that states your interests related to this semester’s project. Express your interest in two ways:

Here are some team role examples, we will discuss them in more details next class. Just for your reference, each student will take several roles like these:

optional task: 2 Examples

For the students who are willing to explore the subject more intensively, I would suggeset to find 2 inspiring examples of Critical Design (or Speculative Design, or Design Fiction) and include it in their post. This is not mandatory, but highly recommended if you want to really get into the subject and start moving on with the project.

For each example students should provide an image or a video (see online how to embed a YouTube or Vimeo video in WordPress posts), and also a brief one-paragraph analysis of the project. Important: do not describe project – instead, focus on your impression of the project and what you find interesting.
Use links embedded in the PDF files of the lectures as a starting point for your research.

Students' Work