Thought this semester we have seen that design goes the creation of solutions to solve current day problems. While solutions and artifacts are the immediately visible outcomes of design, and those we can easily contend with, the real power is in the way it molds our world. This project was meant to ask the core question which at times gets over looked, just because we can, does that mean we should? This the a question design must ask, it is the mechanism which can allow designers to consider the full range of implications of our designs. By nature, the process of design requires us to be optimistic of the outcomes of our designs. This optimism means designers are more likely to focus on the good that can come from our work. It is reassuring and encouraging, allowing us to continue further down the path of discovery. However, overlooking the implications, as messy as they maybe, is dereliction of our duty. Designers are responsible for the outcomes, both positive and negative. The beginning of the project was understanding the underlying conditions and environment within which our design materialize and live. During the course we touched upon this topic under the theme of dark matter. Dark matter are the unseen forces that move and nudge us in invincible manners. While dark matter is not a big part of the project, the mention of IBM and the work with Watson is a hint to its existence. The designs we settle on are influenced by the motives of corporations and other social-political motives. These organizations have agendas, and many of our designs will be brought to life within such organizations.
The second impactful section of the semester was the reading from Speculative Everything, these are what really shaped my thoughts on how designs are a statement of the future and how it should be. The work of Norman Bel Gedes at General Motors is probably the best example of design setting a trajectory for the world. While speculation can be used in this manner, the same power can be harnessed to evaluate the implications of our designs. This project attempts to do the later, the fork is an attempt to demonstrate that all outcomes from designs are not good. There are multiple outcomes, many of which live together simultaneously. The fork attempts to show how something positive, protecting babies from food allergies, can also have the outcome of destroying social structures. The objective is not to categorize a design by a singular outcome, but to illuminate these options.
The experience of the semester has enriched my design process int two distinct ways. In the first case manner the question of dark matter remains is one I cannot overlook. I now have to ask how it is influencing my designs, especially in situations where a design brief is provided. I must now ask where these prompts come from, and how this particular prompt is the correct one to approach over the many others. Beyond getting excited about solving the problem, we must ask why this is the right problem to solve and how this problem was selected. During the design process, I can no longer focus on solving just the problem. The design cannot be complete without considering the all the implications and possible outcomes. Designs are all speculative and we must always consider that future they are proposing.