Tag Archives: design fiction

Augmented [poker] Reality

What if the restrictions that take place in virtual game play existed in physical game play? This weekend I held a poker tournament. This was not a normal poker tournament. The rules, based off of the popular iPad app, “Pokerist,” implemented modern censorship techniques used in virtual worlds as a restriction in conversation and augmentation in game play. The hope from this experiment was to do a sort of “people-knowing” test that would highlight the complexities of self expression in virtual worlds and raise questions on the validity of certain forms of censorship in these realms.

 

The players were presented with the above gifts as well as the set of rules below, on the Joker card. As the rules below state, the players were not allowed to speak during the course of the game. Doing so would result in expulsion from the table (and a bit of lost poker money).

 

In order to speak to the table, the participants had to send a text message to the moderator (me). I would then go through the same process in real time as the Internet Chat Relay System, selectively censoring what I please. To speak to individuals, participants were asked to exchange gifts that were placed under each player’s chair. To clarify – none of these players were familiarized with any other information before hand, and none had ever played the Pokerist app, thus the act of gift giving was an entirely new restriction on the game of poker for these players.

 

The experiment resulted in the above image (click image for full size please) which serves as a still shot into the game play that took place, providing a mixed reality (pokerist iPad app meets the physical world) that explores censorship as a method for creative writing restriction. From this experiment I have concluded that adding a separation from the one-on-one communication methods we use in our daily lives actually give the players a similar “confidence” in their acts of insult. This experiment works on the threshold of fantasy and reality in order to explore the potential connections between the two worlds, and author critical media around the discourse of censorship and it’s validity.

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YPORTNE: a business plan fiction

close up of YPORTNE products: 1 bowl of Pasta for a world of reversed Entropy

YPORTNE is a piece of business plan fiction, exploring design fiction, but more specifically fictional entrepreneurship as a catalyst for discussion about conglomeration, it’s flaws, and it’s potentials. The YPORTNE story is told within the framework of a business plan, using revisions and time itself as individual characters in the story. YPORTNE is inspired by Steven Hawking’s concept that, as our world reaches indefinite expansion, it will begin to contract, resulting in a world with reversed entropy. How would a business handle this? Would a perfect world be able to produce products that make our daily lives efficient despite the restrictions of nature? Download business plan (PDF)

spread from YPORTNE business plan

“YPORTNE aims to provide the world with products that can help make our world of reversed entropy more livable. This new natural creation of order from all disorder will lead to the conclusion to all world wars resulting in world peace, and the impossibility of destruction to our household possessions. This reversal of time will change the way in which our customers perceive the world, turning death into birth, and birth into death, and creating a world that is, by definition, flawless. However, with flawlessness comes an entirely new set of previously unforeseen flaws. This is where YPORTNE comes in. YPORTNE exists to lead the business world as a new type of conglomerate, one that will take leadership over 100% of the global market, their products, and their employees, making every product and service possible in response to the inevitable reversal of entropy.”

spread from YPORTNE business plan

Fictional Entrepreneurship is the use of design fiction to imagine businesses in order to discover what could be, creating things that are not impossible, but possible, derived from utopian, theoretical, and philosophical principles. Fictional entrepreneurship aims to author critical media through the creation of enterprises (imaginary, and real).

Image of a product beginning the transformation: Particles > Product

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The Utopian Designer Society

The Utopian Designer Society (UDS) is a Fictional “club” of sorts that dedicates their lives to creating art-works that rely on process, not final outcome. Every year, the UDS meets to complete a project in which each member of the society designs a perfect world. Upon completing the project, each member is to immediately destroy their creation. This manifesto serves as a representation of a concept of mine – the idea that utopia is not a place, but a destination. I believe that the act of lookign for utopia is, in it of itself, utopia. If we were to ever discover utopia, I believe that the entire world would immediately re-set, similar to a “big-bang.” Similarly, I find that my ideal future would be one that is not rid of all of it’s problems, but instead one that believes it can be. Always be in the pursuit of the donut! Forget the hole.

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Good Living in Mixed Reality

The development and integration of technology in our daily lives will create individuals and culture that are more social. This phenomenon has already been seen in the development and growth of venues such as Facebook and AOL Instant Messenger. I argue that these new modes of social networking have not divided us through screens, but have connected us due to the invention of “events,” accumulation of friends, and the publishing of photos. Each of these features in virtual space serve as proof of our “real life” social qualities, and therefore provide pressure to socialize in the physical world. I believe our society will grow more and more dependent on one another as a result of our constant virtual connectivity, leading to a culture that will lose a sense of independence and self. The result of this will go beyond the loss of independence, it will also inherently foster a culture which suffers from an uprise in paranoia – one that feels as though something is always present, because something always is. Symptoms have already been seen as a result of the birth of the internet, and precaution should be considered as we continue to develop and make sense of what this network is, and the implications that it’s inhabitance within our daily lives may have.

I have developed the ADT Footstep Security System (FSS) as a way to raise dialogue about this concept. Will a more technologically inhabitted society be a more paranoid one? Will we find ourselves fearing what we have never feared before? The FSS is a fictional service that tracks all movement in the user’s backyard in order to evaluate and quantify the data from the movement within the yard and display it as a layer on all media devices within the home. The system provides interesting analysis that includes the evaluation of the intention of the animal as well as the speed, and exact identification. Doing so actually inherently creates quite the dramatic soap-opera of sorts. Example: Squirrel #374840 visits the yard daily with Squirrel #575950, but today he has arrived with Raccoon #29220030!!!! OMG, DRAMA!!!

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The Public School + “Fictional Entrepreneurship” Class?

I have submitted an idea for a class on “Fictional Entrepreneurship” to be taught at the Public School. If you are interested, please sign up!

THE PUBLIC SCHOOL is a school with no curriculum. At the moment, it operates as follows: first, classes are proposed by the public (I want to learn this or I want to teach this); then, people have the opportunity to sign up for the classes (I also want to learn that); finally, when enough people have expressed interest, the school finds a teacher and offers the class to those who signed up.

The class structure would be roughly as follows:

  • A brief introduction to the concept of Fictional Entrepreneurship, it’s relevance in today’s culture, and examples of fictional business.
  • Concept / Ideation time (think tank). As a class, we will all work togetehr to come up with a loose premise for the company (i.e. a tea store!)
  • Break into groups / mini teams. The teams are as follows:
  • Business Plan Design Team: What does this company’s business plan look like? Is it a series of drawings? Is it a collage? Is it written?
  • Brand Identity Team: What is the name of this company? How does it present itself to the world? Why does it do it that way?
  • Products / Services Team: What does this company do / make?
  • Marketing Team: How does this company differ from others? How does it get the word out?
  • Reconvene as a class and make presentations.
  • Return to small groups, revise, and finish.
  • The result: a business: potentially critical, definitely wacky.

If you are interested in the class, please sign up, and if you are interested in this workshop being taught at your venue, contact me leaving a comment here or emailing me directly @ matt@averynicedesignstudio.org.

In other news, this Saturday is the opening of MADE UP at the Art Center College of Design featuring a diverse group of artists and designers within the Design Fiction realm. The show should be fabulous, I know for a fact –

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An Investment of Imagination

An interesting tool that Design Fiction brings to the table is the advocacy for the use of an expansive imagination and elimination of practicality in order to craft design solutions and pose questions that, like Science Fiction, are not impossible, but possible. In the same way, Fictional Entrepreneurship offers a method that calls for a complete abandonment of practicality (something near impossible in the field of business) in order to think in new, very specific, ways, with the intention to generalize and inspire a practical, real, outcome. My next posts will highlight and analyze specific examples of Fictional Entrepreneurship, stay tuned…

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SONNY, son of SONY


Interesting! “A cybertronic mutant evolved from sony electronics searches for his real father.” I love the use of a blend of real life with consumer electronics in order to craft a nice piece of design fiction. What would the son of Sony look like? This piece was the winning entry for the ‘PSP Amaze Me’ competition back in 2006, created by lovely productions.

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