Through a speculative design process, we'll reflect on our relationships with computing technologies and reimagine them from a hyper-personal, retrospective, and healing lens.
NOTE: Scholarship rates are available for students and others in need of financial support to be able to enroll. If you're interested in a scholarship, please email me with a brief note on why you'd like to join.
Many of us are nostalgic about the technology of our pasts, but what happens when we move from nostalgia—longing for what was—to neostalgia*—longing for what could have been?
In this class, we'll work through a speculative design process to reimagine computing technology for ourselves through a retrospective, hyper-personal, and healing approach.
Through in-class discussions, activities, and homework assignments, we'll reflect on our past relationships with technology and work towards completing final personal projects in any medium of your choice. Each week, we'll walk through through one step of a speculative design process—to brainstorm, prototype, and share our personally-reimagined computing artifacts.
While the class is not explicitly focused on UI design, we will use Figma to virtually collaborate and brainstorm together.
Especially suited for students, makers, technologists, and/or artists who want to get a new lens into their relationships with technology and their own work.
We'll focus on ideas and discussion rather than learning new tools—while it does help to be comfortable with expressing your ideas in some creative medium, no specific background in coding or design is necessary!
Each student will leave the class with their own speculative computing artifact, imagined in whatever medium they choose.
As a group, we will document our work in a collective gallery/e-zine to share our projects and stories.
What are some of our early memories of technology? What do we miss from it? What are we nostalgic about in technology, and why?
Starting from the piece of technology you imagined (or pivoting to something else), do some research. What can you learn about its history, and the social values that are embedded into its design, implementation, or use?
Capture this in any form that’s useful to you - bullets, notes, writing, whatever. We’ll share our findings in the next class.
What values did we see in our past experiences of technology? How do those align with larger social/cultural values, and what alternate values could we try to imagine instead?
Reflect on the social/technical values that were most harmful and/or negative to you . What could the alternate values be, if you flipped them to be healing and/or positive?
Create a list of these alternate values (at least a few) to act as your list of “Design Principles”.
How can we create versions of technology for ourselves under alternate values? How can we explore different possibilities of these, across various artifacts?
Let the ideas simmer for a bit, and continue brainstorming if needed! Pick one Thing that feels the most poignant and free-write/sketch, thinking about:
To help answer these, consider doing some further research into the original Thing and its history.
What tools can we use to flesh out this artifact - the look, feel, story? What do prototypes do, what do they tell us, and how can we prototype to serve our goals?
Start prototyping! Focus on getting the core idea down. Plan to have something started, to share next week as a work-in-process.
How can you tell a story - about your artifact, and about yourself? What are formats for telling a story around your artifact?
Continue prototyping based on the feedback! When you're finished, update the shared Figma file with any images and writing you'd like to include in your section of the web gallery so Jackie can turn it into a website.
To what extent can personal healing be a means for collective healing? What does reimagining pasts mean for reimagining futures?
No specific coding or design experience is necessary! This class leads up to individual, free-form projects—so it's great to have some comfort (or excitement!) to bring your creative ideas to life, in any medium.