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|United Micro Kingdoms (Umk): A design fiction on view at the Design Museum in London|
Designers and educators Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby pose for a picture during the preview of their exhibition entitled 'United Micro Kingdoms (UmK) a Design Fiction' at the Design Museum in London on April 30, 2013. UmK presents perspectives on a fictional future for the United Kingdom, as imagined by designers and educators Dunne and Raby. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW COWIE.
LONDON.- United Micro Kingdom: A Design Fiction presents multiple perspectives on a fictional United Kingdom, as imagined by designers and educators Dunne and Raby. The exhibition sees England devolved into four selfcontained counties or micro kingdoms, each free to experiment with governance, economy and lifestyle.
Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby use elements of industrial design, architecture, politics, science and sociology to provoke debate around the power and potential of design. The exhibition challenges assumptions about how products and services are made and used, through reinterpretations of the car and other transport systems.
Dunne & Raby interrogate the potential for design borrowing methods from literature and art and apply them to the real world as thought experiments. Their design practice uses design to explore the social, cultural and ethical implications of emerging technologies.
The four micro kingdoms explored in the exhibition are:
Digitarians depend on digital technology and all its implicit totalitarianism tagging, metrics, total surveillance, tracking, data logging and 100% transparency. Their society is organised entirely by market forces; citizen and consumer are the same.
The Communo-nuclearist society is a no-growth, limited population experiment. Using nuclear power to deliver near limitless energy, the state provides everything needed for their continued survival. Although they are energy rich it comes at a price no one wants to live near them. Under constant threat of attack or accident, they live on a continually moving, 3 kilometre, nuclear-powered mobile landscape.
The Anarcho-evolutionists abandon most technologies, or at least stop developing them, and concentrate on using science to maximise their own physical capabilities through training, DIY biohacking and selfexperimentation. They believe that humans should modify themselves to exist within the limits of the planet rather than modifying the planet to meet their ever growing needs.
Bioliberals fully embrace biotechnology and the new values that this entails. Biology is at the centre of their world-view, leading to a radically different technological landscape to our own. Each person produces their own energy according to their needs. Bioliberals are essentially farmers, cooks and gardeners. Not just of plants and food, but of products too. Gardens, kitchens and farms replace factories and workshop.
Anthony Dunne is professor and head of the Design Interactions programme at the Royal College of Art in London. Anthony studied Industrial Design at the RCA before working at Sony Design in Tokyo. On returning to London he completed a PhD in Computer Related Design at the RCA. Anthony was a founding member of the CRD Research Studio where he worked as a Senior Research Fellow leading EU and industry funded research projects. Anthony was awarded the Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education in 2009.
Fiona Raby is professor of Industrial Design (id2) at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna as well as reader in Design Interactions at the RCA. She studied Architecture at the RCA before working for Kei'ichi Irie Architects in Tokyo. She also holds an MPhil in Computer Related Design from the RCA. Fiona was a founding member of the CRD Research Studio where she worked as a Senior Research Fellow leading externally funded research projects. Fiona taught in Architecture for over 10 years.
Their projects include, Hertzian Tales, a combination of essays and design proposals exploring aesthetic and critical possibilities for electronic products (MIT Press 2005); Placebo, a collection of electronic objects exploring wellbeing in relation to domestic electromagnetic fields (2001); and Technological Dreams Series: no.1, Robots (2007). Design Noir: The Secret Life of Electronic Objects was published by Birkhauser in 2001 and Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction and Social Dreaming will be published by MIT Press in 2013.
Their work has been exhibited and published internationally and is in the permanent collections of MoMA, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Frac Ile-de- France and Fnac (Fond national d'art contemporain), as well as several private collections.
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