Actualité 08.11.2013

LECTURE + SEMINAR – Design and Computation Arts (Concordia U.) – "Distinguished Speaker Series: Fiona Raby"


“Hexagram-Concordia Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technologies Distinguished Speakers Series, in collaboration with the Department of Design & Computation Arts presents:


Public Lecture + Reception :

“The United Micro Kingdoms (UmK)” – Thursday, November 14, 2013, 4:00-6:00pm.
Located in the Design & Computation Arts Department, EV Building 6.720, Concordia University, 1515 Saint Catherine St. W. Montreal QC.

We called them micro-kingdoms rather than micro-states or micro-nations suggesting they are more like fables or tales based on imagination rather than hard scenarios based on analysis and reason — somewhere between sci-fi and foresight.

Architects have long developed master plans for cities and regions but can designers contribute to these future propositions? Is it possible to talk about big ideas through small things?  Would the viewer imagine the bigger world the designs belong to and move from the specific to the general?

This was our aim. To “tell worlds rather than stories,” as Bruce Sterling aptly puts it.

Proposals are closer to literature than social science, emphasizing imagination over practicality, they ask questions rather than provide answers. To be effective, they need to contain contradictions and cognitive glitches. Rather than offering an easy way forward, they highlight dilemmas and trade-offs between imperfect alternatives. Not a solution, not a “better” way, just another way.

If our belief systems and ideas don’t change, then reality won’t change either.


“The Aesthetics of Unreality” – Friday November 15, 2013. 2:00 – 4:00pm
Located at the Hexagram Resource Centre, EV Building 11.705, Concordia University, 1515 Saint Catherine St. W. Montreal QC.

How do you design for unreality, and what should it look like? How should the unreal, parallel, impossible, unknown, and yet-to-exist be represented? And how, in a design, can you simultaneously capture the real and not-real? This is where the aesthetic challenge for speculative design lies, in successfully straddling both. Fall on either side and the frisson, the tension is lost.

Projects from the Design Interactions program will be used to focus a discussion.


Fiona Raby is a partner in the design partnership Dunne & Raby, established in 1994.

She is professor of Industrial Design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and a Reader in Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art in London. Dunne & Raby use design as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate amongst designers, industry and the public about the social, cultural and ethical implications of existing and emerging technologies.

Their work has been exhibited at MOMA, the Pompidou Centre, and the Science Museum in London and is in the permanent collections of MOMA, V&A, FRAC and FNAC. They have published two books: Design Noir: The Secret Life of Electronic Objects (Princeton Architectural Press) and Hertzian Tales (MIT Press). A new book Speculative Everything; design, fiction and social dreaming, will be published by MIT Press November 2013.

Both events will be in english.
Everyone welcome, no rsvp required.”

To view the event poster…

To visit the Dunne & Raby website…

For more information on the Concordia University Department of Design and Computation Arts lecture series

(Source: Carmela Cucuzzella, PhD, Assistant Professor, Design and Computation Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University, EV- Engineering, Computer Science – Visual Arts Integrated Complex)

(Image: Dune & Raby. Transport: Communo-nuclearists (Carriage 52). The United Micro Kingdoms. 2012.)