D – Describe objecyively what happened

The brief Smart Cities is an introuction to the field of speculative design. In the brief, we were asked to use speculative critical design to envision the near future of smart city technologies and potential problem. Speculative design is to create scenrio and fabricate an experience of the possible near future (Kolehmainen, 2016). In my own understanding, speculative design is different from what we learnt from design 1, we were asked to suggest problems rather than providing a solution.

The brief divied into 2 parts, creating a  data wall, zine, storyboard and design fiction for given technologies. 5C model was applied as the framework of design process in this project.

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5C model
Each groups were given with a smart city technologies, including Smart home device, Context aware technologies, billboards, Facial recognition systems, Beacons and Self-tracking technology.

My group was given the smart city technology, Beacon as topic. Beacon is a small wireless device transmitting a continuous radio signal, deliver hyper-contextural content to users based on location by BLE.

We are asked to collect information about Beacon by desk research and placed them on a data wall, then comprehend the content and design a zine for Beacon individually.

Then we moved to the next brief, design fiction. Design fiction is a form and way designers use to inspire and image the furure, it is a story, imagination and provocation of how life is lived, how technology is used or might be used in the future (Jill Nussbaum, 2014).

We had some workshop with Kin design, they taught us how to ideation by making a Collage and doing visual experience as a group. Then we were asked to create some possible narrative by drawing storyboard individually, and decided one to be produced into a design fiction in group.

I – Interpret the event

The the first part of the brief, we were asked to research for Beacon and put the information we found on Data Wall like a mapping. Each of us were responsible on researching an area of information about Beacon, including Background, history, stakeholders, facts, product features, relevants news, problems and benefits. Then we organizated the clipping we printed to the wall systematically. I found data wall a useful secondary research method as a starting point, providing us general idea and information of an unfamiliar technology.


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Data Wall

Then, we started to design a Zine individually. A zine is a small circulation self-publised work used to visualise and communicate our thinking and research and clarifying our thoughts. I drew the layout of the zine in my sketchbook then started to make a rough and quick design of Zine by cutting and pasting photocopier together. In order to make the Zine more exciting and appealing, I added some tricky layouts such as waterfall effect to engage readers.

After making the first draft, I tried to re-organize the content and design the layout by computer, makding the Zine looks more professional and complete. Finally, I developed a 14 pages Zine on the topic Beacons, included a definition, how it works, 6 facts of Beacons, Stakeholders, Statistic, News, Example of use, Pros and Cons and its future development. By developing a zine, it helped me to comprehend the information we collected in data wall and brought me closer to the understanding of Beacons.

We later have some workshop with Kin design, which helped us to develop ideas for the second part of the breif. We were given some magazines an asked to cut and re-place the source together on a board, playing with text and image relationships.

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In my collage, I tried to visualize future museum implicateed with beaco technology. Physical exhibits will no longer exist, as we can see everything on screen, challenging if this is the life we want.

Then we did a visual experience as a group, we depicted potential problems Beacons might have visually to, we passed the paper around and tried to create a solution to the problem others have drawn. Visual experience allowed us to communicate better as a team and collaborating. We were asked to create an prototype, our group created an “Anti-Message halmet”, as Beacons send notification to our mobile automicatically, which means sometimes we would be forced to receive unwanted information. By wearing this halmet, we can detele the memory of the message just by clicking a button. This product aimed to satirize a life full of commerical message and enforcement of receiving unwanted information, the principle is similar with deleting spam mail. This is a good practice to develope a deeper understanding on speculative design.

After that, we were asked to develop 7 potential A3 film storyboard for discussion. My idea is to provide an experimental environment that parent can monitor and look after their kids by tracking their position at home with beacon technology and raising the question, is this the life you and your kids want? However, after the discussion in tutorial, we all agreed to use a more simple and bold idea for the design fiction.

“Unexpected services” is a story created by Yi Sha, which is simple, bold and irony, providing an experiemental environment that we can use beacon as key card in the future.

In order to produce a design fiction, we had a clear work division.

Scriptwriter – Yi Sha
Director – Yammy
Actor – Xiao
Props – Iku
Editor – Doris
Sound effects – Lucia
Program assistant – Caroline

I am experienced in taking control of camera, as my major in my bachelor studies was Journalism and Communication, I have a variety of experiences on producing a mirco-film. Before the day we did the shooting, we decided where to film, who will be the actors, what props we need to prepare. As a director of the film, I tried to think about the camera movement and the framing of each shot.

On the day we filmed for design fiction, I had to give direction for the movement and facial expression to our actor, Xiao. Also, I filmed variety of frame for same scenes, providing our editor, Doris more choices to choose for editing, also, ensuring our idea can be presented clearly.

E – Evulate what you learned

In this project, I found visual experience is a good tool to be used in group project to brainstorm and share ideas around. I am happy to work with the team and we ended up produced the best film among the class. The whole filming process went smoothly, however, I think 7 peoples are a large group, this work can actually be finished in groups of 4. However, it provided me a good experience to work along with a large group of peoples.

The whole project happened in 3 weeks which was extaordinary challenging. The schedule was so tight that we have to learn about speculative design and an entirely new technology, then create idea, design and create the outcome in short period of time. This task stimulated our ability to think fast, work fast.

Therefore, I am satisied that our group have produced a well-filmed and edited design fiction.

P – Plan how this learning will be applied

In relation to the course, visual experience is useful for collabration thinking as a group to share ideas around while collage helps us to ideation in an interesting way, both of these methods will be used to develop my final major project.

Speaking of future profession, though speculative design is more challenging and interesting than affirmative design, I think I perform better on providing a solution than suggesting problem. However, the skill I learnt from the practice, including filming and making zine will be applied to use in my future profession.