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Climactic Workshop: Telling Lies with Design Fictions

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Carnegie Mellon University

Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall

Room 107

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213

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Workshop Conductor: Ahmed Ansari

"What distinguishes beneficent fiction from such malignant cousins as racism is that the first never forgets it is a fiction and the other never knows that it is.”

- Chinua Achebe

The philosopher Vilem Flusser in his famous essay "About the Word 'Design'", traces a geneology of the word and connects it to the latin 'ars' or 'artifex', both of which have connotations of cunning and deception - and in a key sentence of the essay, points out that the design disciplines were to make possible a culture that was "aware of the fact that it was deceptive". Telling Lies with Design Fictions takes this literally as the starting point for our workshop, where we attempt to uncover the logics of lying at the heart of design imaginaries about the present. We will do this through questioning the logics at the heart of current beliefs about the present and future in American culture today and designing new fictions for others we will probably never encounter in life.

This workshop is a part of Climactic: Post Normal Design, an exhibition and symposium being hosted by the CMU School of Design from November 4th to December 9th, 2016. The event focuses on design and political activism surrounding issues of coloniality, crises of culture and race, and climate change in both the Global South and North. As part of the ongoing event, the school will be hosting design workshops tackling issues like community building, postcolonial futures, design fictions, and sustainable transitions.

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Carnegie Mellon University

Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall

Room 107

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213

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