The Golden Institute is an example of the kind of parallel reality design that I am currently exploring. It takes a point during the 1980 presidential election contest between Carter and Reagan and imagines an alternate future where the more ‘renewable energy’-friendly Carter triumphed.
This process really grabs my interest in that the designer can imagine another, better world and design for that reality. The designs may work in both our current and the alternate reality, but they just seem to function better in this other world. They are used more efficiently and more seriously. For me, this serves to more clearly illustrate better realities in the mind of the observer. Thus, he/she can make the leap to imagining a better world and of how to get there.
A facet of my own Masters project, www.radicaldesignresearch.com, is an imaginary design agency in an alternate reality which also embraces ubiquitous technology, but with a more critical and human centred outlook.