Addicted products: The story of Brad the Toaster

Well, we’ve all bought products only to underuse and eventually forget about them. Like the proverbial gym membership which starts off as a life-changing adventure and ends up leaving us with a general sense of guilt and waste, only to be washed away by the next investment.

This Addicted Product, by Simone Rebaudengo and Haque Design, is a toaster which needs to be kept busy and useful or it may move on to a more deserving person.

This project looks at a future where individuals need to earn and appreciate their products and to be open to time-sharing technology. A real and speculative piece which uses the Internet of Things and Twitter to give personality and communication to our devices and raise issues of sustainability and waste.

The Golden Institute: Sascha Pohflepp

golden_instituteThe 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,, is an imaginary design agency in an alternate reality which also embraces ubiquitous technology, but with a more critical and human centred outlook.

Paper: What is “Critical” About Critical Design?

Critical DesignHere’s a link to an interesting paper which is taking a good hard look at Dunne & Raby’s interpretation of Critical Design.

The authors, Jeffrey Bardzell and Shaowen Bardzell, see these methods as being important to contemporary HCI research and are striving to define its qualities and apply them to recent designs. While most of the paper is devoted to specifying and reformulating Critical Design, not so much effort is put into applying this to practise, with only two short examples.

On the other hand, they make excellent points about the differences between art and design, especially in a critical and activist sense, and also show how design may infiltrate more reliably.

Nevertheless, it does explore and create some interesting tools and perspectives to help me in my current mission/obsession in reevaluating every design I see…

Frankfurt School


Utopian Thinking: Art Shostak



Uses of a Whirlwind: Movement, Movements, and Contemporary Radical Currents in the United States

whirlwinds_cover_front_webJust diving into this set of essays to complement my other reads relating to Adversarial Design. Hoping to get more grounded perspectives of agonism and revealing hegemony.

Reviews to follow…