Doug Kennedy (He/ Him)
I try to position my work on the borders where different subjects, theories and practices intersect; where usable design meets political theory or science fiction for example, or where product design, graphic design and research methodologies intersect. For me, it is at these boundaries that the most crucial creative pursuits happen.
Future Experiences Part Two: Borders & Perspectives
Following the group work world building stage of the Future Experiences project, Part Two required me to work individually to explore a more specific subject. This work would continue to utilise speculative design techniques to develop the themes of regeneration and citizenship. As such, this project was very much rooted in the fictional future world that we designed in part one and would also speculate towards the year 2032.
The Borders and Perspectives project focusses on the subject of border abolition and what role design might have in that process. Given the ten-year time frame of the project the idea of a complete border abolition seemed unrealistic, as such the project explores how to design a system that is ultimately intended to be abolished. The core idea behind the framework system was that it is regenerative in a way that it works towards its own negation. With this in mind, the system was designed on foundational beliefs of inherent value of all people and the necessity for empathy.
These core philosophies are manifest in prototype touchpoints for a border scenario based in the future world from Part One of the project. These touchpoints are designed to subvert the visual semantics of borders as we know them and to encourage imagining of alternative futures. The intention of the artefacts is not to suggest a specific future vison, but as intriguing and imperfect examples of something otherwise. Reflection on these artefacts is intended to encourage the viewer to question why the borders and perspectives of our current world exist as they do and how we could work towards something better.
Self-Initiated Project: Design for Disobedience
My self-initiated final project developed the foundational research of my dissertation paper: Embracing Chaos and Designing Disobedience: Re-evaluating Design Pedagogies, Methodologies and Practices. By supplementing this desk research with primary ethnographic research, I created a brief that prompted me to explore ways to widen participation in acts of civil disobedience.
Following on from the research stage of the project I created a design specification and began prototyping, using myself as a proxy for ongoing development and research. The physical porotypes took the form of inflatable, wearable objects that were designed to mitigate some of the anxieties that may prevent certain people from participating in activist spaces or protest events. This was achieved by designing objects that would enlarge the user’s figure; providing a degree of anonymity and protection from police violence.
The final prototypes are accompanied by simple step-by-step instructions and an instructional for how to make the wearables. These aspects of the project are designed to demonstrate the ways in which an open-source design may be disseminated and lead to an organic movement of homemade inflatable interventions being worn at protests.
The main artefact is my own personalized version of the product as a high-fidelity prototype. This was created to demonstrate the scope of the project to change the visual semantics of what a protest intervention may look like. This prototype shows a more abstract form of personal creative expression that still meets the design specifications and usability requirements of the original brief.