Note — Dec 20, 2020

What’s Breakfast Cereal Got To Do With The Future?

Seen in → No.155

Source →

Julian Bleecker launched a newsletter around the main theme of design fiction, this is the second issue where he starts from a simple box of cereal way back in 2002’s Minority Report and gives one of the clearer explanations I’ve seen for the practice of design fiction. Bleecker explains how it’s different from predictions, how its primary use is to start a conversation, and gives some clear one paragraph examples of diegetic prototypes and the types of questions they might raise.

It is a way of implying characteristics about a world without having to build the entire world. It suggests rather than predicts. It allows us to witness the future in a modest way, on the ground, from the perspective of normal, ordinary, everyday experience rather than assuming we can see and know everything, which is what predictions about the future attempt to do. […]

But, I have to emphasize - these are not predictions. Really they’re meant to be conversation starters. They can be discussed and debated but to deny them as wrong, or accept them as inevitable and definite is to miss the point of Design Fiction entirely. […]

Simply stated, the objects of Design Fiction is to discover relevant futures rather than make big predictions. Design Fiction allows you to be a modest witness to a possible future and interpret the multiple simultaneous possibilities, their consequences, and the kinds of events that might lead to these futures. […]

Second is the conversations that fill the world out - the mythopoesis. This is really key. Engaging all relevant stakeholders and other interested parties to discuss, describe and explain what the archetype seems to be ‘saying’. The mythopoesis isn’t a conclusion, it’s an act or a process.