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Design Fiction 2017


Earlier this month, the Communication and New Media (CNM) students from the NM4225 module ("Design Fiction") hosted a public exhibition at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, showcasing an array of projects that explored the "Frontiers of Ecological Interaction". The exhibition deals with one pertinent question: What will the world look like decades from now, vis-a-vis the inevitable impact of climate change on "how we live, where we live, and most importantly, what we are going to live for"?


Under the tutelage of Professor Andrew Quitmeyer, the students designed interactive objects that followed a distinctly contemporary, if not simply futuristic, theme, the purpose and significance of each object set against the backdrop of a possible future, as conceptualized by group in question.


Public taking a look at the different projects on display

One of the design projects that caught our eye was "Bobby in the Sea", which critiques a future that paints a very pertinent problem with futuristic undertones, presenting the consequences of this problem through fiction.

NM4225 students Raphael Angelo Rios, Hafidzhin Bin Sadali and Phan Qiao-Wen envision a future in which Synthcorp, a leading corporation dabbling in bio-mechanical body parts, disposes large amounts of waste (an amalgamation of human bodies with which they have failed to fuse synthetic arms) into the oceans to avoid being fined. The accumulation of such synthetic waste has since led to the growth of Bobby, an aggressive killer jellyfish whose body has fused, in particular, with the discarded synthetic arms.


Raphael explaining how Bobby works

The subsequent havoc that this (thankfully) fictitious Bobby wrecks thus serves as an emblem of the problems that illegal dumping in the oceans cause in today's world (i.e. hurting marine life, ruining shorelines). There were also simple colouring activities for young children visiting the booth, to teach them about the importance of preventing illegal dumping.


Good job, guys!

Another project that captured our attention was Averlynn Lim and Roe Curie's Superflower. Their project had a much lighter overtone (aka not as dark as murderous bionic jellyfishes on a terrifying rampage...)--and quite literally too! ;) Here's a snippet of their prototype:


Pretty neat eh!

The duo had created this in view of energy shortage vis-a-vis global warming. The Superflowers combat this problem by restoring balance to the atmosphere, effectively reversing the effects of global warming and allowing flora and fauna to flourish once more. They have even created a website to better explain the rationale behind their project here.


Averlynn and Roe posing for the camera

But perhaps the most unforgettable project is Angel Wong and Terence Lim's Waste To Food (WTF) Machines, in which mealworms convert waste into edible substances for human consumption. The Machines are completely automated--one simply dumps his or her waste into the top layer and leaves the rest of the work to the worms.

The best part about their prototype? They used real mealworms!


The mealworms earned the duo a mixture of fascination and horror

from the public (and us!)

Of course, these aren't the only projects that made us gasp in excitement--there were a bunch of other designs that intrigued us well! The students were definitely successful in sending important messages to the public through their design(ed) fiction.

Good job everyone! We had fun, and can't wait to check out the next Design Fiction exhibition. For readers who are interested in such creative hands-on designing, perhaps this is the module for you ;)

#CNM #NUSCNM #NUS #designfiction #ecology #nature

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