On the 26 June 2018, MAGMD course leader Paul Bailey and colleagues, Eva Verhoeven (LCC, UK), John Fass (LCC, UK), Marta Camps Banque (BAU, Spain) and Jaron Rowan (BAU,…
On the 26 June 2018, MAGMD course leader Paul Bailey and colleagues, Eva Verhoeven (LCC, UK), John Fass (LCC, UK), Marta Camps Banque (BAU, Spain) and Jaron Rowan (BAU, Spain) convened and hosted two conversations on design research as part of the Design Research Society International Conference in Limerick, Ireland.
The aim of the conversations was to explore alternative and experimental ways of engaging in debates and discussions on topics relevant to design research. In this case we discussed the importance of embodiment and the space and limits for developing a radical imaginary in design research. Two simultaneous conversations were carried out in two different pub snugs in which a very limited amount of people, due to special reasons, could attend. The conversations were streamed through a micro-site designed for the event, that allowed users to tune into either conversation live. The conversations accessed via the microsite may be ‘assembled’ or listened to separately. The site, also functions as an archive of the conversation, allowing people to come back, listen to parts of it or mixing it as the please.
Access The Radical Imaginary here
The conversation on the radical imaginary started with a provocation, suggesting the need for a more energetic and imaginative vigour in design research. Can the radical imaginary open new spaces for struggle, contestation and creation of different politics? To do so design must avoid the pitfalls and morality that define thinking about the possible, the probable and the preferable and explore radical ways of thinking and doing in common. We fear that imagination has become an individual escapist / utopian project, still, we consider that design can be an interesting space where to ground imagination in real and possible practices. That is why we discussed the need to explore strategies to commonize imagination, to think of it as a collective tool to build better presents.
The second conversation, on embodiment, placed human and non-human bodies at the centre of the conversation and suggested that design research should make room for more performative and symbiotic relationships between subjects and objects. We discussed about what kind of bodies are privileged by design research and what embodied experiences are we currently excluding. What are the cultural myths and metaphors that construct our lived and embodied experiences and how is that story perpetuated in design research? Opening up this debate involves going beyond dualities such as brain/body, thought/action, inside/outside of the body, identifying interfaces between bodies, systems, networks and corporeal processes, full hearted participation.
The conversations were carried out in two local pub snugs: The Tom Collins Bar on Cecil Street and the Jerry Flannery’s on Catherine Street. Debating in such specific enclaves, had a dramatic influence on how the conversations were developed. The first pub could almost fit 8 people (some sitting on the floor), the second about 13. It was hot, we were cramped, the air became stuffy, we faced constant interruptions and noise pollution. We also invited local storyteller and myth keeper Eddie Lenihan to contribute and disrupt the conversation on embodiment.
The format defined the time of the conversation, as after an hour it was too uncomfortable to continue, but also obliged attendants to be listen closely as they were physically very engaged in what was being said. We were literally too close to avoid interacting with the rest of people in the room. The format also allowed attendants to explore spaces alien to the main congress, interacting with the city and learning about the function of pub snugs, a new type of spaces for international researchers.
We are currently working on the recordings of the session, now on the microsite, to signal items and themes discussed, introducing references and links to specific projects and allowing listeners to interact visually with the conversation. In this sense the site will be transformed into an interactive and visual archive of the conversation.
Photography: John Fass