Love and Death in the Anthropocene: Sci-Fi for Speculative Design
Shared Futures and The Dreaming Collective—A Futures Research
Composition Course

Link To Student Work

Link to Syllabus

Course Description:
In this art research course we will draw inspiration from films, stories and
current events to design fictional projects that will re-imagine the future of
self, place and the dreaming collective.

We will search for hope and possibility in the Anthropocene, the period
during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate
and the environment. We will draw from sci-fi to prototype speculative
design projects that think critically about the future and simultaneously
shape our world to come. The future is now!

Drawing from the world of start-ups, incubators and think tanks we will
begin a quarter long experiment in design thinking that will combine the
disciplines of science, engineering, art, design and technology in order to
focus on UCSD’s grand research theme: Understanding and Protecting the
Planet. We will use Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute of Oceanography
as a research partner and resource.

We will build worlds and generate possible shared near future scenarios,
systems, experiences, provocations and extrapolations. We will use
techniques of defamiliarization, uncertainty scenarios, ethnography,
psychogeography and humor to stimulate conversations around both
seductive and repulsive futures-and all that in between. You will be
introduced to the composition languages of design fiction, prototyping, and
video-making as a way of writing and putting forth research questions. You
will participate in the creative process of visual composition through
creating speculative design projects, videos, and sketches that will form the
basis for your own research questions and writing. Play is an important
component in this course as is the flexibility and willingness to try out new
platforms and to work inter-disciplinarily in-between science, art and design
where creativity and collaborative innovation will be our driving force.

Student Work Sample:
Chroma: A Story of Algae is a narrative, that illustrates the humanistic future of technology driven by algae. Fossil fuels are damaging the ecosystem, therefore, algae is an alternative that promotes both a more eco-friendly environment and convenience for humankind. El Chroma is a pod that will replace diesel fuels in the anthropocene, creating a society in which people are more conscious about their carbon footprint.
Chroma: A Story of Algae from Daniel Ochoa on Vimeo.