Design Museum presents United Micro Kingdoms (UmK): A Design Fiction

. May 27, 2013

The Design Museum presentsUnited Micro Kingdoms (UmK): A Design Fiction, presenting multiple perspectives on a fictional United Kingdom, as imagined by designers and educators Dunne and Raby. The exhibition sees England devolved into four self- contained counties or micro kingdoms, each free to experiment with governance, economy and lifestyle. On view through 26 AUGUST.

Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby use elements of industrial design, architecture, politics, science and sociology to provoke debate around the power and potential of design. The exhibition challenges assumptions about how products and services are made and used, through reinterpretations of the car and other transport systems.

Dunne & Raby interrogate the potential for design borrowing methods from literature and art and apply them to the real world as thought experiments. Their design practice uses design to explore the social, cultural and ethical implications of emerging technologies.

The four micro kingdoms explored in the exhibition are:

1. Digitarians
Digitarians depend on digital technology and all its implicit totalitarianism: tagging, metrics, total surveillance, tracking, data logging and 100% transparency. Their society is organised entirely by market forces; citizen and consumer are the same.

2. Communo-Nuclearists
The Communo-nuclearist society is a no-growth, limited population experiment. Using nuclear power to deliver near limitless energy, the state provides everything needed for their continued survival. Although they are energy rich it comes at a price — no one wants to live near them. Under constant threat of attack or accident, they live on a continually moving, 3 kilometre, nuclear-powered mobile landscape.

3. Anarcho-Evolutionists
The Anarcho-evolutionists abandon most technologies, or at least stop developing them, and concentrate on using science to maximise their own physical capabilities through training, DIY biohacking and self- experimentation. They believe that humans should modify themselves to exist within the limits of the planet rather than modifying the planet to meet their ever growing needs.

4. Bioliberals
Bioliberals fully embrace biotechnology and the new values that this entails. Biology is at the centre of their world-view, leading to a radically different technological landscape to our own. Each person produces their own energy according to their needs. Bioliberals are essentially farmers, cooks and gardeners. Not just of plants and food, but of products too. Gardens, kitchens and farms replace factories and workshop.

Category: Design

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