The United Micro Kingdoms, A Traveller's Tale
Additional seminar materials may be found here:
Digicars (2 min.)
Meinong's Taxonomy of Objects (9 min.)
Not Here, Not Now (2 min.)
When we leave the "here and now" and design for the "not here, not now," where exactly are we relocating to? Dunne & Raby's GIDEST seminar presents a fictional draft report that summarizes observations and thoughts from a month spent traveling in the United Micro Kingdoms (UmK). The report focuses on what is unique and special to each micro kingdom rather than covering standard areas across all four. During the period of their travels, Dunne & Raby observed the culture, nature, language, mythologies and philosophy of the UmK. Their report is not in any way scientific or objective and entirely reflects the authors' own interests as designers in material culture for the purposes of research and their own work. They would like to thank the European Institute for Experimental Nation Building (EIfENB)* who generously supported this research, the School of Constructed Realities for granting them a sabbatical and of course all the individuals and groups who kindly hosted them and opened their kingdoms to them during their travels.
Although now regarded as a bold and visionary experiment well on its way to yielding a positive way forward, one cannot underestimate the desperation that led to the formation of the United Micro Kingdoms. There was a time when the UK seemed on the verge of a complete social and economic collapse and rather than waiting for the inevitable, the country decided to force a crisis later termed the Pre-apocalyptic Option. A group was formed to develop four prototype states to discover which, if any, might provide insights for a new country/nation model able to function and thrive within the new world order. The UmK was divided into four zones, each driven by a group promoting specific technological and political agendas.
Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby are professors of Design and Emerging Technology at The New School in New York and partners in the design studio Dunne & Raby. They use design as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate amongst designers, industry and the public about the social, cultural and ethical implications of existing and emerging technologies. Their work has been exhibited at MoMA in New York, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and the Design Museum in London, and is in several permanent collections including MoMA, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts. Their co-authored books include Design Noir (2001) and Speculative Everything (2013). Projects include Technological Dream Series, No 1: Robots (2007),Designs For An Over Populated Planet: Foragers (2010), The United Micro Kingdoms (2013), and The School of Constructed Realities (2015).
* The European Institute for Experimental Nation Building (EIfENB) came about in response to a series of crises during the early part of the 21st century that saw the dissolution of globalization and the turning inwards of countries and nations in the Western world. It builds on a long history of nation building gained over centuries of colonization and the many hard lessons learned from failed attempts at empire building. Today it is a think tank dedicated to inventing, developing and experimenting with new techniques for designing countries and national identity in relation to a global whole.