You have two options for your final project. Both require roughly 5 to 7 pages of writing (1,500 - 2,000 words), as well as research using secondary sources. One good starting point for either project would be to draw on the work of your colleagues for inspiration in our “real-world novums” posts throughout the semester.
Option 1: Re-Design
Your first option is to construct a speculative “re-design” of an existing technology, infrastructure, political form, or social norm. These interventions can range from micro-level (e.g. proposing a particular tweak to the infrastructure of the Internet and tracing its consequences) to whole-cloth (e.g. envisioning an alternate form of family kinship). You will situate this re-design amongst our science fiction readings throughout the semester, using those storytelling techniques to help imagine the implications of your re-design.
The final form of this assignment should be a paper of 5 to 7 pages, properly referenced, and with additional media as necessary or desired. Virtually any medium could work: paper prototypes, clay, painting, video, etc.
Option 2: Short Story
The second option is to write your own short work of science fiction between 1,500 and 2,000 words. In writing this story, I encourage you to draw on the subject expertise of your major (engineering, psychology, etc.), and join that knowledge with the various forms of speculative storytelling you’ve learned about in our course (parable, extrapolation, historical novel, etc).
Part of this assignment involves annotating your stories with explanations of the artistic decisions you make throughout the text, as well as citations of research in science and the humanities that have inspired your ideas.
For inspiration on both of these options, see:
- Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013).
- “Forecasts” published by The Long + Short magazine
- “Slow Catastrophes, Uncertain Revivals” at the Arizona State Center for Science and the Imagination