James Langdon: A School for Design Fiction

James Langdon developed and implemented the project School for Design Fiction with the Award for Conceptual Design 2012.

The School for Design Fiction offers a short course in reading objects, environments and messages. Stimulated by the curious genre of design fiction, the programme asserts storytelling as the primary function of design.

A design fiction (to be read in the same register as science fiction) represents a designed object that—materially, functionally, or conceptually—cannot presently be realised. More speculative than a prototype, a design fiction does not necessarily require the potential ever to exist. It is a suggestive form that prompts us to reconsider our assumptions about—or operates as a critique of—existing objects. It may do this by projecting into the future, or into a parallel reality.

Lectures at the school will be centred around a collection of such narrative objects, each a newly commissioned artwork realised by a member of the faculty. These objects will be employed performatively, to visualise subjects including the discovery of the human brain’s innate mechanism for narrating experience; the legibility of the built environment; and strategies for continuing unfinished stories.

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