There's one inevitable future for all that we often don't pay attention to - the end. Unlike the nerve-wrecking tone to the decline or collapse in Dator's Four Futures, we take the perspective of looking at how "the end" feeds back to the composition of new futures.
Have you ever thought of the websites and data that are no longer relevant to us? While we don't necessarily have to know what they are doing in the digital version of a junkyard, we clearly haven't designed endings for them. Unlike physical material like plastics, the digital seems far from being "material". The seemingly absent of materiality in the digital culture shaped us to be indifferent and insensitive to the lack of tools to interact with the "endings" of products and services when they are nolonger relevant. The conventional narrative of designing futures is often one that is of composing, and rarely about decomposing. We find ourselves embedded in a culture where "we create, we build" while being negligent about the one inevitable future for all. In this workshop, we will explore how we can come to terms with the inevitable future that all material, or "things" face - an end.
I will use a type of Chinese vernacular architecture, Tulou (literally translated to “a rammed-earth building") as an example, to dig deeper into an ancient building technique and the material, tools, and methods this technique embodies to shaped culture, aesthetics, and a circular relationship with nature. By looking at this piece of long-gone history, we will proceed to answer the following questions relevant to our present day conditions:
- Why should we bring the materiality back to our design processes?
- How will starting the design process from materiality change the way we understand the future?