DDW Report

Dutch Design Week happened virtually last week. Through the website, I was able to “attend” six different events.

  1. What’s in store for the future
  2. The Future Is Private
  3. Agora – Mental Wellness For Cancer
  4. Prosthetic X
  5. The Future Protein Plan
  6. Design Academy Eindhoven Graduation Show – Communication

What’s in store for the future

This project is presented in the form of an online gift store that offers 5 products based on the themes of sex, death, life, religion, and pleasure. For my thesis, I am creating a series of workshops introducing new designers to speculative design. This project gave me the idea to organize prompts based on themes that participants could explore. I appreciated that each product had a thought-provoking question. Speculative design should encourage critical thinking and dialog, so the questions are a direct way to ask viewers to consider a future in which these products exist. The fact that the store seems to actually function like an online retailer was really interesting and a fun way to experience the project.

The Future Is Private

This project explores the “right to move anonymously.” I enjoy thinking and learning about privacy, but I hadn’t heard it framed this way specifically. It made me think: how are we generally rethinking what human rights are as technology evolves? This project was not very thoroughly explained, so I suspect that it would have been more impactful if experienced in-person.

It did lead me to explore the “Privacy in the Age of the New Intimacy” virtual tour. The project that stood out to me most on that tour was “Privacy Label”. They created a rating system to evaluate products and services based on how they collect and use personal data. I think we need a system like this in place, and I suspect (or hope) that privacy-friendliness will eventually become an important consideration for consumers.

Agora – Mental Wellness For Cancer

This project is an app that allows cancer patients to track their health issues so that they can be prescribed care techniques that benefit their mental and physical wellness. I really appreciated the holistic approach to medical care. Truthfully, I was attracted to this event because I wanted to see how they presented a UX-driven project. I have a couple projects that I need to add to my portfolio. I like the structure of outlining their research insights and the features of the digital project. The video included was very simply executed, but it clearly presented their concept.

Prosthetic X

This project presented 9 concepts for prostheses that could be worn by the elderly to track health and well-being. This was a very interesting look at how health tracking devices could evolve in the future. At first, I was skeptical about the piece that is worn on the head. When they explained the connection between loneliness and health for the aging, it made more sense how this could be useful.

The Future Protein Plan

This project shows a digital platform where people could design and order their own protein source. It reminded me of a project we did in our Studio II class in which Ellen Lupton asked us to create a unique imaginary restaurant concept. One of my peers created an app that allowed people to design their own meal-replacement pills to pick up at an ATM. I feel like food is an especially interesting lens to view the future because it is universally such an important part of daily lives.

Graduation Show – Communication

This show included work from graduating students in the Design Academy Eindhoven’s BA Communications program. I appreciated the breadth of topics that were covered.

Experiencing Dutch Design Week gave me lots of inspiration to pull into the workshops that I am developing. It gave me news ways to think about creating future-oriented work and examples I can showcase during the workshops.

DDW in combination with our Unravel experiences has also pushed me to potentially expand my thesis work. While I am enjoying creating my workshops and helping others create their visions of the future, I have a particular speculative project that I would also like to explore. During the early stages of the pandemic, I started thinking about what a virtual campus could look like. I considered how the architecture of rooms and hallways and other communal spaces could exist digitally. During our weeklong workshop, we discussed the shortcomings of Zoom and ended up creating a project that was related to my idea for the virtual campus. Even the challenges I faced trying to navigate the Dutch Design Week website are related to this idea. In our reflection call, Alan mentioned that he was used to experiencing DDW “spatially.” I think this is another example of how some sort of geographic or “physical” structure can help ground virtual experiences so that they are more intuitive and engaging. Truthfully, I am not sure how to fit this in with the other work I need to complete for my thesis concept as it currently exists, but I have a feeling this project idea is an itch that needs to be scratched.

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