“I’ve seen the future and I’ve left it behind”
Supernaut, Black Sabbath
The world is accelerating, and we have a difficult time catching up. Current models and ways of thinking aren’t capable of explaining the changes that are taking place. Instead of taking refuge in proven concepts, we need to seek for new ideas and practices that are in tune with the chaos and acceleration of our time.
Intervention Design is a speculative design approach. Goal is to build a possible and preferable future world, invent for that and translate the inventions back to the now, making them interventions.
Most design theories, methods, and practices are based on the now or try to design for the future by established concepts. That doesn’t work. To design for the ‘real’ future, designers have to leave known territories and take steps into the unknown.
An artistic attitude is a necessity. Artists don’t take reality for granted and are capable of speculating about the future in new frames.
The problem with art thou is that it can easily be used as an instrument of comfort. The existence of an idealistic vision can be enough to deal with an unknown future. Most Speculative Design is based on this principle: by producing an artwork that opens up the discussion about a probable future, people are seduced to think about preferable futures.
That is a step forward, but it’s not enough. There is time for discussion, and there is time for action. Intervention Design is an approach that leads to the latter.
It does so by the introduction of the concept of fictional world building into the design process. Designers are challenged to design for a self-created future fictional world with an actual story, and persona (that may or may not be human). It’s like writing the screenplay for a positive episode of Black Mirror and designing for it.
The goal of intervention design is designing a new practice that is useful now, not in the future.