Speculative Design and Architecture from a TY point of view

As a part of our week at the Science Gallery we explored the concept of speculative design and architecture. This was our first experience with speculative design and we didn’t know what to expect. Through different aspects of the INTIMACY exhibition we learned how speculative design raises awareness that science and art work hand-in-hand, creates conversation and explores infinite possibilities.

Anyone can do speculative design. It is accessible to anyone who has creative ideas and not necessarily just those who have a scientific background. It is the perfect example of science and art coming together in one place. The creativity of art is used to push the boundaries and extremes of science. This pushes the scientific community to keep learning, exploring, create and innovate. For example, something that surprised us that was speculative design, was Jurassic Park. In Jurassic Park, scientists use fossils to recreate dinosaurs. The film is an artistic piece and the possibility of recreating the science explored by the work has created a lot of scientific discussion. This use of art to explore scientific concepts led to scientists being inspired to create an animal using Mammoth DNA.

This might not have been possible without speculative design starting conversations about the science. Speculative design can spark discussion about awkward things people need to talk about, and gets people thinking about ethics. Another example of speculative design that we came across during our week in the Science Gallery was the piece 21 Grams. 21 Grams was an unorthodox memory box, to create a lasting experience with someone before you die. It was designed for widows to remember their deceased husband. In the box was a compartment for their phone to play music, a place for their husband’s cologne, somewhere to keep their husband’s ring, a vibrator that contained 21 Grams of his ashes and a cyanide cigarette so she could join him when he died. This made us feel uncomfortable, shocked and confused. We feel this brought up more questions than it answered. This made us talk about romanticising suicide, gender equality, sexual grief and Ireland’s conservative attitude towards sex. Speculative design gets people talking about social taboos and gets you to question things you’d never considered before or think about things differently.

From what we have learned, we’ve discovered that speculative design has infinite possibilities as long as there is a desire to create and push boundaries. This has shown us that there’s no limit to what we can do, and nothing holds us back other than ourselves. We have learned that you can be as creative as possible, and it has introduced us to a new way of thinking. This showed us that science isn’t just about definitions, or just what you’re taught at school, it’s also about creativity and imagination, and a willingness to learn. We really enjoyed learning about speculative design and architecture in the Science Gallery this week, and it has given a desire to pursue different perspectives.

Samantha, Sadie, Owen, Celine & Sinéad

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