Teaching Monika Seyfried

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Presented courses are based on deep research and design work in the fields of futurescaping, ethics and climate, together with techniques of prototyping, data visualisation, storytelling, and exhibition design.

21st Century Clean

In recent human history, some cultural definitions of clean have shifted rapidly, for example in Europe the shift from a spiritual clean to a cosmetic and commercial clean occurred over just 3 centuries. In the 21st century as society shifts towards the digital realm, what will cleanliness mean with regard to digital selves and data infrastructure?

While the digital sphere is perceived as immaterial, through the use of contradictory metaphors such as the cloud, or clean through the prevalence of high tech visions of futures filled with pristine glass devices, the digital realm brings about immense waste and with it immense humanistic, environmental, political, and ethical repercussions. In this workshop we start by examining notions of how clean have progressed in human society, starting with the body

We use this workshop as a moment to create strategies to envision how these notions will be extended in the future, towards the idea of an embodied digital clean.

Main Topics:
Critical Heritages
Nature Ethics
Tacit Knowledge
Futurescaping, speculative design

Designing Across Biological Scales

At the point in our global ecological crisis, the survival of humanity will require a fundamental shift in our attitude toward nature: from finding out how we can dominate and manipulate nature to how we can learn from it. This course concentrates on finding  reconnection with Nature of which we are part. Participants get to explore design as a scientific discipline, a creative method, a strategy for our survival and a movement with a distinctive character of sustainability. It captures imagination in a pragmatic and culturally transforming way. Together we search for sustainable and practical and experimental solutions to problems of daily life by emulating the countless recipes and strategies that nature has developed (bacteria, crustaceans, birds, plants, forests, etc.) in 3.8 billion years of evolution. This course involves an active search, a conscious foresight; it does not simply extract from nature, it implies learning from it.  We as human beings learn how to not be simply observers of nature, as if we were looking at it from a bubble. We learn the basics - that we are 100% nature. The course is inspired by  multispecies approach where the human is removed from being in the anthropocentric role. It looks for more practical applications and answers based on the sustainable, effective and even aesthetically attractive solutions that nature developed a long time ago. Together we learn and create systems, products and thought provoking projects highly inspired by the principles of nature. We look into ideas that spark a discussion on how to cultivate energy efficiency, production of limiting resources and sustainability in general. Ethics and future thinking is a strong core of that course.

Main Topics:
Nature Ethics
Genetic Modification
Life Sciences
System Thinking

Designing Ethical Futures

Ethics comes up when things go down. During the Designing Ethical Futures course we explore ethical theories to reflect upon what we design and why. We engage with the methods of speculative design to envision the unexpected consequences of new technology and learn how to create experiences that bring to life ethical theories.
As more and more products become connected – to each other, to us, to their environments – more and more data are being shared, stored and processed algorithmically. In this workshop, we use three core elements: ethics, futurescaping and new technology to spark our inspiration and ground our creative prototyping. Participants create experiences that immerse people into possible futures, using ethical theories to question those futures and speculative design to rethink how we may live with new technology.
This workshop has an experimental approach. We focus on building thought-provoking projects that explore the role of ethics in the creation process. The class welcomes all participants, regardless of age or educational background.

Main Topics:
The future of memory
Cultural and technological forms of memory
Ethical theories, applied ethics
Surveillance economy
Bias, machine learning
Data flows, system mapping
Futurescaping, speculative design

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