CfP: Memory full? Reimagining the relations between design and history
The “memory full” warning sent by a device when its drive reaches maximum capacity is both an irritant and an incitement for creativity. Responses include upgrading storage, editing and deleting content, or constraining an otherwise unfettered desire to archive everything. Actions like these can be read as a metaphor for how histories of design are shaped. Against a background of multiple temporalities and ontologies for design, this conference sets out to explore the relationship between design and memory. It invites reflection on the entanglements embodied by design between futurity and amnesia, critical discussion on data cultures, and debate around emerging approaches to the designed environment, such as forensics.
How can the memory of design be interpreted, shared, mined, or performed? Stories of social change are recorded in artefacts buried under layers of water or soil, in the plot twists of old novels or vintage media. The legacy of human activity passes into the material culture of non-human species, or enters their very physiology. Practices involving design as means to construct, repair and speculate about the past are integral to processes of codifying both canonic and alternative histories. To what extent can history writing be compared to a design project? Assumptions and
bias are embedded in the ways facts are gathered and constructed as habitable stories. How long do these narrations remain functional before they need to be patched with new data? Are machines also learning bias when they are instructed to collect data and present it in meaningful forms?
The conference welcomes historic, contemporary and interdisciplinary approaches to the topic and invites contributions from design historians, and students and scholars in related fields; as well as writers, practitioners, educators, museum professionals, and activists who engage with design.
We welcome proposals for individual papers of 20 minutes, or proposals for thematically coherent panels of three papers. Panel proposals must include abstracts for all three papers in addition to a short description of the panel theme. We also encourage applications that propose alternative formats for research dissemination and collective knowledge production.
All submissions will be double blind peer-reviewed by the conference scientific committee.
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The confirmed keynote speakers of the 2020 DHS Annual Conference will be Alexandra Midal, Jussi Parikka and the The Polycardinal Design Lexikon collective project with a fourth keynote to be announced.
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