by A Parede

Despite its name, speculative and critical design has, for a long time already, greatly disregarded, ignored, or otherwise glossed over issues of race, class and gender privilege. This is a serious problem in a discipline that calls itself critical, and that allegedly strives to incite discussion on how issues that emerge in the present might unravel in a near future. In the past few years these issues have been identified, dissected, and thoroughly analysed to both support and antagonism within the design community. While some claim that these criticisms greatly exaggerate the extent and relevance of the issue, other groups in the design community have shown great interest in fostering productive conversations about strategies for changing this stance within the discipline.

All in all, we believe there is quite a big elephant in the room: these are, clearly, issues that still need to be acknowledged and dealt with as serious concerns. Furthermore, the real challenge when discussing how design (and art, for that matter) chooses to represent the future lies well beyond “representation” or the danger of tropes and tokenism. It is not enough to merely acknowledge the existence of non-Eurocentric, non-Western realities: it is important to question the very power structures (to which design contributes) that maintain certain ways of knowing, certain ways of living at the centre, while pushing others towards the periphery.