Speaker: Daisy Ginsberg # Royal College of Art
5th Jun 2017
15:30 - 17:00
1.06 Old Surgeons' Hall
Unfortunately Daisy Ginsberg has had to postpone her planned seminar on Monday 5th of June until later in the year. Apologies for any inconvenience.
Designers often advocate that design makes things better. In promising a better future, they are not alone: engineers, marketers, politicians and scientists also invoke the imaginary of better, creating dreams that have very material effects. In some of these visions, “better” will be delivered by science and technology; in others, the consumption of designed things will better us or the world. “Better” itself has become a sociotechnical imaginary; progress, without the philosophical baggage. But better is not a universal good or a verified measure: better is imbued with politics and values. And better will not be delivered equally, if at all. “What is better?” and “Who gets to decide?” are questions with great implications for the way we live and hope to live. This seminar explores how critical design can be used to address these questions, while considering critical design’s complicated relationship to bettering, as a critical yet optimistic practice. Drawing on my experiences working amongst the architects of synthetic biology’s powerful dreams of better, I consider how critical design can question better, opening up the possibility of alternative dreams.
Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is a designer, artist and writer, developing experimental approaches to design. Through objects, workshops, writing and curating, Daisy investigates design’s aesthetic and ethical futures with collaborators around the world including scientists, engineers, artists, designers, social scientists, galleries and industry. She curated Synthetic Aesthetics (2010–13), an international research project between synthetic biology, art, design and social science, and is lead author of Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature (2014). She led the curatorial team for Grow Your Own … Life After Nature, a flagship Wellcome-funded exhibition about synthetic biology at Science Gallery, Dublin (2013–14). Daisy studied Architecture at the University of Cambridge, design at Harvard University and Design Interactions MA at the Royal College of Art, where she is working on her PhD, which uses critical design to explore the imaginary of 'better'. (daisyginsberg.com)