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  • 1.
    Helgason, Ingi
    et al.
    Edinburgh Napier University, Institute for Informatics & Digital Innovation.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Smyth, Michael
    Edinburgh Napier University, Institute for Informatics & Digital Innovation.
    Mitrović, Ivica
    University of Split, Arts Academy, department of Visual Communications Design.
    Discourse, Speculation and Disciplinarity: Designing Urban Futures2015In: Nordes 2015: Design Ecologies challenging anthropocentrism in the design of sustainable futures, Stockholm, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper presents a design case study of a summer school that brought together a multidisciplinary group of early-career professionals to explore ideas relating to new technologies in an urban context. The organisers of the summer school took an explicitly designinformed approach to the event, specifically a ‘critical design’ approach. The aspiration of the organisers was that the school activities would lead to the creation of an exhibition of artefacts and visual media expressing the ideas explored during the school. The expectation of generating exhibition quality outputs influenced the participants’ experience of the event, and this paper describes the process and reflects upon the success of this method. The authors address the question: in what way is it useful to adopt a critical design approach with a multidisciplinary group in a workshop or school setting? It is suggested that envisionment in the form of ‘design fictions’ is key to the success of this approach.

  • 2.
    Helgason, Ingi
    et al.
    Edinburgh Napier University, Centre for Interaction Design.
    Smyth, Michael
    Edinburgh Napier University, Centre for Interaction Design.
    Wouters, Niels
    University of Leuven, Department of Architecture, Research [x] Design.
    Surawska, Olga
    University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins.
    Skrinjar, Lea
    University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Technical Sciences.
    Jensen, Louise
    IT University of Copenhagen.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Streinzer, Andreas
    Vienna University, Department of Anthropology.
    From Urban Space to Future Place: The UrbanIxD Summer School 20132013Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    How the UrbanIxD summer school applied critical design & design fiction to future urban technologies. Produced in collaboration with the Book Sprints for ICT Research FP7 project.

  • 3.
    Lindh Karlsson, Monica
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Aditya, Pawar
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Shifting Perspectives of Aesthetics2018Report (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this Conversation is to inquire taken-for-granted foundations for design aesthetics, often informed by semantics and the social order established around the privileged designer. Hence, the Conversation is set up to disrupt former social orders and support a shared Conversation about the nature of the questions we need to ask in order to respond to the shift in design aesthetics. The session is structured around group work, with each group’s discussion revolving around a given disruption: capitalism, the anthropocene, and technocentrism. Key to the Conversation will be conversation-triggers in form of media and creation of ‘narratives’ that represent what kind of questions can be asked and what kind of answers we aim for. The purpose is to inspire diverse discussions around ways we can push for the kinds of aesthetics that align with democratic meaning-making, beyond the idea of universal modernist functionality.

  • 4.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    A Closer Look at the UrbanIxD Summer School Design Fictions through the Meta-Lens of Agonism and Dissensus2014In: The UrbanIxD Symposium Proceedings: City | Data | Future: Interactions in hybrid urban space, UrbanIxD , 2014, p. 1-6Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    By analyzing the collective output of interweaving design fictions from the UrbanIxD summer school, this paper explores the qualities in the creative process as well as the output through the meta-lens of agonism and dissensus. The understanding of these qualities and their interrelations is argued to present an opportunity for advancing urban interaction design as a hybrid discipline and design fiction as a design format.

  • 5.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Designing for a City of Lies: Designing for a City of Lies. How to Rethink Belgiums Smartest City Through Engaging the Imaginaries of Its Local Citizens2018In: Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference: Short Papers, Situated Actions, Workshops and Tutorial / [ed] Liesbeth Huybrechts, Maurizio Teli, Ann Light, Ann Light, Carl Di Salvo, Erik Grönvall, Anne Marie Kanstrup, Keld Bødker, New York, NY, USA: ACM Publications, 2018, Vol. 2, article id No. 38Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In order to meaningfully speculate on what a city could become, we need to first understand what a city currently is. Designing for a City of Lies is a project that sets out to answer this question, not through mapping what the city is, but what it is not. This is done by asking local citizens to tell lies about their city, and then feed these lies back to the city as designed urban interventions, prototyping new urban futures. Importantly, the project seeks to engage local citizens in new, more inclusive and playful ways throughout this process.

  • 6.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Exceptional futures vs. exceptions to the future: a pataphysical approach to design fiction2018In: NERD - New Experimental Research in Design: positions and perspectives / [ed] Michael Erlhoff, Wolfgang Jonas, Basel, Switzerland: Birkhäuser Verlag, 2018, p. 145-170Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 7.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Fifty Years of Failures: Part of DRS 50th Anniversary Event panel: "Outside Looking in" (presentation of the three 50th Anniversary grant projects).2016Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 8.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Histories of Design Research Failures2017In: Writing Visual Culture, ISSN 2049-7180, Vol. 8Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Design Research Failures is a design research project that facilitates conversation, reflection and action around the question: “In what way has Design Research failed in the last 50 years?” In this article, the project is further discussed as a potential vehicle for making and unmaking design history in various ways. As a call for action for design historians to engage in this exploration, two examples of such possible engagements are included, one by Kaisu Savola and another by Ben Highmore.

  • 9. Rosenbak, Søren
    Krogseth, Ane Cecilie (Contributor, Editor, Designer)
    Michèle, Léa (Contributor, Editor, Designer)
    Scherer, Davis (Contributor, Editor, Designer)
    Zabeida, Orysia (Contributor, Editor, Designer)
    Hu, Eric (Editor)
    Gassel, Harry (Editor)
    OSLO magazine vol. 1+2+32016Other (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 10.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    PhD by Design Discussion Session 3 Notes2016Report (Other academic)
  • 11.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Prototyping a Useless Design Practice: What, Why & How?2015In: Artifact, ISSN 1749-3463, E-ISSN 1749-3471, Vol. 3, no 4, p. 5.1-5.18Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This essay sets out to rectify the false dichotomy between the notions of uselessness and usefulness in relation to design, in order to argue for a useless design practice. The argument is structured into three main parts.

    Part I opens with an introduction and goes on to frame design as a hybrid discipline that has been characterized by usefulness since it was born of the Industrial Revolution. The notion of useful design and its continuingly intimate relationship with the neoliberalist growth economy is subsequently unpacked through scrutinizing the basic demands for quantification & acceleration, conflicting use and temporality with special attention paid to the Anthropocene.

    Part II elucidates the ambiguous relationship between the useless and the useful through the related critical/conformist dichotomy present in Dunne & Raby’s A/B Manifesto as well as through useless and useful design fictions. From here the unuseless chindōgu by Kawakeni and the unfindable objects by Carelman together frame the useless as a “useful overdrive.” Additionally they illustrate the constant risk of assimilation, festishization and spectacle that disruptive useless design artifacts face within the neoliberalist growth economy. In the digital realm The Useless Web accentuate the post-ironic and absurd qualities in useless design.

    Part III asks: what is useless design, why do we need useless design and how could useless design exist? From five opening propositions, useless design is positioned among related concepts such as Redström’s “design after design” (2011), Hunt’s “tactical formlessness” (2003), Tonkinwise’s “designing things that are not finished” (2005), and Jones’ “pure design” (1984). Useless design is finally argued to find its value from its ability to valuate and actively traverse the growing chasm between the industrial and the post-industrial design paradigm.

    In essence useless design is an invitation to make useful, here “useful” understood in reappropriated terms, beyond its currently one dimensional, confined state. On that note, the essay concludes by shifting its gaze from the abstract insights gathered throughout the essay towards the concrete urgent task of prototyping a useless design practice.

  • 12.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Prototyping Design Research Tools: Workshop Reflection2016Report (Other academic)
  • 13.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Successfully Failing to Design the New Unit of Presence: A Design-based Research Exploration in-between the True and the Real2014Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores the methodological challenges, paradoxes and possibilities within the process of failing to design a physical, materialized unit of qualitative measurement: the new unit of presence (abbreviated NUP). The unit and its five constituent parts are discussed against the current shift from defining the kilogram through a material artifact to defining it through non-material invariable constants. The original international prototype of the kilogram and the meter are evaluated as designed artifacts and argued to inhabit a hybrid position between the true (the domain of science: abstraction, the universal) and the real (the domain of design: complexity, the ultimate particular). While the redefinition of the kilogram marks a movement towards the true end of this continuum, the NUP explores a counterbalancing move towards the real end. As a constructive design research project primarily aimed at design researchers as well as design professionals, the NUP is an invitation to join the exploration in-between the true and the real. The paper concludes by arguing that the kind of successful failure that the NUP demonstrates helps us navigate this peculiar hybrid space, in theory as well as in practice.

  • 14.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    The Debtoscope: Transvaluation through Design2015In: Transvaluation Symposium Online Proceedings, Gothenburg: Department of Architecture, Chalmers University of Technology , 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper discusses transvaluation through design from an analysis of the ‘Debtoscope’, a design intervention dealing with the issue of debt that took place in Brisbane, Australia, November 2012. Framed around the single question: “How does debt hurt you?” the project used a seven metre long stethoscope made of local recycled trash material to expose the invisible suffering from indebtedness in the public urban space. Through the unpacking of the stethoscope as a Nietzschean metaphor and the discussion of diagnosis as a tactic for hacking infrastructural space, the Debtoscope brings us closer, not only to what transvaluation through design could be like, but perhaps also to what it should be like. 

  • 15.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    The science of imagining solutions: design becoming conscious of itself through design2018Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation addresses a paradox in design: we currently live in a day and age that is fundamentally conditioned by artifice on all scales, and principled by a deep sense of contingency and possibility. In this world, anything could always be something else. Design is a discipline uniquely capable of configuring artifice, instantiating it into a stream of different design artefacts that we are able to interact with. Beyond the comfort, joy and meaning these artefacts might bring to our lives, design in this way uniquely captures and shows forth possibility, not only on the scale of individual products, services etc., but also on the level of the artificial, in other words speaking directly to our contemporary human existence, to the sense of possibility as such.

    We can say that—distinct from other disciplines—design contributes knowledge through this very practice of possibilizing. Strangely, design displays a curious lack of consciousness of itself with respect to this unique capability, preferring to instead put its growing array of design methods and design thinking tool kits to use in the latest problem areas, thereby implicitly affirming the lack of any distinct knowledge contribution at its core. With a commitment to reverse this dynamic by exploring this very capability, this dissertation concerns the prototyping of a pataphysically infused design practice, as a way of making design more conscious of itself.

    Pataphysics, articulated by the poet Alfred Jarry at the turn of the 20th century Paris, and popularly referred to as ‘the science of imaginary solutions’, is a no­toriously slippery substance, successfully eluding academic autopsy, let alone categorisation or definition. While critical design practice has extensively adopted methods and tactics from the avant-garde movements following and drawing on pataphysics—such as dadaism, surrealism and situationism—this dissertation seeks to rectify this incomplete lineage, by bringing out the timeless pataphysical impulse in design. This process of bringing out the pataphysical impulse, is what I discuss as an ‘infusion’ of pataphysics into my research practice.

    The research practice consists of a series of five different projects, carried out in the methodological tradition of research through design, where I explore pata­physics as a possible conceptual foundation for design. In each of the projects, design’s capability to possibilize, is brought out just beyond the edge of design’s disciplinary domain, making a self-conscious foray into contemporary problem areas: printmaking (Workcentre 7120), global mass surveillance (Meta(data) morphosis), smart cities (Designing for a City of Lies), future making (FutureDomestic Landscape), and design discourse building (Design Research Failures).

    By playing out across the material and immaterial, fluidly and consciously trans­gressing the actual and the imaginary in this range of different contexts, the dis­sertation shows what a pataphysically infused design practice is: a design that not only views its artefacts, experiments, and projects, but also itself, along with the world in which it operates, as imaginary solutions.

    In addition to the practice itself, one of the imaginary solutions produced through the research practice is the science of imagining solutions. This is a theory describ­ing the way in which a design conscious of itself is uniquely able to show forth possibility to the world and to knowledge as large. It discusses the study of this capability as an ‘epiphenomenology of design’, and offers ‘quantum poetics’ as a nascent vocabulary for describing the aesthetics of this capability. Further, it offers a reconception of criticality in design away from a historical perspective, arguing that a design consciously engaging with the edge of its own domain, understood as the space where it can comfortably possibilize, is a critical design practice.

    Finally, this dissertation does not only concern design itself as a discipline, but with its focus on design’s unique capability to show forth possibility as such, more broadly speaks to a world that currently sees the sense of possibility being curtailed in numerous ways.

  • 16.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Your Design Research Failures. An Hour of Catharsis Workshop: Reflection From the Workshop2017Report (Refereed)
  • 17.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Aditya, Pawar
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Prototyping design research tools2016In: Instant Journal, ISSN 2396-846X, no 3, p. 35-36Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    In this workshop, we propose that design research needs to actively think about designing research tools and procedures as part of the research process. Following from this a number of questions arise: How can we get a critical understanding of how research tools shape our research practices? How can we practice collaborative sharing, critiquing and making of tools? For example, in a setup using materials and manual making at the PhD by Design session. When engaging in experimental practice-based research, what capabilities do design researchers need to prototype and articulate their tool-making practices?

  • 18.
    Rosenbak, Søren
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Feckenstedt, Henrike
    The Design of Digital Shadows: Co-Speculating Presents That Might Already Have Come True2016In: MEDIATIONS Conference Proceedings: Art & Design Agency and Participation in Public Space / [ed] Saba Golchehr, London: Royal College of Art , 2016, p. 13-25Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As a response to the recent surveillance disclosures made by Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers, this paper presents and discusses a key experiment from Meta(data)morphosis, a design research project aimed at heightening public metadata awareness in a low-key, local setting. The paper begins by unpacking metadata and exploring the qualities of ‘the digital shadow’, and then goes on to describe the experiment. Based on the design ethnographic extraction of personal metadata from several members of the public, each metadata set is transformed into a short film script template through speculative design. In a concluding workshop, each participant co-speculates on top of someone else’s script template, producing a narrative of an alternative present which is finally read back to the participant whose metadata the template was based upon. This is the uncanny moment when participants face their digital shadows: plausible, perhaps more tedious, perhaps more disturbing, versions of themselves. Based on this experiment, the particular methodological bridging between the traditions of speculative and participatory design is traced. As part of the discussion of the workshop results, the paper concludes by outlining the characteristics of the agonistic space that was opened up in the process of co-designing and mediating the digital shadows. Building on the insights gathered through the experiment, the Design Theatre of the Absurd is finally imagined as a future venue for further explorations.

  • 19.
    Thomson, Alison
    et al.
    Goldsmiths, University of London.
    Portugal, MariaGoldsmiths, University of London.Rosenbak, SørenUmeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    PhD by Design Instant Journal #5: How can design be a catalyst for change and how practice-based research can shape the relationship between different social, economic and political actors?2018Conference proceedings (editor) (Refereed)
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