Interakcije 2017 — Speculative design workshop: Automation



This year workshop is dealing with one the most focused “big” global issuse — automation.

Speculative design is a critical design practice that comprises or is in relation to a number of similar practices, such as critical design, design fiction, design futures, anti-design, radical design, interrogative design, discursive design, adversarial design and so on. It is a discursive practice, based on critical thinking and dialogue, which questions the practice of design. However, the speculative design approach takes the critical practice one step further, towards imagination and visions of possible scenarios.

Through its imagination and radical approach, by using design as a medium, speculative design forces one to think – raises awareness, questions, provokes action, initiates discussions and perhaps even offers some alternatives that are essential for the today’s world. Those who criticize the currently dominant approach to the speculative practice, characterised as “Eurocentric”, highlight its excessively focus on aesthetics (on the visual and narrative level), tendency to escape to dystopian scenarios, vanity and separation from the real world. The critics of this “Eurocentric” approach point out the privileged “Western” position stating that criticism is only possible outside of this comfort zone, by taking a position and organizing activities in the “real world”.



The Mediterranean speculative approach is dealing with “big” global technological, economic, social and political issues within the local context that is the best known and inside of which one can best contribute. Practice at the Arts Academy in Split tackles dystopian scenarios in line with the Mediterranean approach (“from the edge of Europe”, removed from the European urban and technology centres) and challenges them from a humanist perspective.

This year workshop is dealing with one the most focused “big” global issues — automation. During the workshop, participants will speculate about implications and reflections of the global automation trends in the local context. Speculative design workshop will take place at the Arts Academy in Split, Croatia, from 16th till 21st October 2017. Workshop will be led by Tommaso Tregnaghi, art and design researcher from the Italian multidisciplinary lab / network Nefula) with assistance by Oleg Šuran (Department of Visual Communication Design, Arts Academy, Split). Workshop coordinator Ivica Mitrović will introduce participants to the so-called Mediterranean speculative approach and will talk how to imagine different futures in the Real world.

Special guest lecturer Georgina Voss anthropologist of technology and innovation systems, artist (Strange Telemetry and London College of Communication) and a writer (publishing in The Atlantic, The Guardian, and HOLO Magazine) will gave a public lecture. She will talk about speculative design, heavy engineering, and large-scale infrastructure.

Students (bachelor and master) from variety of different fields (design, arts, psychology, sociology, architecture, engineering, urbanism, etc.) will take part in the multidisciplinary teams aiming to go beyond the limits of design definitions and re-thinking what design is today.

Application process is ongoing by direct communications with partner departments from the region. However, there are still a few open places for interested applicants (

Department of Visual Communications Design (Arts Academy, University of Split) initiated a series of workshops as an introduction to the interaction design in the region. The workshops promote a multidisciplinary educational approach started with the successful Convivio summer school in 2004, which continued with UrbanIxD summer school in 2014.

So far, more then 250 students of design attended workshops – students of visual communications, new media design, interaction and product design, fine arts, architecture, computer science, ICT, film and video, and sociology, all from the major Croatian universities and other universities in the region and EU.

Workshop is supported by the City of Split.