What if designers were scientists?

Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby have curated an exhibition of hypothetical future designs.

WHAT IF... we could farm medical products on our bodies? WHAT IF… meat could be grown in laboratories without harming animals? WHAT IF... we lived in a society where our every thought was public? These are just some of the questions asked in the WHAT IF exhibition, curated by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby.

“Usually when we discuss big issues we do so as citizens, yet it is as consumers that we help reality take shape. It is only when products are bought that they enter everyday life and have an effect. The act of buying determines the future. By presenting people with hypothetical products, services and systems from alternative futures people engage with them as citizen/consumers,” explained Raby.

Showing at the Science Gallery in Dublin until 13 December, the exhibition probes the space between reality and the impossible and where designers meet scientists to explore the future. The work ranges from Revital Cohen’s exploration of animals as life support machines, through to Bernhard Hopfengärtner’s examination of a society where machines can read your every emotion.

Said Dunne, head of the Design Interactions department at the Royal College of Art, London: “There are no solutions here, or even answers, just lots of questions, thoughts, ideas and possibilities, all expressed through the language of design. They probe our beliefs and values, challenge our assumptions, and encourage us to imagine how what we call ‘reality’ could be different. They help us see that the way things are now is just one possibility, and not necessarily the best one.”

Watch the Talk with Revital Cohen