Course Instructor: Laura Devendorf PhD
Medium: Speculative Artifacts, Website
Introducing Dining-Centric Specularity, a commercial product line of dinnerware and cutlery that is used for uncomfortable, speculative experiments at home, with friends, at public establishments, and out of the art gallery. This website and the artifacts of DCS are used to speculate on an implied near future where speculative and even uncomfortable art and design become commodified with a high commercial demand for young adults to express their unique” and cultured—or “aesthetic”—minds.
The need was developed by a demographic of wealthy youth in the next generation that yearn to be included in the clout of practicing and participating in these speculative experiments, all while society grows more and more sterilized in expression with the abundance of clean, minimalist, and sleek design as well as the push to have one’s social media identity to be as “aesthetic” as possible. In this wave of assimilation, young adults have struggled to maintain individuality while maintaining their digital facades in order to follow these pretentious trends—and so bloomed companies like DCS, where they can purchase these aesthetically pleasing and “Instagram-friendly” products that also mark the buyer in the distinguished and elite circle of “unique”, “cultured”, and “edgy” influencers that engage with each other in this form of uncomfort in this too comfortable world. However, what does this say when the study and practice of speculative design is re-appropriated to this level of shallow “clout-chasing”? Is it truly shallow? What does this say about the trends in branding, art, and the progressing fusion of the two today? And what does this say of the extents for people’s need to maintain a certain digital identity and what that identity is trending toward?