Personas and projections. A lyrical essay on facing climate change via design fiction
- Morrison, Andew|Larsen, janike Kampevold
UNESCO Chair in Anticipatory Systems, together with WAAS-World Academy of Art and Science, ISSS-International Society for the Systems Sciences, the Advanced Design Network, and the Department of Sociology and Social Sciences of the University of Trento
Abstract: We identify two challenges concerning conceptualisations of communication design, design fiction and future views on the arctic. The first refers to the difficulty of mediating information and perspectives on the complexity of climate change to a wide public bombarded with conflicting perspectives and alienated from engagement with the central issues. The second refers to devising and implementing effective participative and anticipatory persuasion as counterweights to destructive practices of resource extraction. Our lyrical essay employs design fiction to explore the role of persona in elaborating points of view concerning climate change in the arctic. Persona is used as a device to engage readers in the perspectives of a discursively engineered and nuclear powered narwhal called Narratta. She recounts her journeying through a cultural landscape of the ‘future far north’ online, critiquing the world around her, jettisoning herself between seas and lakes, the present past and future. Narratta is composed by a team ten interdisciplinary designer-researchers in a co-design project into the future cultural landscapes of the arctic. Her persona allows us to project our shared and varied interests and perceptions through a single but varied voice. We have taken part in shared workshops, travelled the arctic together in a project that spans five terrains/territories and worked on joint blog entries. Our production is experimental – in the form of Narratta blogging as a member of our project team – and part of a wider media ecology that spans social and locative media and an app called MAPPA). Narratta is a speaking subject and her persona provides elements of surprise in turns of topic and attitude. We reflect on a design fiction as a means of articulating matters of climate change, cultural landscape, the lived everyday, and projections of imagined alternate literacies and futures of the arctic.