Radical Uncertainty – Creative Collaborators

As an additional way to document and disseminate the webinar – Radical Uncertainty: Design beyond Solutionism – we collaborated with four practitioners from our postgraduate community to produce a creative responses to the event. Please see this link to see more information about our collaborators.

The varied and exciting responses come from Mathilda Gouin, Lauren Dark, Jordan Whitewood-Neal and Rachel Wilson. Please click on the name to see, view or hear the response.

 

Radical Uncertainty – Response Rachel Wilson

 Rachel Wilson

In response to the Radical Uncertainty Webinar, Rachel created a piece of audio. Please see Rachel’s written response below the audio file.

 

In the introduction to Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet, the authors suggest that “Perhaps counterintuitively, slowing down to listen to the world – empirically and imaginatively at the same time – seems our only hope in a moment of crisis and urgency”.1 This reflects the smaller, more personal moments that seemed to stand out the most to me throughout the discussion at the ‘Radical Uncertainty: Design Beyond Solutionism’ event. I have found myself especially intrigued by the essence of the space between. As a result, a few questions arose:

How do I portray slowness in urgency? How do we find stillness in chaos? How can I represent both states as a blurred amalgamation that is both jarring and of comfort, all at once?

Circling between the familiar and sustained notes of C and F, exploring harmonies that both blend and jar the ear, the purpose of this audio response is to not entirely know what is happening. The transitions are disjointed, not equally blended one into the next. Timings are slightly off – new elements do not appear when one might traditionally expect. Spoken words are scattered, some words are occasionally audible but mostly a chaotic reverberation – a cacophony of voices. The audio as a whole is unclear, a challenge to our clinically trained modern ears. The dynamics follow a triangle shape, almost as an inhale and an exhale amidst the chaos and urgency. It is within this breath cycle that we “stay with the trouble”,2 to borrow from Haraway – that we stay with the uncertainty. The intention is to feel a gradual increase and subsequent unraveling of the audible chaos, without being entirely sure where it began and where it ends. I think this is best reflected by Claudia’s comment at the event that “at some point you are one, but you don’t remain one – there is always this kind of falling out again and then seeing again”.

1 Anna Tsing et al, Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017), 8.

2 Donna J. Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, (North Carolina, United States: Duke University Press, 2016), 20.

3 Claudia Westermann, “Radical Uncertainty: Design Beyond Solutionism” (University of Brighton, July 23, 2021).

 

 Rachel Wilson

Rachel’s work operates across disciplines, primarily focused at the intersections of sound studies, speculative design and sustainability discourses. She is currently studying MA Sustainable Design at the University of Brighton.

hello@racheljwilson.co.uk

Radical Uncertainty – Response Jordan Whitewood-Neal

 Jordan Whitewood-Neal

In response to the Radical Uncertainty Webinar, Jordan created the images A Speculative Learning Space, Present Bodies Future Spaces, and The Lecturer 2021. Please see Jordan’s written response below the images.

A Speculative Learning Space

 

Present Bodies Future Spaces

 

The Lecturer 2021

 

Amongst the many and varied intersections discussed during the symposium, one question resonated most with my own research and take away from the discussion – that being: Can the everyday be radical?

My research is focused on the history, theory, and future of disability in architectural education, with a particular focus on domesticity a both a theoretical context, and methodology for critiquing educational spaces. The domestic encapsulates the everyday from washing, bathing, and now even learning. So, in response to this I began sketching self-portraits within academic settings, inspired by the work of Raquel Meseguer, Francis Bacon, and even Marc Quinn’s Alison Lapper Pregnant statue.

These drawings are very much at the start of what I now see as an ongoing practice of drawing, reflection, and speculation as to how disabled bodies can alternatively inhabit spaces that often embody exclusivity. These not only explore inhabitation but the roles we take on within educational institutions: students, lecturers – and we can begin to question who is missing from university, and finally what impact is this having on praxis and the built environment.

 Jordan Whitewood-Neal

Jordan is an architectural researcher, designer and artist currently completing an MRes at University of Brighton, exploring disability and education in relation to the domestic scale of the Architectural Association. He has presented his research at Glasgow School of Art, University of Sheffield, and the London Festival of Architecture. 

Jordan’s LinkedIn

Jordans LFA Lecture

Radical Uncertainty – Response Lauren Dark

Lauren Dark

In response to the Radical Uncertainty Webinar, Lauren created Blue Tit Film. Please see Laurens written response below the film.

My response to the event is focused on the recurring theme of birds. Birds became an unexpected vehicle to express how we relate to birds, how birds relate to each other and how they relate to their surroundings. This provides insight into how designers interact with complex systems.  

The first is how we relate to birds. Zoe discussed a problem of metaphors as being too culturally specific and referenced an experience she had whilst working with a group of indigenous women. She spoke about framing ideas around the metaphor of owls and their wisdom. However, the women could not relate and even found it hilarious that someone would think an owl is wise. Their opinion was that owls were dumb and ugly; it was much better to be wise and beautiful like a falcon. This demonstrated how a western metaphor did not translate. Shilpi eloquently discussed the way that designers can unconsciously imprint their own perception of solutions onto an audience without fully understanding their experience of a situation. She stated, “it’s not just looking at, it is looking with”1. In this case, it can be extrapolated to include interspecies design. 

The second is how birds relate to each other. This was an idea introduced by Chris as he discussed the limitations of language. He spoke about how most of our understanding is fixed upon a horizontal plane. If birds had what we understand to be language, then it could be considered three dimensional. This is because birds fly through the volume of the sky instead of the directions limited to a horizontal plane and its gravitational pull.  

The final is how birds relate to their surroundings. A human’s experience of a path is different from a bird’s one. From a human’s point of view, there is a path with walls but from a bird’s, there are areas of light and shade as walls are not a restraint for them. Chris also spoke of how humans see with their brains more than their eyes. “80% of what we see comes from the Lateral Geniculate Nucleus in the brain.”2 This demonstrates how our understanding is limited to our own experience.  

The accompanying video captures these reflections visually. The blue tit in the video gradually transforms into a colour wheel before transforming back. The first part is based on the misconception that information can be communicated through language as a code that can be decoded and reassembled in an identical manner. This transference of information in linguistics is now understood as the inferential model. Sperber and Wilson define this as “intentions [that] are not decoded but inferred”3. This ties in with Shilpi’s notion of looking with as it implies a level of negotiation through conversation to reach a mutual understanding.  

The topic of empathy in design was raised. Whilst it is important to empathise with the situation that is being designed for, understanding is not simply and completely achieved. The video ends with the blue tit pixelating back into a colour wheel but gradually focusing into a circle at the end. This represents the acceptance that some issues exist within a system or colour wheel of complexity. It is not a designer’s role to tackle the entire system but to empathise with a specific part and work collaboratively to achieve some level of understanding. 

1. Radical Methodologies group in conversation with Mihir Bhat, Shilpi Srivastava, Zoe Sadokierski, Chris Rose, and Claudia Westermann, “Radical Uncertainty: Design beyond solutionism.” (Webinar, July 23rd 2021) 

2. Michael Benson, Chris Rose and Andreas Mershin “A Series of Three Conversations: Paradoxing.” Venice Biennial (Webinar, August 8th 2021) 

3. Wilson, Deirdre. 1998. “Linguistic Structure And Inferential Communication”. 16th International Congress Of Linguistics. Oxford: Pergamon. 

Lauren Dark

Lauren is an interdisciplinary designer and researcher. Lauren makes to express concepts identified through my research. Whether it is psychogeography, linguistics or food, Lauren’s aim is to push the boundaries of what is expected in design with an experimental approach. 

Lauren’s LinkedIn

Lauren’s Portfolio

Radical Uncertainty – Response Mathilda Gouin

Mathilde Gouin

In response to the Radical Uncertainty Webinar, Mathilda created the book uncertain conversations. Please follow this link to see the PDF of the book

 

Mathilde Gouin

Mathilde is a multidisciplinary designer, which works aims to utilise design artefacts as discursive tools to rebalance discourses that interrogate complex social issues and create new design frameworks. Her work seeks to allow underrepresented stories to be heard and to support more representative and plural futures.

Mathilde’s LinkedIn

Mathilde’s Personal Website

Mathilde’s Narrative Editions Instagram

Mathilde’s University Exhibition

Mihir Bhatt – Radical Uncertainty

Radical Methodologies are joined by Mihir Bhatt to discuss Radical Uncertainty.

This is a pre-recorded presentation for an event that took place on 23rd July 2021.

To cite this presentation:

Bhatt, M. “Reflections on Radical Uncertainty: Design Beyond Solutions.” Presentation at Radical Uncertainty: Design Beyond Solutionism [webinar], University of Brighton, UK, July 23, 2021. Available at https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/650266485

Claudia Westermann – Radical Uncertainty

Radical Methodologies are joined by Claudia Westermann to discuss Radical Uncertainty.

This is a pre-recorded presentation for an event that took place on 23rd July 2021.

To cite this presentation:

Westermann, C. “Living in Landscapes of Uncertainty.” Presentation at Radical Uncertainty: Design Beyond Solutionism [webinar], University of Brighton, UK, July 23, 2021. Available at https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/650265937

 

Chris Rose – Radical Uncertainty

Radical Methodologies are joined by Chris Rose to discuss Radical Uncertainty.

This is a pre-recorded audio presentation for an event that took place on 23rd July 2021.

To cite this presentation:

Rose, C. “Wicked possibilities: Design Beyond Solutionism.” Presentation at Radical Uncertainty: Design Beyond Solutionism [webinar], University of Brighton, UK, July 23, 2021. Available at https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/radicalmethodologies/2021/11/19/chris-rose-radical-uncertainty/

 

 

Shilpi Srivastava – Radical Uncertainty

Radical Methodologies are joined by Shilpi Srivastava to discuss Radical Uncertainty.

This is a pre-recorded presentation for an event that took place on 23rd July 2021.

To cite this presentation:

Srivastava, S. “Anticipating futures: Living with radical uncertainty.” Presentation at Radical Uncertainty: Design Beyond Solutionism [webinar], University of Brighton, UK, July 23, 2021. Available at https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/647734361

Zoë Sadokierski – Radical Uncertainty

Radical Methodologies are joined by Zoë Sadokierski to discuss Radical Uncertainty.

This was a pre-recorded presentation for an event that took place on 23rd July 2021.

To cite this presentation:

Sadokierski, Z. “Wicked possibilities: Design Beyond Solutionism.” Presentation at Radical Uncertainty: Design Beyond Solutionism [webinar], University of Brighton, UK, July 23, 2021. Available at https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/647734193