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August 3, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Design students go on Futurama bender

Teams of students from Victoria University’s School of Design have recently completed projects for the Design Led Futures (DLF) exhibition on display at Wellington’s Film Archive.

In an age where human existence is becoming increasingly digital, students were challenged to come to grips with what the future may be like in 80 years.

Seven teams produced models, workbooks and movies of their ideas which will be exhibited on the DLF website. The projects also include extensive research in areas such as biology and information technology.

The project is the brainchild of lecturer Ross Stevens, who said it was an assignment designed for actively floating visions for the future.

Stevens admits that it took him years to realise the futuristic ideas weren’t all crap, and expects humans will spend more time interacting with digital worlds.

He adds that students finishing the project have often wished that they could start it again with their new-found belief in the future digitalisation of human life.

“It’s about making their designers realise that what they thought was an extreme idea actually wasn’t, and making them important in the new emerging digital world,” he said.

This year, the project—“Being Human”—was built on the existing ideas of DLF to create visions of a human existence which fuses with artificial intelligence, called Beings.

DLF also acknowledges that we need to start demanding less from the physical world. It predicts that in the future most of our lives will be lived virtually.

Craig Johnson, member of the The Dolphins, looked at dreaming and the externalisation of thoughts. He spoke fondly of the DLF project in saying that the “bastard child” of Ross Stevens is almost as weird as he is.

“No one understands it, really, but we had DLFun,” Johnson said.

In past years, the project has been sponsored by major companies such as Fisher&Paykel and Nike, but was unable to attain sponsorship for this year.

Former DLF students working for Fisher and Paykel came up with the idea of laser engraving designs on chickens as they cook in the microwave.

Ross Stevens and his students are looking for ideas that will make the future more fun and less destructive. The question, according to Stevens, is “How do we all get to be beautiful, and how do we get to demand less from the physical world?”

To find out more about how our future may look, check out the DLF website .

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