designing hypotheticals


• 31. July - 25. August 2017
• four weeks, full-time in Berlin, Germany
• 10-15 participants accepted

Artist / Student (Full Time)*



In this four-week intensive program guided by artists  and speculative designers Sascha Pohflepp and Chris Woebken, you will be  designing experiences through use of live-action role play techniques  (LARPing), computer vision, machine learning, and speculative  prototyping.

We will provide a framework that revolves around a  rapidly changing world increasingly bound to be populated by non-humans,  both natural and artificial—such as advanced AI systems. Making their  perspectives  experienceable is going to be a key angle to designing for  the new societies that will emerge.


The techniques will be diverse and collaborative  exploration will be encouraged. A design for a specific community may be  prototyped by crafting a narrative and using it as a laboratory in an  iterative design process. More fictional challenges could be prototyped  in a virtual environment allowing for a collaborative exploration of  otherwise impossible spaces.


Key parts of the curriculum will be an introduction  to simulation techniques across a wide variety of scales and media,  including progressive live-action methods guided by artist and game  designer Susan Ploetz, an introduction to speculative design methods and  access to tools and working with digital fabrication technologies.


A second workshop with artificial intelligence  specialist Gene Kogan will give participants an opportunity to create  systems that may be informed by insights gained during previous  exercises.      

Field-trips to practitioners working with  simulation tools,weekly readings and discussions around the subject aim  to both supplement the learning experience, to provide inspiration and  critical analysis.


At the end of the class, those methods will have helped  you to make great steps forward in your design process and you will have  gained a whole new toolset within the scope of your practice. The final  result will be a series of design provocations, shared and discussed in  an event at ACUD which will be an exhibition as much an immersive  experience.

in this course,
you will be
introduced to

  • Essential futures studies principles, learning to identify signals, extrapolate arcs, and to develop inspiring and provocative artifacts.
  • Ability to craft situations, script characters and practice improv as a valuable tool to evaluate complex socio-technological hypothetical worlds through life-sized environments and prototypes.
  • Interdisciplinary and collaborative engagements
  • Practicing improv as a valuable tool for embodied brainstorming
  • Crafting Situations
  • Scripting Characters
  • Introduction to essential futures studies tools
  • Strategies for rapid product prototyping
  • Digital fabrication intensive
  • Show production
  • Documentation and Presentation
  • Critical Analysis

course outline

Week 1: Focuses on ideas/concepts/larping/performance/play - Interdisciplinary and collaborative engagements - Practicing improv as a tool for embodied brainstorming - Crafting Situations - Scripting Characters - Product development through re-appropriati

Week 2: Prototyping designs with Computer Vision/Machine Learning with Gene Kogan - Introduction to Computer Vision/Machine Learning - Introduction to Speculative Design - Introduction Futures Studies Tools

Week 3: Fabrication - Strategies for Rapid product prototyping - Design Fiction through live-action role play as a design tool - Product development through re-appropriation techniques

Week 4: Show production - Continued iterations and finalization of designs - Documentation and Presentation - Exhibition

who is this
program for?

- Designers - Artists - People working in Public Service - Architects - Urban Planners - Writers - Engineers - Game Designers - Economists - Many More

meet the