Why fabulate design?
(University of Washington)
Paper short abstract:
This paper examines a case study of critical fabulation, ways of storytelling that rework how things that we design come into being and what they do in the world.
Paper long abstract:
This paper examines ways of storytelling that rework how things that we design come into being and what they do in the world. Derived from the practice of critical fabulation, I describe a case study based in Seattle, Washington that orients design toward different narrative potentials. Feminist philosophers Saidiya Hartman, Vinciane Despret, and Donna Haraway have discussed fabulations as imaginative resources that make way for living differently in the present. Critical fabulation for Hartman are a "double gesture [that] can be described as straining against the limits of the archive to write a cultural history of the captive, and, at the same time, enacting the impossibility of representing the lives of the captives precisely through the process of narration." They blend the real and implausible in the manner of science fiction to open pathways for examining the tensions within. By making stories and catalyzing new embodied ways of knowing through design, critical fabulations draw attention to the contested nature of knowledge productions while caring for their repercussions—nurturing what Haraway describes as an "obligation of and capacity for responsive attentiveness."
Feminist figures: crafting intersections in theory and practice