On september the 29th the designers and theorists Julian Bleecker (Nokia, Near Future Laboratory), Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (Really Interesting Group), and Anab Jain (Superflux) will discuss current speculative design. The focus of their practices lies on the what used to be called – or is still called – "The Internet of Things" and the rise of 3D-printing. It is about the idea of what happens when objects are networked and can communicate, and what changes we can envision in case dirt cheap 3D-printing takes the place of buying ready made, mass-produced objects.
Though V2_ has always looked to the future and has speculated much on what will happen in future technological times, the "The Internet of Things" – an idea which has been around ever since someone thought about hooking up the fridge to the internet – nor 3D printing have ever occupied at center stage at V2_.
But there is a close connection – a very close connection – between the DIY-approach of Julian Bleecker and the way in which the V2_ lab develops some projects. Julian Bleecker loves making things, and promotes that love – and so does V2_. Just look for instance at these V2_workshops: DIY networks, DIY Ambient Intelligence, the Workshop Wearable Technology, or this cutout circuit board design.
And, though "The Internet of Things" might never have played a central role at V2_ there are many projects in which objects are furnished with communication technology, and networked to communicate. The first project which comes to mind is Thecla Schiphorst's Soft(n) – which basically consists of cushions which communicate. Another take on communicating objects is Mobile Feelings by Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau – though that work is more about the boundaries between object and virtual – an issue explored by many more projects presented at V2_.
The lack of clearly related projects in the V2_archive is just one reason more to be excited about an exploration of speculative design – there might be something new to invent – a new thing, or a new behavior. Maybe to get context for this night we should not search the V2_archive for leads, but rather look at the present – and go further back, even to an updated 19th Century – and read Lars Spuybroek's new book The Sympathy of Things, Ruskin and the Ecology of Design.