Speaker Johanna Schmeer


Johanna Schmeer is an artist and designer. Her work focusses on hybridity and interactions between the natural and the artificial — asking questions and discussing ideas related to technologically enhanced ecosystems, new materials, and artificial extensions of the self. Johanna’s work has been published, awarded, and exhibited internationally, including recently at the Museum for Art & Design Hamburg, the National Museum Stockholm, the Venice Biennale, and Ars Electronica Center Linz.

Talk, Monday 10th 11:00

Xenodesignerly ways of knowing

This talk argues that human-centered design, which for many years has been the predominant paradigm within the field of design, has in part contributed to contemporary environmental and social problems, in its servicing role within the systems that have created them.

It argues for a development of more inclusive design practices, which expand audiences and perspectives, and take the interconnectedness of humans and everything else into consideration, as part of complex and not fully knowable systems and networks. It expands speculative design, and introduces the notion of xenodesign, a design guided by principles and theories from speculative realism, xeno discourses, and speculative design, which is characterized by flat ontologies and the consideration of all objects on an equal level – humans, bacteria, soil, robots, etc. – as well as the notion that each object has its own reality, not fully knowable nor accessible to others.

The talk elaborates on what could constitute a xenodesignerly practice in three concepts, illustrated through examples from conceptual design, in which the designs are “design for use,” but also “design for debate,” and question the paradigm of human-centered design, adding to the discourse and practice of multi-perspective, inclusive approaches to design.

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