As 2014 rushes past us, a venture capital firm appoints a computer algorithm to its board of directors, robots report news events such as earthquakes before any human can, fully functioning 3D printed ears, bones and guns are in use, the world’s biggest search company acquires large scale, fully autonomous military robots, six-year old children create genetically modified glow fish and an online community of 50,000 amateurs build drones. All this whilst extreme weather events and political unrest continue to pervade. This is just a glimpse of the increased state of technological acceleration and cultural turbulence we experience today. How do we make sense of this? What can designers do? Dissecting through her studio Superflux’s projects, research practice and approach, Anab will make a persuasive case for designers to adopt new roles as sense-makers, translators and agent provocateurs of the 21st century. Designers with the conceptual toolkits that can create a visceral connection with the complexity and plurality of the worlds we live in, and open up an informed dialogue that help shape better futures for all.
Anab Jain is an award-winning designer, filmmaker and founder of the London-and-India-based design studio Superflux, which she runs in partnership with Jon Ardern. The studio consistently produces inventive and critical work exploring the limits of emerging technologies and their implications on society and culture. Through their work and approach, Anab helps shapes the studio’s vision as a new kind of design practice — one that is responsive to the unique challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century. The studio’s work has won awards from Apple Computers Inc., the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, ICSID, the Chicago Documentary Film Festival, the Ann Arbor Film Festival and Geneva Human Right Festival. It has exhibited at MoMA New York, Science Gallery Dublin, National Museum of China, Ars Electronica, London Design Festival and the Tate Modern, and been written about in The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Wired, and Fast Company.