Design for Agency at Vienna Biennale


We were honoured to be invited to present a curated show of our projects at the prestigious MAK Museum, for the Vienna Biennale 2017. For this show, we presented a series of projects that emerged from a year long investigation titled ‘DESIGN FOR AGENCY’.

From bots to IoT products, from drones to humanoid robots, from social media sites to search engines, we are now living amongst increasingly sophisticated sense organs who are constantly sensing, collecting, and deciphering every aspect of our lives. As these softwares and systems appear increasingly autonomous, what is often not visible in these machines and interfaces, is the true motivation of their creators, and the true modus operandi of the machines themselves. The true capabilities of the networks and systems that underpin our devices and interfaces have to be obfuscated and camouflaged, because only then can we experience their vitality and autonomy—sold as an asset to our everyday lives.

How will human agency work in this conditions and what new forms might it take?  For the academic year 2016-2017 the students of our studio were invited to investigate, and then design means that explore the changing forms of human agency within our technologically accelerated world. (Here ‘means’ can be tools, mechanisms, instruments, devices, and objects, but could also be stories, campaigns, hacks, protests, interventions, architectures or organisations.)

Glance through the images to see our mediations, designs, tactics, and tools that provoked and inspired visitors and audiences to consider the shifting forms of human agency in our fast-changing world.

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