Rehearsing: just how far from implementation?

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During the closing DAIM conference in February we showed videos of enacted and improvised design scenarios that were produced during the research project. In one of the videos a shop owner and his customers collaborate with waste professionals and designers to rehearse the future practice of a new in-shop waste handling service. In the conference we proposed that the general distance between a series of rehearsals and the implementation of new robust practices were perhaps not as great as expected. Design researchers in the audience raised the question if the video wasn’t merely documenting a momentary fantasy, a kind of spectacle for the case of the event, and hence very far from establishing a new robust practice. My colleagues and I argued that what took place in the shop had less to do with theatrical make-believe and more with staging the concrete aspirations of competent participants. The participants did not stage a fiction, but developed a fictive reality according to the present resources and constraints. It was about “making, not faking” as Victor Turner once described the efficacy of ritual and social drama. Granted, our research experiments with possible futures often remain exactly that: temporary experiments that lead to new knowledge, but seldom to implementable solutions here and now. But in this case I am delighted to report from the implementation of the in-shop waste handling service in question. See the images here.

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