[exhibition] Between Dreamy and Dreary: Fiction in Design

Between Dreamy and Dreary: Fiction in Design

Solo exhibition at Celine Park Gallery in Seoul, South Korea

Soomi Park & Owen Wells

“Science fiction is not about the freedom of imagination. It’s about a free imagination pinched and howling in a vise that other people call real life.”

Bruce Sterling, Shaping Things (2005)

For decades the technological dreams and aesthetics of fiction have directly influenced the world of design. Fiction creates desires about the world we imagine being part of, which intern creates expectations for designers. We are at a point where fiction has become assimilated into the field of design in structured and formalised ways: from the use of fiction as a part of the education of new designers; to the adoption of Design Fiction as a tool by major tech companies, government bodies, scientists, etc.

For us, fiction is an important part of our design process. To us, it means: narration and narrative; complexity; characters; humour; props; costumes; and at an abstract level, a place to discuss alternative or unseen versions of reality. It gives us the possibility to experiment with concepts which are not ordinarily afforded by market-driven design. Ideas that exist Between Dreamy and Dreary.

Individually we approach this in different ways. Soomi has a background in film and digital media design and is currently studying for a PhD in cognitive psychology. Her practice focuses on illustrating the complex relationship between emerging technologies and human desires. Owen is trained in product and furniture design, and his education has deeply rooted the idea that good design is a conversation between materials and processes. He is interested in exploring how as a designer we can experiment with the technologies of cinema and video games. As a couple, we bring these interests together in the work we collaborate on.

This exhibition is a collection of five projects that show our approach to design. The projects cover some topics we think are critical to consider at this moment, like death, privacy, histories, psychology, emotion and robots.