United Micro Kingdoms (UmK): A Design Fiction at the Design Museum in London

By Emily Beeson | 02 May 2013

Exhibition Preview: United Micro Kingdoms (UmK): A Design Fiction, Design Museum, London, until 26th August 2013

A sculpture of two red against a dark background
© Luke Hayes
Presenting a selection of interrogative perspectives on a fictional United Kingdom, this exhibition delves into the imaginary infrastructure of emerging technologies.

Created by leading professors of architecture, design interaction and industrial design, Fiona Raby and Anthony Dunne, the experimental showcase presents four fictional micro kingdoms - each in possession of the technology and freedom to implicate government, lifestyle choices and economic systems.

Raby and Dunne’s alternative reality utilises motifs from literature, industrial design, politics, sociology and architecture and generates questions about the potential, power and progress of design.

Rather like a dystopian sci-fi novel, the show uses design to explore the social and ethical tensions that permeate developing cultures, and deconstructs the products and technologies taken for granted in everyday life.

The four distinct and self-contained counties of Digitarians, Communo-Nuclearists, Anarcho-Evolutionists and Bioliberals are presented as a "thought experiment" through which the viewer is able to question human needs, beliefs and subsequent cultural modifications.

The show's age-old sci-fi themes and social realism perhaps mirror today's existing issues on progress and technology with unsettling accuracy.

  • Open 10am - 5.45pm Admission £11.85 Adults (£10.75 without donation) £10.70 Concession (£9.70 without donation) £7.50 Student (£6.50 without donation). Follow the museum on Twitter @DesignMuseum.


More pictures:

A darkened installation table filled with objects
© Luke Hayes

A sculpture on wheels
© Luke Hayes
Brightly coloured kinetic sculptures
© Luke Hayes
An installation table with objects in a display case
© Luke Hayes
An interactive workspace at Design Museum
© Luke Hayes

Visit Emily Beeson's blog and follow her on Twitter.

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