Hirudinea Lampyris: Using Counterfactual Narratives to Imagine Alternate Futures
Design fiction as a mode of dismantling is inherent in its form. When we are able to look beyond current barriers, be they political, societal, or environmental, we can catch glimpses of possibilities not yet set in stone. The weight of reality and its rules do not apply, and we are unobstructed from rhizomatic pathways of thinking. There is a quantum knowledge in fiction and storytelling, as if the proverbial coin is spinning, and the collective audience has the power to choose what side it lands on.
To extend our thinking beyond the now, suspending our disbelief is critical. Hirudinea lampyris is a design fiction project that investigates the complexities of sustainability and asks how empathy can be used towards heterarchical ways of thinking. Conversations around sustainability often center around the human, and what the human can do to reverse or slow our self-destruction. The separation of ourselves from other beings, both environmentally and ontologically, creates false hierarchies and refuses the value of other species’ contributions. What does it look like to value the work of an earthworm? What shifts would need to happen for understanding the entangled reverb of ours and other species’ actions?
design fiction, sustainability, interspecies, storytelling
Lauren Thu (she/her) is a designer and researcher of settler origin living on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. A recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art + Design, her work focuses on research and critical engagement with sustainability, technology, and storytelling. She is a member of the Roving Designers, a design group concerned with sustainable, inclusive, and decolonial design practices. Her work and writing has been published by Plurality U+ and Onomatopee, and most recently was the recipient of ECUAD’s John C. Kerr Chancellor Emeritus Awards for Excellence in Design.