Bruce Sterling - Wired - Writing contribution

Design fiction*november 2011

Nelly Benhayoun contributes to Bruce Sterling's famous Blog Beyond the Beyond, hosted by Wired,  under the label Design Fiction.

Read her report NO more HEROES 

Design fiction: for a hazardous, existential and punk practice.

 on Beyond the Beyond: here

I feel myself that the writer’s role, his authority and license to act, have changed radically. I feel that, in a sense, the writer knows nothing any longer. He also has no moral stance. He offers the reader the contents of his own head, a set of options and imaginative alternatives. His role is that of a scientist, whether on safari or in his laboratory, faced with an unknown terrain or subject. All he can do is to devise various hypotheses and test them against the facts.”
J.G Ballard introduction to Crash

“How did I end up there?” I wonder. I am on a chair, my cartable on my knees, staring at my shoes, waiting for my turn.

By the window I can see a white Boeing 787. People already started boarding….
On my right a military-looking man. Fear perspires from my face. 
He is wearing sunglasses. He takes them off and asks me, “Why are we on the same bench?”

“Not sure…” I think.

“I am off to Palestine to do some rocket fire,” he says giggling.

“Oh, ok…right,” a nervous wrinkle just appeared under my eye… I am now close to hysterical… They will find the powder on my shoes.

I am off to Tel Aviv to give a talk after a volcanic eruption in my living room.

Now that I am at the airport on the point of going through a body check, memories and nonsense excite my axons.

It all began the evening before. I decided that it was about the time to meet with ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ this star of cryogeny and thermo-sexual revival …

This follows a series of other, risky, domestic interventions, including generating Dark Energy in my kitchen sink, lifting off on board of the Soyuz rocket from the lounge, swimming in the bathroom in the middle of a Sonic Booum and discussing with a Yeti in the garage.  [... read all here ]

For an existential Design:

Existentialism, this ironical and potentially dangerous philosophy encouraged the public to mythologize the wild, flamboyant and radical. It challenges power structures and decadent behaviors, it disclaims absurdity and boredom in the everyday and responds to it with passion, thrill and free will.

This existential altitude is one of the democratization of experience: it is the punk realm.

There are ‘NO more HEROES’ as we can all achieve wisdom and generate new urban myths. Existential design would then mean: not to serve reality with great zeal, but actually to live to create its fiction.

My job, then, is to interfere in-between the two, and to propose alternatives. Meaningful experiences, for all of us to access our fantasy.

 As with “The Other Volcano,” this can be violent and risky, but I hope this designed experience can lead to social actions.

Let’s shake up Sleeping Beauty and take the Chaos Road on a Harley Davidson…!

Let’s rock design!