Postcards from the future: Life & Surprise

8th December 2017
by Shane Delahunty

Cover image: Postcards from the future: Life & Surprise

The Future & the Meaning of Life. Two things that people are afraid of, yet can talk shite about considerably as if they have a clue. Try as we might, no matter how much we talk ourselves into believing it, the future is just not as clear as we can all proclaim or pretend to plan for. None of us truly know where our daily mission as dictated by our phones will lead us to.

Sometimes I’d like to be like one of those people who ‘know’ it all and are confident about what direction to take: ‘Agile Methodology Saves Lives’, ‘It’s time we all thought about Design Thinking’, ’Invest in Bitcoin (2015)’ They’re confident, bold, proactive…smart?…but most definitely caucasian middle class males who believe in their own shite and have the confidence to plough forward. However, most of the time I hate those pricks.

Instead, I do as most do. I examine the past and try to forget about the bad bits, look at the present and realise it’s all fucked, and try to peer into the bleak impending future through the mists of misery. Over and over this process goes until I can perceive some little moments of clarity and act on them to try and make something of purpose… but inevitably failing to make any sort of impact.

Every now and then though, some genuine heroes come along who do inspiring things. They dance this line between unflappable optimism and pragmatic pessimism, but capture your imagination and instil us with confidence through that holy trinity of bravery, vision and talent. Throw in those other great design attributes – making sense of the world, communicating directly, and guiding people with clarity, and these are the people we can look up to. Luckily for us, these are also the people that The Future chooses to champion.

Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun explodes into the world on a daily basis. There’s no task too challenging, or idea too bonkers to derail her assessment of what areas need some help and joy, while stopping at nothing (even cloning herself) to bring experimentation to reality. She challenges people with ideas they’re not comfortable with and drags them towards the final outcomes with exhilaration and determination. It’s weeks later and I still don’t really know what happened on stage that day, but I’m 100% on board with wherever she’s taking us!

Space 10 take time and consideration to look at the big issues impacting future society and bring inventive ideas and prototypes into the world that address these topics through objects of beauty and systems of pure and utter delight. Johnny Kelly just gets humans and the world around him. He has the talent to look at the banal world around us, turn it on its head, and takes us from moments of happiness to the cusp of tears through concise observations of humour and honesty.

These people have that ‘something’ and have it in abundance. They make sense of the world, the future, and life.

The hope is that the next wave of Irish design can start to feel more comfortable in the unconstrained, and have this composed confidence in what we’re very good at: understanding, unpacking, inventing and communicating. Believe you can take on the big challenges. Place things into the world that have a heartbeat and a reason for being, and use whatever form is needed. Embed yourselves in shitty companies and drag them kicking and screaming towards some sort of sanity with patience, talent and respect for good humans at the heart of everything you do. Make them feel comfortable with the uncomfortable. Surrounded yourself with good people and help others find a place in the mess. Good design might not change the world, but your design response could help someone become more confident, informed or enlightened, and that might just be enough.

And there you go, with that last paragraph I have become ‘one of those pricks’. A caucasian middle class man with access to a publishing platform and a captive audience, proclaiming to have figured it all out and advising you what to do with your life. Flatter me to dizzy heights with your admiration, or slaughter me on social media like a redesigned logo for a corporation you cared very little about moments ago.

The Future is yours. See you back there next year to try and make even more sense of it and learn what other things we’ve all made up as we go along.

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