DMA 104 - Design Futures / Spring 2017


Syllabus / Assignments



Desma 104 Spring 2017

Thursdays 9-11:50am


Peter Lunenfeld

Design | Media Arts Department

4252 Broad Art Center
lunenfeld +

Personal Website:

Office Hour:
Thurs. 12:00-1:00

Teaching Assistant

David Ertel

Office Hour:
Weds. 4–5 at Untitled Cafe


Cara Chan

Office Hour:
Weds. 4–5 at Untitled Cafe



May 28
Final exam is
downloadable here

May 12
Week 6 slides are
downloadable here

April 27
Midterm is
downloadable here
Midterm study guide is downloadable here

April 6
Welcome to Desma104!


Spring 2017, Thursdays, 9:00-11:50 PM

Public Affairs 1222

Prof. Peter Lunenfeld []

David Ertel []
Office hour: Wednesday 4-5

Cara Chan []

The Class:

This course offers a critical examination of design practice and theory, incorporating historical as well as speculative methodologies. We will cover a multitude of disciplines, producing crosscultural and transmedia analyses that concentrate on 20th century highlights of design and 21st century experiments and movements. We will be considering how various design practices and techniques related to each other across cultures and media.

The class will be involved in “nowcasting,” a meteorological term that we will appropriate to think about design and society at the start of the 21st century. There are always more data points about the present than there are about the future, and that determining what is happening in the middle of a storm is orders of magnitude more computationally intense than forecasting what the next weather event might be. As we look at design our interest in nowcasting is less meteorological than it is metaphorical. We should be able to develop nowcasting as distinct from but related to everything from cool hunting to surveillance, and use the concept to open new spaces for critical analyses of technology and culture.

The Texts:

Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming (MIT, 2013)

Brenda Laurel, Utopian Entrepreneur, design Denise Gonzales Crisp (MIT, 2001)

Bruce Sterling, Shaping Things, design Lorraine Wild (MIT, 2005)

Paul D. Miller aka Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid, Rhythm Science, design COMA Amsterdam/New York (MIT, 2004)

The Assignments & The Requirements:

1) All assignments must be handed in and sent to the Assistant by email to earn a grade.

2). Take home midterm covering the readings and lectures due May 11 by 9:30 am, any later and it will be marked down a half point. (30%)

3). Required reports on DMA sponsored public event, lecture, or show. See the Department of Design Media Arts calendar for details: (10%) The first review is due April 27st, the second is due June 1st

The reviews should be approx. 300-500 words. Guide on how to write a review

4). Take-home final 10-12 pages, captioned images due at 12:00 PM Friday June 8th in Professor Lunenfeld’s office, 4252 Broad Art Center (50%). The course grade, while guided by the percentages, is calculated holistically.


Roll will be taken via The enrollment code is 2MH9, use your smartphone. If you don’t have a smartphone, we will work out other arrangements. Please sign in to Arkaive every class before 9:10 AM. Two unexcused absences will result in a penalty of one half point, three or more result in an F.

The Academic Expectations:

Plagiarism of any form is a violation of UCLA Student Conduct Code Section 102.01 Academic Dishonesty:

Wikipedia is an essential contemporary tool, but using it in academic situations is tricky. Here’s a great Student Wikipedia Use Policy written by Alan Liu from UCSB:

Week 1 Apr. 6 Bespoke Futures

Covered: the design cluster, nowcasting, bespoke futures and the Mediawork concept

Covered: movements, styles, and concepts in graphic, motion, industrial, and interface design.

Week 2 Apr. 13 Design Fictions

Required Readings: Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming

Covered: The biomorphic form making of MIT’s Neri Oxman, critical design, speculative realism.

Interactive Screening: MoMA’s Design & the Elastic Mind

Week 3 Apr. 20 Curating & Sensibilty

Visit: We will visit the Simon Denny Project at the Hammer Museum in Westwood. Details TBD.

Required Readings:

Bruno Latour, “From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik, or How to Make Things Public,” The Object Reader (2009)

Susan Sontag, “Notes on Camp” from Against Interpretation (1964)

Nicolas Bourriaud, "Relational Form,” from Relational Aesthetics (2002)

Ellen Lupton, "Design and Social Life,” from Bloemink, Hodge, Lupton, McQuaid, Design Life Now (2006)

Covered: curating as the expression of a sensibility; how audiences relate to images and objects in space

Week 4 Apr. 27 Culture Work

Assignment Due: 1st Review

Required Readings: Utopian Entrepreneur

Peter Lunenfeld “Media Design: New and Improved Without the New,” New Media & Society (2004)

Hal Foster, “Design and Crime”, from Design and Crime (and Other Diatribes) (2002)

and “The ABCs of Contemporary Design” October 100 (2002)

Denise Gonzales Crisp, Decorational Pamphlet, “Toward a Definition of the Decorational,” 2003

Covered: Technology’s impact on design; business and culture; doing good, doing well; the history of the culture machine;

Web-design; deco-rationalism

What's Next? Conversations with DMA Alumni”, 5:00-7:00 in the EDA

This is a MANDATORY DMA Career Development Event, sign in sheets will be used.

Week 5 May 4


Week 6 May 11 Sound & Source

Assignment Due : Take Home Midterm

Required Reading: Rhythm Science

Lawrence Lessig, “Property” from Free Culture, pp. 116–173 (2006)

Covered: the Dj as griot; open source culture; curation as method; the fragmented persona as contemporary archetype

Week 7 May 18 Things that Think & Talk

Required Readings: Shaping Things

Steven Skov Holt and Mara Holt Skov, “The Blobject Begins to Take Shape” and “The Look and Feel of Optimism”

from Blobjects & Beyond: The New Fluidity in Design (2005)

Covered: spimes, blobjects, gizmos and other new new things; industrial design’s future(s); sustainability and green design

Week 8 May 25 Motion, Time, and Brand

Guest: Will Eagle, Strategy Consultant at Google. Will Eagle works with some of Google’s biggest clients to help

them solve their brand challenges in the digital space, especially Youtube, through education, ideation and consultation.

Required Reading : Lev Manovich, “Media Design,” Software Takes Command (2013), p. 243-328.

B.J. Fogg, “The New Rules of Persuasion”

Covered: design cinema; when collage and montage combine; the primacy of the graphic and the animation

over the photographic and the filmic

Screenings: A curated selection of contemporary motion pieces

Week 9 June 1 The New Aesthetic?

Assignment Due: 2nd Review

Required Reading:

Bruce Sterling

Ian Bogost,

Andrew Blum,

Taina Bucher,

June 8 Week 10 Open Dialogues

Friday June 9, 12:00 PM, Final due

10-12 page final project due at the Professor’s office, 4252 Broad or in his mailbox in 2275. It may be turned in early at his mailbox. Final must also be emailed to David and Cara in order to receive a grade.