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What is United Micro Kingdoms (UmK): A Design Fiction?
‘UmK presents perspectives on a fictional future for the United Kingdom, as imagined by designers and educators Dunne & Raby. The exhibition sees England devolved into four self-contained counties, each free to experiment with governance, economy and lifestyle. These ‘live laboratories’ interrogate the cultural and ethical impact of existing and new technologies and how they alter the way we live.‘ – The Design Museum
This exhibition at the Design Museum explores the dystopian fictional future of the UK as designed by Dunne & Raby. In their interpretation England is split in to four micro kingdoms that rule their land as a self-contained system.
These micro kingdoms are Digitarians, Communo-Nuclearists, Anarcho-Evolutionists and Bioliberals. Each distinct society has their own rules and systems that differ greatly from the next; the Digitarians are heavily reliant on technology and the market forces, which when combined their citizens are no different to consumers. The Communo-Nuclearists are a society that solely use neucler energy to survive, they are always moving as no one wants to live next to them. The Anarcho-Evolutionists have halted the progression of most technological development and instead focus on using what technologies that they do accept to genetically developing themselves and their live stock. The final society is the Bioliberals who embrace biotechnology and use it to develop their own food, energy and products according to their own means and wants. For more information visit the UMK Website.
The space is laid out in a small section of the museum and separated via kingdoms, it is relatively easy to follow around and there is even a small library and furniture in the exhibition space for some related reading. The items on display vary from statistics and photographs to scaled down models of transport, animals and people.
This is an unusual but nonetheless interesting exhibition that uses design as tool to portray a not-so-bright future. Some aspects such as those of the dependence on technology and the modifications of ourselves and animals can be seen in society as it is today. These similarities help the visitor have a connection with the particular kingdoms however these situations are so abstract that they seem novel and draw us in to learn more about this fictional world.
United Micro Kingdoms (UmK): A Design Fiction is on until the 26 August 2013 at the Design Museum.
Entry fees apply (Adult £8 with donation and £7.20 without donation, members go in for free and concessions are available)
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