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Scholarship of Design
Time is out of Joint:
Digital Domesticity and Magical Realism
Luis Hernan & Carolina Ramirez-Figueroa
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Architecture has often looked at science fiction to understand the way that new technologies have an effect on the buildings we create. Here we advocate for a broadening of the canon suggesting that there are other traditions and forms of speculative fiction that destabilize the canon through which we imagine the future of buildings. Inspired by the recent coinage of “auto-theory” and the work of feminist writers such as Donna Haraway, Eula Biss, Valeria Luiselli, and Selva Almada we write this essay in the form of a semifictional diary spanning six nonconsecutive days during the COVID-19 pandemic. As two Latin American writers operating in English-speaking academia, we draw on our own positionality to think through the consequences that the canon of speculative fiction has on our ability, as designers, to imagine. The paper is driven by the narrative of teaching “online” and turning our home into a ‘smart’ one while teaching design studios on speculative futures. Interspersed in the narrative are the conversations we had with students during this period and our collective readings of three works of speculative fiction—one proto-science-fiction and two Latin American—which we use to try and make sense of our new forms of (technified) domesticity.

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