Design fiction: IKEA Catalog from the future

Design fiction, writes Josh Tanenbaum, uses fictional depictions of future technology to tell a story about the world in which that technology is situated: it uses narrative structures to explore and communicate the possible futures for technology. Julian Bleecker of Near Future Labs is one of the first and foremost proponents of these techniques, and he has recently collaborated with Mobile Life Stockholm to create a fictional “IKEA Catalog from the future”. He writes “In the end, our Design Fiction Ikea catalog is a way to talk about a near future. It is not a specification, nor is it an aspiration or prediction. The work the catalog does – like all Design Fictions – is to encourage conversations about the kinds of near futures we’d prefer, even if that requires us to represent near futures we fear”.

Read Bleecker’s writeup and download the Design Fiction IKEA Catalog at

Josh Tanenbaum’s article on Design Fiction and HCI is available at (behind a paywall)

Book: Narrative as Virtual Reality 2, Marie-Laure Ryan

Illya Szilak has reviewed Marie-Laure Ryan’s new volume Narrative as Virtual Reality 2. She writes “This lucidly written updated book addresses virtual reality (VR) not as a medium associated with specific hardware, but more loosely as a form of storytelling primarily concerned with immersion and interactivity, […] placing VR in a continuum of storytelling and media (visual art, conventional and digital literature especially hypertext, and computer games) and pre-digital immersive experiences like Baroque architecture, children’s make-believe, ritual, and some forms of theater such as Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty”. Continue reading