Futures of Work

April 1, 2021

A design studio about work is like one about history, or science – a subject too vast and complex to present the constructive constraints we associate with design inquiries. Yet the issues surrounding work today – how, why, who, where, and even if – have assumed such a prominence in our everyday discourse, that the idea of a studio with the goal of framing questions within this expansive topic seemed urgent.

Economies, governments, corporations, and other structures profoundly implicate and impact individuals through the currency of our most valuable commodities: our time and our labor. Because of this, questions of design associated with work are uniquely complex: encompassing both individual workers and much larger structures from global health, and migration, to computer intelligence and automation.

The goal of the Futures of Work studio was to reveal new issues related to this subject, and to expand the dimensions of familiar tropes about work, working, and workers in the coming years. Punctuated by a series of discussions and presentations with experts, our inquiries centered on the production of short video vignettes speculating on social, technological, cultural, practical issues regarding these ubiquitous but often over-simplified questions.

A Studio led by Ben Hooker & Tim Durfee

Our guests included:
Ilona Gaynor: Artist, Writer, Filmmaker, Professor School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Sean Donahue: Designer, Researcher, Core Faculty, MDP
Primo Orpilla: Principal of Studio O+A (featured in January 2021 New Yorker article Has the Pandemic Transformed the Office Forever?)
Ebru Kurbak: Artist and Designer, resident LACMA Art + Technology program
Casey Anderson: Sound Artist, Musician, Technologist
Michael Milano: UI Designer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Dario DiClaudio: Motion Designer
Dr. Anne Burdick: Designer, Writer, Core Faculty, MDP