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Project ICE: Isolated, Confined, Extreme Environments - a design fiction workshop | ISIS Arts
Project ICE: Isolated, Confined, Extreme Environments - a design fiction workshop

Project ICE: Isolated, Confined, Extreme Environments - a design fiction workshop

Call for Workshop Participants


Project ICE: Isolated, Confined, Extreme Environments– a design fiction workshop

with Gabriella Arrigoni, Regina Peldszus & Alex Salam


Saturday 7th September, 12-5pm


Deadline for Expression of Interest: 20th August


ISIS Arts and Culture Lab (Newcastle University) present Project ICE: Isolated, Confined, Extreme Environments – A design fiction workshop facilitated by Regina Peldszus, Alex Salam and Gabriella Arrigoni, which will take place inside The Big M, ISIS Arts’ inflatable mobile exhibition space situated outside The Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne on Saturday 7th September 2013, 12-5pm (time tbc).


'Design Fiction' is an experimental approach that adopts fictional scenarios, alternate realities or authentic speculation to explore emerging technologies and social practices, their potential uses, developments and consequences for the human condition or the individual. Through new prototypes, alternative versions of existing devices or imaginary objects that cater for latent human needs, it interrogates and critiques specific currents in the socio-techno-economic evolution.


Regina Peldszus is a design researcher specialising in living and working conditions in space stations and other extreme environments. Dr Alex Salam is an infectious diseases and extreme environment doctor. Along with Gabriella Arrigoni, a curator and PhD researcher in digital media based at Culture Lab, Newcastle University they will invite participants to experience and respond to a simulated environment inside The Big M.


The workshop is free and is aimed at researchers, students and creative practitioners from different disciplines and backgrounds with an interest in design, future and innovation studies, environmental sciences, medicine, science fiction, art+science, emerging technologies, psychology….



Workshop Description


The goal of the workshop is to discuss and determine design requirements for a high security, rapid deployment, life sciences laboratory for remote polar environments in anticipation of a possible global pandemic.

Participants will convene inside a prototype of the structure (The Big M) and assume the perspectives of representatives of a consortium of corporate and governmental stakeholders who will operate the research facility.

The group will devise conceptual systems, products or services to support a small crew of scientists and technicians to live and work on site long-term without direct outside support or contact. The emphasis of their engagement will be placed on human needs in extreme, isolated settings, and reconciling psychological and ethical issues within the constraints of a remote and extreme environmental context.


Aims of the workshop


- Engage with scientific and technological research around issues of life in extreme physical and psychological conditions.

- Engage withdesign and innovation processes intended as theunderstanding of needs, behaviours, aspirations, and transforming these into practices around a product/service.

- Engage in a form of participation that blurs the boundaries between performance and real-life, and learn how enactment and performance can be an inspirational methodological tool for design.

- Explore team-work dynamics in the framework of a design process: negotiating values, visions, priorities, beliefs.

- Explore both human-machine interaction and social interaction in a fictional scenario.

- Explore how specific emerging technologies and knowledge might have an impact on people's lives.



Workshop Facilitators


Regina Peldszus is a design researcher focusing on human technology interaction in sociotechnical systems in space and other extreme environments. With a background in design strategy and space studies, Regina has worked on human factors projects in the European space sector and contributed to human-in-the-loop simulations in Russia and the US. Her work centers on the design implications of human behaviour and performance issues in crewed and uncrewed exploration missions. Related research interests include how evidence-based and speculative aspects are manifested in models, mock-ups, analogues and simulators. Regina holds a PhD in design research and is a member of the Space Architecture Technical Committee of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics.


Dr Alex Salam is an infectious diseases and extreme environment doctor. He graduated in medicine in 2003, and following training in a number of clinical specialities, he left the comforts of civilisation in 2008 and took on the role of the European Space Agency Human Spaceflight Medicine Research MD at Concordia station on the high Antarctic plateau, the coldest most remote research base on the planet. There, he spent 13 months researching the effects of extreme isolation and confinement on the human immune system, sleep and behaviour, as relevant to long duration deep space missions. Despite temperatures below -80C, unrelenting darkness, and only 11 other lonely souls, he left with all of his digits and most of his mind intact. Since returning he has been working with NASA's Behavioural Health and Performance Element, NASA's Habitable Volume Community of Practice, and the European Astronaut Centre, focusing on behavioural issues related to living in isolation. His search for extreme experiences has taken him deep into the jungle, high into the mountains and most recently microgravity in a free falling jumbo jet. He has been a guest lecturer at the International Space University and is a visiting tutor at Central Saint Martin's College of Arts and Design, and as worked with artists and designers including Tomas Saraceno, Nelly Ben Hayoun and Louise Wilson. Dr Salam is currently taking a sabbatical from his clinical practice in London, and studying for a masters in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford, where he is researching the effects of acute stress on behaviour.'


Gabriella Arrigoniis a PhD candidate in digital media art curating. Her research interests lie at the intersection of art and science, collaborative practices, urban and performance studies. Former editor in chief ofundo.net, the first Italian online platform for contemporary art, she has curated a number of exhibitions and talksin not-for profit spaces. She has published articles and essay on contemporary art magazines across Europe, with a special focus on public art and the relationship between art and the socio-economical context. She has presented her research at international conferences such as ISEA and xCoAx. Recently she is been involved in the curatorial team of Connecting Cities, a European Network of urban media facades. Her research topic focuses on the idea of Living Laboratory conceived as an experimental curatorial strategy where practitioners work in a public setting to enhance the audience understanding of the artistic, technological and scientific dimensions of the work.



How to Apply


The workshop will take place in The Big M – ISIS Arts’ inflatable mobile exhibition venue, situated outside The Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH on Saturday 7th September 2013 (12-5pm time tbc). Please ensure you are available on this date before submitting an expression of interest.


If you want to take part in the workshop please send the following to Gabriella Arrigoni viagabriella.arrigoni@newcastle.ac.ukby the Tuesday 20th August:


- Expression of Interest

Outlining your interest in the workshop and any relevant experience (around 100 words)

- CV and /or Additional Supporting Information

eg. Website link, research papers, portfolio, images


Participants may wish to bring tools or materials they usually employ in their practice.

All applicants will be notified of the decision by 30th August.


Please email Gabriella Arrigonigabriella.arrigoni@newcastle.ac.ukif you have any questions about the workshop or application process. We look forward to receiving your submissions.



Background on the Project


This workshop forms part of a wider programme of activity taking place in The Big M across the North East of England in 2013. The Big M is touring to 6 locations between May – September 2013 to showcase On the Precipice - an immersive moving image art installation programme curated by Kelly Richardson exploring contemporary landscape and humans’ effect on it.


The tour also includes a series of workshops for young people (aged 13-20), artist talks, digital media workshops for creative practitioners and researchers and a smartphone app.


Project ICE: Isolated, Confined, Extreme Environments will be the second collaborative workshop between ISIS Arts & Culture Lab to take place inside The Big M. Visualising the Future: Crafting Visualisations of the World to Come workshop took place on 23.05.13 at The Toffee Factory, Newcastle upon Tyne.


The Big M tour is supported by the Arts Council’s Strategic Touring Programme and Culture lab, Newcastle University.


Culture Lab is the focal point for research in human-computer interaction and digital creative practice at Newcastle University and its members engage in experimental and cross-disciplinary projects in interaction design and creative digital arts in a technologically rich and custom designed environment.Culture Lab is home to Newcastle University’s Digital Interaction and Digital Media research groups.


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