Spomenik (“monument”) was a digital memorial architecture that transposes in time otherwise hidden cultural memories of atrocity. Spomenik, was designed as a simple digital audio guide, embedded in a remote rural location (Kočevski Rog, Slovenia) to work without the infrastructure normally present at national memorial sites. By resurrecting voices and cultural narratives of the deceased and placing them back into the landscape through digital means, Spomenik opens a dialogue about the events of the past and their relation to networks of the living; it explored the role of voice and agency, as serviced through design, in the act of memorialization. This article presents a detailed case study of a design-led inquiry about digital memorialization and digital preservation of cultural heritage. It offers a reflective account of the nature of legacy and the extent to which it is (and perhaps should be) necessarily bound to networks of collective memory, mediated through designed cultural tools.
An often unacknowledged yet foundational problem for design is how ‘futures‘ are recruited for design practice. This problem saturates considerations of what could or should be designed. We distinguish two intertwined approaches to this: ‘pragmatic projection’, which tries to tie the future to the past, and ‘grand vision’, which ties the present to the future. We examine ubiquitous computing as a case study of how pragmatic projection and grand vision are practically expressed to direct and structure design decisions. We assess their implications and conclude by arguing that the social legitimacy of design futures should be increasingly integral to their construction.