Current project : The Lightstream Chronicles

The Lightstream Chronicles is a graphic novel published online. Like a television series, the story is divided up into seasons, and the pages serve as episodes. When a new season begins, episodes are posted weekly. Its similarity with television stops there as it is very much a graphic novel in format and design. On the surface, it is a cyberpunk crime thriller set in Hong Kong 2, in the year 2159, but it is unconventional in many respects. It is also an exploration in design fiction. All the imagery is built and produced using 3-dimensional computer graphics (CG). Unlike the average webcomic, this is rendered in high-definition with painstaking detail, so that allows readers to zoom in multiple times, explore significant detail, possible clues, and to linger and contemplate this future society.

What is design fiction?

Design fiction is an area of design research emerging only a decade ago. Already the field has splintered into numerous expressions of the concept. For my study, I define it as the combination of science fiction storytelling, critical design (design criticism), conventional design (making and thinking) and foresight studies (the study of possible futures). Merging these concepts together into practice is known as design fiction, and the resulting stories, create compelling speculations of near and distant futures made more believable, and therefore more provocative, through realistic prototypes. These are known as diegetic prototypes.

The resulting scenarios can bring cultural legibility to representations of the future and thereby provoke discussion and debate, challenge conventional thinking, and encourage individual foresight and participation into the implications of today's decision-making.

The practice of design fiction becomes a promising method for designers to become thought leaders, practitioners, and facilitators in envisioning the future. There are applications to design education that can better equip students to combine design and narrative and think critically about the impact of design on culture. As a research technique, it has application to the fields of foresight and future studies as a means to stimulate thinking, generate debate, and encourage individual participation in shaping the rapid onset of our techno-social future.


“Design Fiction: A Countermeasure For Technology Surprise.” Presented at ADB Cumulus 16 “In This Place, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK. (April 2016) ISBN 978-0-9928878-1-0. www.cumulusnottingham2016.org

“Design Fiction: Experiments in Error.“ Presented at ADB Cumulus 16 “Open Design for Everything”, Hong Kong Design Institute, Hong Kong. (November 2016). ISBN forthcoming. http://cumulus.hkdihongkong2016.org.

“Timed-release Design Fiction: A Digital Online Methodology to Provoke Reflection on our Socio-technological Future.” Presented at The Borders of Digital Art. The Digital Arts Project: 2nd Global Meeting, Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom. (Sep 2015) Published. ISBN: 978-1-84888-427-4