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  3. Tensing the Present — an Annotated Anthology of Design Techniques to Inquire into Public Issues

Tensing the Present — an Annotated Anthology of Design Techniques to Inquire into Public Issues

Donato Ricci

The essay tries to unfold the specificities of some design approaches developed at the SciencesPo médialab. Instead of proposing a generalizable set of methods, this experiential account is a tentative systematization of some techniques that have been tested in the lab. Describing them is like annotating an anthology of thoughts and experiments that revolve around the questions of the ‘public’ and its ‘issues’. The techniques are aimed at exploring the social, technical and political issues, collecting their traces, their descriptions and their partial stories, bringing them into a space where they can be questioned. The different techniques are aligned into two epistemic movements, complementing, supporting and expanding the digital methods traditionally used in the lab. The first movement tries to produce a localized representation of the issue. The second one invites the public to get as close as possible to it.