Abstract

A Gedankenexperiment ( german for thought experiment ) describes a hypothetical setup or situation that is theoretically mapped out in order to think about consequences and outcomes.

Although a traditional Gedankenexperiment is by its nature a fully virtual endeavor it can be a very powerful device to instigate thinking, provoke change, criticise assumptions, deliver a cautionary tale, optimistically propose better alternatives, illustrate implications of the relationship between technology, science, and humans, or simply entertain. But what if we were to combine these dissecting, analytical and narrative qualities of the Gedankenexperiment with the transformative and translational tools and methods of design?

In this class we want to appreciate the strategies of the Gedankenexperiment. We will first look at existing Gedankenexperimente ( e.g Braitenberg-Vehicles, Flatland, Maxwell’s Demon, Schrödinger’s Cat ) and then move on to expand the framework in order to develop our own Gedankenexperimente as concepts but also as narrations materialized in a multitude of different formats and media