There is a story in the future. Digital graphic novel is also designed to make us think.

Page 44

The charming conversation between Kristin Broulliard and Toei-N is just one of the reasons I really like this page. The two of them framed from the back-view with the scope of the big board is another cool visual that I ended up being pleased with. Aside from all this, however there is an interesting design fiction that emerges. As I have written about extensively, the surveillance state technology, the floating balcony, and the natural conversation with a synthetic human being all qualify as diegetic prototypes. The term diegetic prototypes (Kirby 2010) refers to the diegesis, the fictional world within which, “..technologies exist as ‘real’ objects… that function properly and which people actually use.” This project, quite obviously stops short of material fabrication,and leans heavily on the realism that can be conveyed through CG. In their digital forms, artifacts have dimension and virtual physicality. There is a deliberate goal of examining how they can go unnoticed. As with may present-day artifacts like smart phones and laptops, these blend into the scheme of everyday. They are ubiquitous in the culture, yet they serve to influence social interaction and individual behavior. Therein lies the design fiction.

The touch of nanoprene.
The touch of nanoprene.

I created Toei to be an immensely likable “person,” that anyone might enjoy conversing with, but it nevertheless begs the question that we would not be having this conversation with a human being. Does that bother us? Should it?

And these questions also emerge:

Will we forever into the future simply acquiesce to the latest technology, even if it erases any sense of privacy, or human intimacy?

Have we already begun this process through our social networking, texting, and second lives?


In addition to creating an interesting story, it is my goal to make us think as well. Maybe this will get it started.

Comments welcome.

Kirby, David. “The Future Is Now.” Social Studies of Science 40.1 (2010): 41-70. Sage Journals. Web. 20 May 2012. <>.

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