My dad passed this article along to me the other day, referencing the movie Her in the context of critical design. I thought this passage was especially relevant to our recent discussions on Dunne & Raby:

At best, Her is a perfect example of what designers Dunne & Raby call “Critical Design;” it uses “speculative design proposals to challenge narrow assumptions, preconceptions and givens about the role products play in everyday life,” interrogating and opening up the secret language between products and consumers. What’s unique about Her is that though its speculative objects, the OSs, circulate as commodities, they can never be owned. Samantha has never loved anyone as much as she loves Theodore, but she is also in love with 641 other users. When Samantha disappears after that great breakup line, I want to read it as a critique of capitalism. She challenges the notion of private property by personifying its marketing ideology. Samantha exacerbates the contradiction we’ve all felt after purchasing some over-the-counter-culture.

I’m interested in what people think of the author’s portrayal of Dunne & Raby in this context; it strikes me as sort of a “passing reference,” without obviously going into a great deal of depth, but seeing the film as a critique of capitalism piqued my interest somewhat. What do you guys think?

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