What if we could use future forecasting tools to understand how icons of the past could positively affect the cultural landscape?

This publication emerged from an idea based on ‘David Bowie is’ held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013. The exhibition focused not only on Bowie’s creative output but his collaborations and methods of production across his artistic endeavours.

The two year anniversary of the artist’s death in 2018 brought to the surface once again Bowie’s legacy as a music, fashion and cultural icon and led to the production of ‘Bowie in us’, a series of speculative narratives which capture the artist’s future collaborations and projects.

The content of the book was generated on the model of co creation. We looked at using design tools and trend forecasting tools to come up with ideas for the content for a workshop - in order to overcome the hurdle of the publication being a mere biography or collection of essays .

“Oblique Strategies'“ and “Back casting tool” were the main design and visual aids which were used for the workshop after an introductory session on David Bowie. It was organised in the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington London, and invited designers, artists and curators to come and contribute their creative ideas in a participatory session.

From the beginning of the project we all agreed that we wanted our publication to be visually striking; primary colours, bold type and engaging imagery. As part of our desk research we sourced inspiration from independent zines known for their expressive visuals. For instance: Dirty Furniture, Disegno, and Dazed and Confused. We created a Pinterest board to ‘pin’ and archive editorial and visual inspiration that we could later incorporate into our publication’s design.

Final spreads from the book, from the section ‘Speculative Narratives’, which were short write ups about what Bowie’s point of view could have been, about issues and changes in society that his work and persona would have resisted and given a voice to - LGBTQ and women’s rights, his possible contribution to music and the arts in the changing landscape of sustainability and new media including holograms and VR. The titles of the pieces were his songs that resonated with the content.

The entire magazine was printed and put together in London College of Communication, in the Digital as well as Print studios. We used different methods of production like risograph printing and foiling along with digital printing. You can view the entire publication here.

The ‘In Us Series’ takes our initial idea of forming speculative narratives beyond Bowie into working with other artists who have left behind a cultural and musical legacy such as Amy Winehouse and Prince. This website envisions how it might appear if were to move our project to the next phase of delivery and form the basis for new collaborative models of engagement, co-commissioning and co-creation.

This project was done in collaboration with Leanne Manfredi, Aljoud M Hanno, Point Ravirujiphun, Emillie Hames and Ashlyn Chak, a collaboration between students of MA Design Management and Cultures and MA Publishing in London College of Communication.


Photos and Videos by Patcharaporn Point Ravirujiphan

© 2018 Pallavi Datta