Extrapolation Factory

Alternative Unknowns Method, 2016

The Alternative Unknowns method, tested at the "Infrastructure Space" LafargeHolcim Forum, offers a way to set up live-action simulators to serve as design prototyping tools, allowing designers to investigate, experiment, propose, and test within these system-level challenges. The method draws upon the scenario simulations devised by emergency management groups, the military and the police for training and evaluation within system-oriented contexts. The Alternative Unknowns method requires a series of constants: a group of simulation enactors, a constructed simulation environment, a simulation script, a set of curated props, and a group of designed artifacts or experiences which may alter the outcome of the simulation, depending on how they’re incorporated into the simulation once it begins. Multiple improvisational simulations are conducted, (a minimum of four) each starting with the same script, but revealing different unknown outcomes based on the incorporation of the designed artifacts.