by David Benqué
Narrative Forgery: The Scientific Paper Editiion


Narrative Forgery is a design workshop series exploring official documents. These are often overlooked or taken for granted, yet they are keys to the intricate systems that drive our society, enforce its rules and allow it to function. They are also artefacts from our time which reflect our values, politics, technology and culture. From top- secret and high-security to every day life, they are fascinating objects of design, the tips of huge icebergs of bureaucracy, trust and knowledge. This project is a space for designers to explore different manifestations of “officiality” by:
1) Researching and unpacking its visual languages, codes and conventions in existing documents.
2) Repurposing, manipulating and/or subverting these elements to explore new possibilities, proposals and narratives through the design of artefacts.

Narrative Forgery is a space for designers to experiment, speculate and blur the line between reality and fiction. It proposes to re-claim (graphic) design as a narrative tool to explore ideas, make proposals and tell new stories.

Wild Extrapolation (a classification system for science news)
Dean Burnett, The Guardian 10/09/2014

the Scientific Paper Edition

This edition of Narrative Forgery is focused on a very specific item: the scientific paper. Academic papers are the spearhead of the advancement of human knowledge, millions are published each year–all precisely referenced and linked to the previous work they build upon. They are the nodes in our global brain-network and the currency of a worldwide “market” of citations, references and impact factors. As quantifiable units of knowledge they are used to measure an individual’s or an institution’s influence in the scientific community, which is a determining factor in the allocation of new research funding.

Through their language and aesthetics, scientific papers remain inaccessible to most of us however. They are like cryptic member’s cards for the exclusive club of Science. As “lay-people” we very rarely come across them without a translator, ie. a journalist to explain–and sometimes amplify– their discoveries, claims or promises. In this project we will use design as a way to engage with these strange objects, first to try to understand their language and the stories they tell before using these tools ourselves to experiment with new narratives.

27/04 to 07/05 2015

Tutor: David Benqué
Course Leader: Paul Bailey

External Speakers:
Alf Eaton (PeerJ)
Gill Brown

How Much Science is There? by Randall Monroe, reporting by Jocelyn Kaiser and David Malakoff