The experimental short film, created in collaboration between the two designers Lisa-Marleen Mantel and Laura Wagner, emphasizes the mediating role speculative design has in the face of disruptive technological advancements, as it allows for the exploration and simulation of ethical issues. The short film is centered around an AI main character who uses the human body as a sensing device to gain a physical understanding of their surroundings. Influenced by posthuman thinkers, the work aims to provoke a discussion about Cartesian notions of disembodied intelligence.

The main part of the film was produced with a novel machine-learning-backed process called “CLIP guided diffusion”. This method enables image synthesis based on language prompts. Prompts are carefully refined in a human-machine communication loop. In a way, the practical processes involved in producing the film reflect the speculative idea of an ongoing dialogue found in the narrative. The work resulted in a modular design pipeline for controlled image synthesis using AI tools as a design appropriation to communicate speculative concepts. It was created as part of the Master Research at KISD – Cologne International School of Design (Faculty of TH Köln).

Lisa-Marleen Mantel (she/her) studied Media Design at DHBW Ravensburg before completing her master’s degree in Integrated Design at KISD. Since 2016 she has been working as an art director and multidisciplinary designer at the digital agency Demodern in the field of interactive installations. In a current teaching assignment at KISD, she is working on the future curating role of designers in collaboration with artificial intelligence.

Laura Wagner (she/her) studied Communication Design at Aachen University of Applied Sciences before completing her master’s degree in Integrated Design at KISD. Since the beginning of this year, she has been working as a research associate and interdisciplinary designer at KISD. She is exploring ways to integrate AI into design education by means of the designerly appropriation of technology. Her research is directed at new modalities of human-machine interaction through AI technology.