Her VS Divergent


The concept of Love is incredibly complex. As previously discussed, it entails a magnitude of ideas and possibilities. The futuring of love, therefore, is all that and more.

Million dollar productions attempt to give society an insight into future worlds as a means of entertainment and expression of creativity. In doing so, however, the status of worldly issues such as politics, government, technology and the environment may be exaggerated into a body which ultimately acts as a catalyst for global deterioration.

This can be seen in the 2013 production ‘Her’ by director Spike Jonz . This film reveals a world in which society has become increasingly dependent on technology, ultimately resulting in their own detriment. The protagonist ‘Theodore’ attempts to replace real life interactions with a technological aid in order to fill the void of a past relationship. The film seamlessly inserts the futuristic concept of an ‘operating system’ into society as we know it in order to further convey this world as a probable future. As with other futuristic films, this allows the audience to imagine a world other than their own in order to forecast the extreme effects of issues they are currently experiencing.

The idea of ‘Critical design’ discussed by Dunne & Raby in ‘Speculate Everything’ begins to uncover the means of productions such as ‘Her’ to “speculate about possible futures as a catalyst for change” (Dunne, A. and Raby, F. 2013) within socio-economic bodies. This is due to the understanding of design as having the ability to offer an alternative –  “an intellectual journey based on challenging values, ideas and beliefs” (Dunne, A. and Raby, F. 2013)

In addition to this, the 2014 – 2016 ‘Divergent’ series written by Veronica Roth explores an alternative world in which society is divided in accordance to their strengths. The film depicts the idea of love and sacrifice as a result of a revolt against the system. It demonstrates the power of love and the extremes undertaken by individuals in it’s pursuit. Furthermore, this dystopian society can be seen as a warning to humanity, urging them to live sustainably and within jurisdiction, in order to avoid the horrors they are presenting. This piece of critical design also offers technological extremities as a note of irony, hinting at the developments possible if only they were required. Futuristic weapons and gadgets with the ability to control armies of people make a feature, almost warning viewers of a life they couldn’t possibly enjoy.

As discussed by Dunne and Raby,’ this may be seen as Dark Design. Whereby, denial of the fact that such technological advances are unattainable leads to the overall detriment of society. This “positive use of negativity” (Dunne, A. and Raby, F. 2013) therefore foreshadows a dystopian environment as a method of propaganda to warn society of a probable, yet, undesirable future.

Furthermore, in critical design it is noted that, “irony can all too often be interpreted as cynicism – especially in a discipline in which people expect solutions.” This is also true of such films which treat environmental degradation as a way of forcing society to change their ecologically unsustainable ways of life.



Dunne, A. and Raby, F. 2013, Speculative everything : design, fiction, and social dreaming, MIT Press, Cambridge.


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