Proof of Concept is an ongoing series of guerilla performances staged in the various halls, conference rooms, labs, and lobbies belonging to that nebulous phenomenon called design thinking. Each entry enacts a willful misinterpretation of an operation fundamental to the design thinking process to intensify its rhetoric to a breaking point, and push it beyond recognition or usefulness. In treating each methodological operation as a performance in and of itself, the project suspends attention to outcomes or goals so as to consider the expenditure of sweat, muscle control, stress, money, and attention that underlies the affirmational aura of the design thinking industry.

In particular, the project finds residence in the spaces and tools of institutions that advance a solutionist definition of design as a neutral service, in part through the erasure of the subject managing these actions, the design thinker, along with their position, privileges, and context. The maintenance of a projected purity disavows the value of other ways of knowing and acting, in exchange for proprietary methods. Turning the act of design upon the ‘designing’ body itself—and the spaces it occupies—Proof of Concept assembles a series of epistemic actions against meaning-making in the interest of capital.

The project is conceived and performed by Stratton Coffman and Isadora Dannin, co-conspirators based in Cambridge, MA.

Thank you to the Transmedia Storytelling Initiative and NuVu for providing pivotal financial support over various phases of this project.

We could not have pulled this off without the indispensable and legendary know-how of Jim Harrington.

All voiceover acting is performed by the inimitable Chelsie Green—thank you for lending your voice.

Thank you as well to the design-agnostic insights of Caroline Jones, Azra Akšamija, and Ana Miljački.

Our technical idiocy was and continues to be offset by the wizardry of John Steiner, Sean Mcdevitt, and Graham Yeager—thank you all.