Ritual Design for Enchanting Transitions

A few years ago, Kursat and I wrote a position paper for a symposium at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Design, all about ritual design.

You can read it in full here.

We propose that rituals can have a strong role to play in making transitions supported and continuous.

How do people respond to the transitions that come along in the long run? Looking at the phenomena, one can observe that people have already established ways of transitioning. People in the known history have been using rituals to transition to their preferred futures. When they are born, when they enter a new season, when they get married, have a new child, and when they die.

Rituals provide a safe space for the transitioning person or group to practice their upcoming new life. Rituals provide a comfortable space where people can express their values, beliefs, emotions. Rituals orient and give direction to people with values before they dive into the wickedness of daily lives.

Our proposal is that rituals can provide lenses and methods for design disciplines to pursue preferred futures at individual and societal levels.
How might we infuse rituals into our current products to give them second lives? How might we design tools that think and enact like a wise shaman, thinking of the past, present, and future? What if our design tools help us in designing for transitions?
We put forward a series of provocations among how designers can use rituals to bring a focus on cradle-to-cradle visions of product life-cycles. What if we created things not for obsolescence, but with rituals and transitions to bring them to an environmentally-friendly conclusion? How can we create rituals not just for a person’s new relationship with a product — with beautiful packaging and unwrapping, but also for the slow
Read it all here.
Ritual Co-Design and Transitions
The Value of High-Intensity, Extreme Rituals

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