Presenter Bios

Jenni is a communications designer from the UK. It was whilst studying architecture at the Bartlett, University College London, that she discovered her passion for exploring architecture through the written word. She developed this interest professionally during her four years working as director of communications for Carlo Ratti Associati in Turin, Italy, where she was also project manager for the masterplan of Ciudad Creativa Digital in Guadalajara, Mexico. Throughout this work, Jenni held fast to the idea of architecture as a multi-disciplinary subject that affects all of us, and should hence be communicated in a way that is accessible to the wider public. More recently she has been consulting internationally on various freelance projects, including copywriting and developing communications strategies for design companies. Jenni is completing a Masters in Design Research, Writing and Criticism at the School of Visual Arts in New York, applying her love of exploration to her research on the role of design in the experience of contemporary travel. She is currently a research and writing fellow at the Van Alen Institute.

Abstract

The experience we have of a place is a combination of what we see, read and hear about it. From social media to virtual reality, today we have even more ways of traveling the world, both physically and imaginatively. As digital technologies become more advanced, the depiction of space becomes more immersive and new forms of narrative emerge. This allows us to experience travel through other people and ultimately become the traveler ourselves. This research examines the images, objects and tools—or “devices”—that allow us to experience travel without the need to move. Through a qualitative analysis of these devices, we can understand how they create a myth of travel and reach a definition of “non-travel,” allowing us to better understand and talk about the contemporary experience of travel. Does non-travel mean it is now possible to take a virtual holiday, and would we want to?

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Non-Travel: the role of design in the experience of contemporary travel

The experience we have of a place is a combination of what we see, read and hear about it. From social media to virtual reality, today we have even more ways of traveling the world, both physically and imaginatively. As digital technologies become more advanced, the depiction of space becomes more immersive and new forms of narrative emerge. This allows us to experience travel through other people and ultimately become the traveler ourselves. This research examines the images, objects and tools—or “devices”—that allow us to experience travel without the need to move. Through a qualitative analysis of these devices, we can understand how they create a myth of travel and reach a definition of “non-travel,” allowing us to better understand and talk about the contemporary experience of travel. Does non-travel mean it is now possible to take a virtual holiday, and would we want to?