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This review positions Lauren Williams’ installation ‘Making Room for Abolition’, shown in ‘Monolith’ at Red Bull Arts in Detroit, as a speculative design project that presents a two-fold critique: one directed at US society and the other, at speculative design itself. As a discourse and practice, speculative design offers a model for designing in socially-oriented, post-capitalist contexts, but it has yet to fully unmoor itself from colonialist ideology. I present common critiques of speculative design—specifically: the lack of attention to race- and class-based struggles, the assumption that time is absolute, and its stance that preferable futures must be plausible—to show how Williams addresses these shortcomings while centering Black experiences and imagination in a dream of abolitionist futures.
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