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This article explores the role of epistemic objects in speculative design, proposing an overview that goes from the origins of this practice in the ‘90s to its consolidation as a research method, through the emergence of design fiction in the last decade. In considering different critical accounts and the limits to this practice pointed out in recent years, it seeks to rescue and analyze the role of diegetic prototypes as research sites. This paper will argue that prototypes are a possible embodiment of what Rheinberger calls ‘epistemic objects’ or ‘epistemic things’. Conceived as such, these prototypes allow us for generation of knowledge by designing and to revisit the experimental character of a method that leads us to explore and materialize what we presently do not know.
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