Reconsidering Prototype. The Continuous Prototype as a research method for reading and developing public space

In her artistic research Denise Ziegler creates a prototype of future from a present situation.


The research project tests what future situation a given situation found in our present surroundings could be a prototype of. Prototype thinking uses the imagination to reverse the timeline: an existing situation provides clues for deducing a possible future situation for which it could be the starting point or prototype. In this experimental setup, the artwork reveals the prototypical potential of what already exists.    

Launched by the imagination, the continuous prototype can reveal what public urban space actually consists of and how we experience it. The hypothesis is that every user of public space has valid experiential knowledge of his or her surroundings. 

The concept of the continuous prototype was developed in dialogue with colleagues. An independent artist group consisting of Ziegler, Petri Kaverma, Tero Heikkinen has considered questions shared by fine art and design, especially questions concerning the origin of both artworks and products of design. The results of these ongoing discussions include a co-written article (in Finnish) for the journal Tiede & Edistys (4/2017).

In the work Ziegler also implements the discussions on a material level including aspects of space and time. In this way she seeks to analyse the present state of urban space and to influence and contribute to new interpretations about it. In the process she suggests among other things a re-evaluation of the meaning and status given to public artworks.