A Conversation with Karl Marx

It’s common knowledge that most historical philosophers’ theories are hard to understand and conceptualize. Karl Marx’s theories are no exception. Though his philosophies on society, economics, and morals inspired the foundation of communist regimes in the 20th century, they were often misunderstood and interpreted in various ways over time. One idea that is especially difficult to understand is his theory of Historical Materialism, which is centered around the idea that societies rise and fall as they eventually lead to one final social state. 

Over the years, people have tried to write Marx’s theory of history in ways that most can understand. For instance, they have developed diagrams, philosophy apps, and written in common journals. However, these mediums are often still hard to grasp. This project was designed to show an alternative way to understand complex philosophical theories in the way in which they were commonly developed and debated, through conversation. 

A Conversation with Karl Marx is a text message conversation between the user (anyone) and Karl Marx. It’s designed as an easy and playful way to understand Marx’s theory of Historical Materialism by having an interactive conversation with him. The design rests on a script that can be directed toward several conversational paths depending on how people answer some of Marx’s questions. This becomes a fun and engaging way to understand philosophy. 

In order to develop the initial concept of A Conversation with Karl Marx, several techniques and tools were used. First, several wireframe applications were built to test new visuals to help explain Marx’s theories. Through user testing, it became apparent that a text message conversation was a simpler way to design an educational experience. After playing around with different chat bots to design the experience, it was clear that designing the graphical user interface from scratch using Origami and Figma allowed for the most flexibility.