SciFly // 150 // Remote Speculations Week 47/48

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 2/8

Hey SciFly Readers!

This week I'm writing to you as (more) snow falls outside, and I look forward to digging out my car before it ices over in sub-zero temperatures for the rest of the week! (yay winter!) But even if it's cold, it's still bright and clear and beautiful outside for the 5minutes the snow is still white and untrampled in Brooklyn, and I get a kick out of the change in scenery when not much else is changing.

This week I quickly want to tell you about a new creative idea/practice I'm going to try out to 'unstick' myself when I have 'bored' moments. Then I'll share a really awesome series of events happening at Eyebeam this week.

Getting UnStuck: Discovery Dice <D6> 🎲

Like many of you, I've been stuck at home for almost the last year, and have gone through several ups and downs, changes in outlook, optimism, pessimism, bread making, lo-fi music listening, video gaming, and even the 'self-improvement kick' of either exercising or doing mindfulness stuff or talking about how much I'll learn on lockdown.

But the reality is, throughout it all, I've gotten 'stuck' several times.

I think of stuck as the same feeling you get when scrolling endlessly through Netflix to find something to watch, then, overwhelmed by indecisiveness, you end up just turning off the TV, making a snack, looking at your phone, etc. It's the inability to decide what to do when presented with overwhelming choices of both passive media, active 'things I should be working on', and a smartphone full of endless joy-scrolls and doom-scrolls alike.

I have kept telling myself over and over that I'll somehow get all the things I want to do organized, but aside from porting my Evernote to Notion and starting to re-organize it, the application has been sort of asymmetrical across various areas of my life and things I'm interested in. Or I've made progress in fits and starts.

So, I decided to channel the strategy I used to deal with a hard but super valuable project we had to do in grad school, the 5x5, to help me out.

Some background... My first assignment for our Major Studio (kind of like our main project class) at Parsons Design + Technology was to do a 5-in-5 (or maybe a 5-by-5?), meaning that you had to complete 5 art/creative projects in 5 days. The point of the activity (in my mind) is that you are producing and finding ways to boost creativity. There were no hard and fast rules for how you had to do this, but our professor suggested finding a way to give yourself regular creative prompts to get started. The worse you were at being creative-on-demand, the more defined prompts you should give yourself.

I took this advice to heart and came up with a super strict system involving rolling a D6 die to pick a method for the day: Build, Code, Draw (etc., etc.) and used the first song on my iPod as the theme of the work. While some of my pieces were really weird (think a hand-made wooden sculpture of a bass with a butt for 'build Super Bass') I really really enjoyed the feeling of responding to my own prompts and constraints.

So, I've decided to pull the dice back out and try to set-up a new rule-set for working across different 'creative' areas of my life, or passion projects I've been meaning to get around to. While I'm not going to do a 5x5 (don't have the time for it with other stuff) my goal is to do a 5x7, that is to roll the dice 5 times in 7 days (I get two off days) and spend at least 1 hour on the category I have rolled each session.

Not everything is 100% fleshed out yet, but so far here is what I have. I would love to get any feedback or ideas on how I might go about some of the frameworks and methods I want to try to develop! Also if you are interested in collaborating for <3> Experience, I think it could be a cool group project/database!

Doc's Creativity Hack (Discovery Dice)


  • Do 5 sessions per week. Use a D6 die to choose the category you will be working within each session.
  • Spend at least one hour doing whatever your next step is on the designated roll (ahead of time, write clear next steps for each area, the goal is not to think, just start doing for each roll)
  • 1 Day Spillover: If you were 'on a roll' 😂 in a particular area and want to keep going, you can spend the next session continuing in that roll area. But you can only do this 1x/week in order to ensure a good spread.
  • If you get the same number the day before, you can re-roll if desired.

D6 Categories:

📺  Pay Attention [D1]

The theme of this section is scanning/perceiving what is going on in the world around you. It's about paying attention deeply and in different ways. Focus on emerging signals, the 'huh' and the '?!' you pull out of what you are perceiving.

Ideas to get Started
  • Read a nonfiction book or paper.
  • Watch a documentary.
  • Listen to a podcast.
  • Scan through your Feedly 'Signals' and 'Speculative' channels for articles.
  • Signals database to capture and eventually connect things you are finding.
  • Write a summary of what you read, and interesting ideas to pursue.
  • Make an actual taxonomy/logic for organizing and tagging so you can more easily find things!

✏️  Write [D2]

The theme of this section is that you are writing something somewhere. This could be doing new creative writing, writing an article, a blog post, etc. Potentially could also use this to flesh out ideas/provocations identified in other sections. But writing is the key. You must be writing.

Ideas to Get Started
  • Look through "Ideas & Musings" and see if anything is post-worthy.
  • Start writing a sci-fi novel. Write character personas, do world-building writing tasks around the setting, etc.
  • Pick a list of topics you want to write articles/blog posts about. Try to move through that list.
  • Flesh out ideas about speculative practices, e.g. reverse-speculation from science fiction into an article or more formal publication.
  • Create a writing section in Notion and save your drafts there, or use GDrive and link.
  • Each session, you should make headway in one of your writing projects. Make sure to summarize where you left off. Try to move through all projects vs. skipping around too much, or bucket by creative/non-creative writing.

🎮  Experience [D3]

The theme of this section is experiencing other people's vision of the future and using 'reverse-speculation' to interrogate how/why signals, trends, and patterns from today inform them. Experiencing can mean a few things, but it differs from passive media consumption in that it requires more active participation (highlighting, note-taking, screen-shots, etc.). Some examples could be: reading a science fiction novel and highlighting interesting artifacts (2D, 3D, 4D), scenarios, tropes & quotes, playing a future-oriented video game and taking videos/screenshots of future artifacts, conversations, documents, in-game media, etc. "Go to the future and bring something back. Analyze why/how it got there, and what it means for today"

Ideas to Get Started
  • Games
    • Cyberpunk2077
    • Deus Ex games
  • Books
    • Source from your "To Read" and generate a short list of science fiction at different time scales you want to read
  • Movies
    • Source from "To Watch" and generate a short list of science fiction movies/TV shows
  • "Journeys" to the future - come up with a format for short take-aways, method that allows you to take the artifact or scenario you brought back and analyze, situate it.
    • Maybe publish these Journeys to the Future on social media or in speculative futures slack to stay accountable...?
  • "Future Summaries" (better name???) - come up with a larger format/framework that combines short takeaways into a more nuanced interrogation

🌏  Build [D4]

The theme of this section is to get more proficient at building worlds across different platforms and mediums. Learn how to create more immersive, interactive, explorable worlds so that future projects can be transformed into more interactive elements.

This doesn't have to be high tech, this could also be an opportunity for leveraging existing world-building tools in new ways, e.g. creating a tabletop game, RPG type of situation for exploring scenarios.

The key here is increasing your ability to tell stories in new ways. It can be across a mix of platforms and technologies, but the goal is to focus on feeling more empowered to create the visions you see in your head.

Ideas to Get Started 
  • Unity
  • SketchUp
  • Google Dreams
  • Decentraland
  • TinkerCad
  • PlayStation Dreams
  • Futures RPG game / rule-set (modify D&D5e for another background)
  • Pick one program to start and find a beginner tutorial to complete. Assess at the end of the tutorial if you'd like to do advanced work or learning.
  • Using the program selected, build and publish 1 scene in an explorable world
  • If you need help getting creative on what to build, use the FxD framework to push yourself through the world-building and prototyping stage


💻  Tinker/Hack [D5]

The theme of this section is learning and playing with new technologies. It includes hacking, tinkering, organizing components that you already have, as well as researching and planning new purchases or systems you are interested in trying out or making, but perhaps want to piece out for financial reasons.

Another important part of this section is getting digitally organized. Theoretically, all work done under organizing Notion would fall in this section, as it is a technology that you are optimizing.

Ideas to Get Started
  • Work on Tech Wishlist
    • VR Headset
    • 3D Printing
    • Gaming PC or EGPU
  • Go through components, boards, wires, units you already have and think of projects to do with them or better organize and decide what to keep
  • Continue cleaning up Notion & organizing your many notes/papers/musing across platforms 
  • Clean up the bookmarks on your browsers
  • Password Security
  • Learn about/play with your crypto wallets/integrations/accounts/collectible
  • Migrate to Brave
  • Outline three areas you want to work on in this section: Tech wish List, Organizing Hardware, Cleaning up Digital Tools etc.
  • Decide which category to do first and identify what needs to be done.
  • Start doing it!


🧩  Participate [D6]

The theme of this section is working on passion-projects that build your public portfolio/footprint/image as a speculative practitioner. This is inclusive of working on projects within the Speculative Futures community.

Ideas to Get Started
  • Work on an old presentation/lecture and get it ready to re-present or video. Then put it out there!
  • Work on personal website/portfolio.
  • Work on Speculative Futures Community building projects
    • Fixing up the slack channel naming conventions
    • Speculative Futures Notion Wiki
    • Work on SciFly template/branding/colors etc.
  • Published presentations/lectures - either as a video or by creating a workshop/online event
  • Updated website (either adding projects or entire look/feel overhaul)
  • Tangible work done on SF Community Passion Projects
    • Maybe make a record of things to work on here and keep a work log

So...this is an evolving framework. I will probably give this a try starting this week, so I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Now, let's switch gears and talk about an awesome series of events coming up from Eyebeam in NYC!!!

Image result for eyebeam from the rupture

Eyebeam's From the Rupture: Ideas & Actions for the Future

Eyebeam presents a 4-day, multi-venue arts & ideas festival that is free and open to all, featuring today's most radical artists and thinkers.

February 17 - 20th
2pm - 4pm EST: Presentations & Conversations
4:30pm - 6pm EST: Project Launches

  • Wednesday, February 17 - Platforms for the People: Centering co-creation, consent, and mental health in new technology.
  • Thursday, February 18 - Planetary Exchange Networks Decentralized knowledge and natural intelligence
  • Friday, February 19 - Digital Intimacies Reimagining performance and modes of connection
  • Saturday, February 20 - State Sanctioned Surveillance and Creative Opposition Community organizing in digital space

As life has become inextricably enmeshed with technology, the need for a radically reinvented, more equitable and accessible digital realm outside of the grips of surveillance capitalism has become an even more urgent one. As the world locked down in the spring of 2020, Eyebeam challenged artists to imagine, and then begin to build, a better digital future for all. From the Rupture will launch the responses and inventions of eight of the artists who rose to the call and offer inspiring possibilities for new relationships with technology.

In her recent essay, The Pandemic is a Portal, writer Arundhati Roy describes the coronavirus as having “made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could.” This global standstill created what she refers to as a “rupture” in time and understanding — a break in continuum between the certainties of the past and an uncertain future. The rupture creates a collective pause, and challenges us to examine and reevaluate our dependencies, bringing to the fore the vulnerabilities and inequities implicit within society. And as we look toward, and push back against, a prescriptive notion of the “new normal,” we have the opportunity to envision entirely new possibilities for humanity. We must rally around reinvention that provides real alternatives to systems in power whose failures and inequalities have only been magnified by crisis. As Roy urges: “pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.”

In 1918, nearly 100 years before the now ubiquitous “Zoom room,” in the midst of the H1N1 pandemic, William Eccles and FW Jordan, both English physicists, collaborated on a new invention to combat the shortcomings of telephone communications. Which, at the time, was reliant on live human operators manually controlling switchboards that became quickly overwhelmed by sheer volume and short-staffing due to rising illness. Their invention, later known as the flip-flop circuit, later became the building blocks for any technology that allows for electronic information to be stored and remembered, including what we now know as RAM (Random Access Memory), without which computers as we know them would not exist. This is just one instance of breakthrough to emerge from another historical moment of global rupture, but it is an inspiring example of an innovation directed at a distinct problem, that lead to a far-reaching almost unquantifiable impact worldwide.

From the Rupture presents eight new projects from Eyebeam’s Rapid Response cohort that have been produced in this extraordinary moment of global upheaval that give us a hopeful glimpse into what our digital future could look like with artists at the helm. The program will convene a field of radical practitioners working across disciplines spanning public policy, journalism, healthcare, and more, albeit with shared challenges and goals, in an effort to generate a multidimensional discussion around the ideas presented, and demonstrate their potential for broader impact. As these artist-led initiatives are released to the public, it is our hope that they serve as a call to action for a new kind of civic engagement with the digital realm, one that puts power into the hands of the people in the creation of new technologies built with planetary justice in mind.
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As always, I hope you are all doing well, wherever you are!

Don't forget you can find me on the Speculative Futures Slack (which I pseudo-moderate) if you want to chat! @DocMartens

Stay safe in your speculations, and catch you next week!


"The future is here, now let's distribute it." 

Doc Martens

SciFly is a design studio dedicated to leveraging speculative design and science fiction to imagine and prototype alternative futures enabled by today's emerging technology.

Online Events 🗓

Running list of online events that I will update biweekly. Events are organized chronologically by week, with ongoing events and Speculative Futures events listed separately at the end.

WEEK 1 - Tuesday, February 9th - Monday, February 15th

Tuesday, February 9

Sense Making Conversations: Predictions for 2021 with Nikolas Badminton // 12pm - 1pm EST // Free
Join Andrea Sampson live in conversation with Futurist Nikolas Badminton as they talk about the trends that they are expecting to see over the coming 18 months. You can agree, disagree, or speak up and challenge Andrea and Nikolas as they discuss what they see from their unique vantage points.
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Brandon Clifford at CCA // 3pm- 4:30pm EST // Free
Lecture by Brandon Clifford, director and co-founder of Matter Design. Clifford, an assistant professor at MIT, is a time-traveler who mines ancient knowledge to develop creative approaches to the world’s most pressing problems. Best known for bringing megalithic sculptures to life to perform tasks, Brandon’s recent book The Cannibal’s Cookbook demonstrates his dedication to bringing ancient methods to life in contemporary practice with theatrical captivation. His work at Matter Design is focused on re-directing architectural research through spectacle and mysticism by re-posing a series of ancient, but hauntingly relevant questions. These ancient ways of thinking compound cultural significance, ceremony, and mythology with technical and methodological procedures that have the potential to resolve our contemporary problems. His speculative built works continue to disrupt common practices and challenge default solutions.
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PNF & XPUB The Pinball Issue: Ellef Prestsæter, online lecture // 11am - 1pm ESt // Free
Page Not Found and the Master Experimental Publishing (XPUB) at the Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy, are happy to invite you to an online lecture by curator Ellef Prestsæter. Can a magazine be seen as a game? And how did the situationists’ interest in pinball play out in different ways? In this talk Ellef Prestsæter will propose an itinerary through the heaps of material prepared for the unrealized Pinball Issue of The Situationist Times, ultimately taking aim at what one of its (male) contributors put forward as a question of utmost significance: What are the “motives of the passionate female pinball player”? The Situationist Times was a magazine edited and published by the Dutch artist Jacqueline de Jong in the sixties. With only six issues, the Times became one of the most exciting and playful magazines of that decade, thanks to its multilingual, transdisciplinary, and cross-cultural exuberance. 
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Design Histories: Silas Munro // 4:10pm - 5:40pm EST // Free
This talk explores how activist, author, and sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois contributed to a multidisciplinary display representing the best of African American advancement at the turn of the century. Du Bois and his students’ studies made arguments in avant-garde visual form for the equality and sophistication of Black Americans. Du Bois and his collaborator's work is a prototypical case study of design for social innovation, decolonized design pedagogy, and expanded practice. This presentation is pre-recorded. Silas Munro will be joining us for a live Q&A. Silas Munro is a partner of Polymode, a bi-coastal design studio in the U.S. that creates poetic research, learning design, artistic practice, and applied design with clients in the cultural sphere and community-based organizations including MoMA, The Phillips Collection, The New Museum, Mark Bradford at the Venice Biennale.
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Holition Talks: Internet of Senses // 1:30pm - 3pm EST // Free
Smartphones. Smart cars. Smart homes. It seems that everything around us becomes supercharged through technology. And when we look at the retail sector, emerging technologies provide opportunities for brands to experiment, excite and engage shoppers if the approach is right. With consumers now familiar with augmented and virtual reality, there’s never been a better time to tap into these emerging technologies. When we look to the future, mixed reality and the arrival of 5G let brands create innovative experiences that could foster loyalty. Digital retail experiences will become faster and look more realistic, as 5G becomes more widely adopted. We have invited industry experts in the world of emerging technologies, e-commerce, fashion and design to address what The Internet of Senses means for them and how brands can embrace emerging technologies. We will cover everything, from how to create touch-free retail, explore the possibilities for remote experiences, to the benefits of embedding technology into garments and why we should think of the skin as an interface.
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Wednesday, February 10

🔥Sci-Fi & Citizenship: A Speculative Fiction Workshop with Adelita Husni-Bey
 // 7pm - 8:30pm EST // Free
For decades, artists have employed futurism to depict alternative realities that we might work toward realizing and inhabiting. Artist Adelita Husni-Bey employs futurist methods not just to envision but to enact possible futures. For the final program in the Practicing Citizenship series, Husni-Bey leads a conversation and workshop over Zoom about how to employ futurism as a radical aesthetic and political strategy. Hear from Husni-Bey about her approach to creating imagined futures on her own and, more often, with others. Audience members will then be invited to participate in an exercise to imagine the future themselves.
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'Geostories' - Design Earth : ESALA Frictions // 2pm - 5pm EST // Free
The climate crisis is not only as a calamity of the physical environment but also as a predicament of the cultural one—of the systems of representation through which architecture and society relates to the environment. How might the design project—as expounded through drawings, narratives, and artifacts—make sense of the systems, spaces, and scales that underpin the present climate crisis? Geostories imag(in)es the geographies of climate change in a series of speculative architectural projects. Each project synthesizes different forms and scales of knowledge on environmental externalities, such as oil extraction, deep-sea mining, and space debris, to speculate on ways of living with such legacy technologies on the planet. The premise of this work is that the design project, as an aesthetic practice, might galvanize a shift towards public communication that explicates climate change as it anticipates other possible worlds.
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Panel: Waste Not, Want Not - Conversations on Sustainable Clothing // 5:30pm - 7:00pm EST // Free
As planetary resources decline, the ways that we allocate them grow ever more significant. What does that mean when the USA throws away 14 millions tons of clothing every year – and it takes 2,700 liters of water to produce one cotton shirt? Join Kimberly McGlonn of Grant Blvd, Kirsty Robertson of Synthetic Collective and moderator Lucia Alber as they discuss the clothing and textile industries’ environmental impact and the ways we can imagine sustainability in fashion.
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DSLcollection: Challenging Project between the Gaming and Art experience // 1:30pm - 2:45pm EST // Donation
DSLcollection pursues an interactive and participatory approach, redefining the traditional relationships between art and its audience, deconsecrating the public’s approach to art, avoiding any intimidation and countering the notion of art as elitist. In 2010, the collection was the first available on an IPad. In 2012, the collection built a museum on Second Life. In 2016, dslcollection was among the first private collections to build a VR museum. Today, DSLcollection is embarking on a new journey in the video game realm. For the collection, this new adventure is a creative project that uses gaming as a language. It’s a completely new language and one that it is only just beginning to grasp. It also takes the collection out of its comfort zone, working in multidisciplinary teams – creating, prototyping and testing, and going through that learning cycle. Video games are not going to take over from other ways to connect with art. It has the capacity to make people passionate, to create new experiences, to take people into spaces that are unfamiliar.
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Craft in the Semiosphere | MSARC Online Lecture Series // 11am - 12:30pm EST // Free
In 1984 Estonian Semiotician Yuri Lotman described the semisosphere (Lotman,1990) as a world where its core and periphery are separated by invisible thresholds which you can pass through outwards but never return. The world history of craft and its peoples is shaped by traditions which have shifted and been lost in an often seemingly one way direction of movement. The momentum of the shifts can be powered by inequality, colonisation and fragmentation. Once shifted the churn of movement in the semiosphere mixes up all the dislocated elements into an unidentifiable mass of particle wonder. Fleeting, bouncing, not fixed but floating, partial, but in relation, becoming complete, new craft connections can be created. Kärt Summatavet and Rachel Kelly will present their research as two short position statements followed by an open conversation asking where design research can support the future of traditional crafts. Both speakers will describe their personal research journeys, fieldwork and work with extant textiles knowledges within two indigenous communities in Estonia.
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Thursday, February 11

Book Club with Margaret Atwood // 2pm EST // £5.72 – £16.12
Atwood will revisit the first novel in her Maddaddam trilogy. A dystopian parable, Oryx and Crake (2003), was Atwood’s first return to the future since The Handmaid’s Tale, placing the reader in a world ravaged by a man-made plague. Atwood paints a stark warning about humanity’s impact on the natural world, in a novel she once described as a “fun-packed, joke-filled, rollicking adventure tale about the end of the human race.” She has said of her work, “I am not a prophet. Science fiction is really about now.”
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Minsk - DAO as Chimera // 2pm - 3pm EST // Free
This Minsk based initiative is a DAO, a network and a live action role play game which speculates on future histories of blockchains. The project aims to provide a view on the cultural, tech and start-up sphere in Belarus and to unpack emancipatory potentialities of collectivities freed from the constraints of project-orientation, with the goal to suspend and unpack the apparent neutrality and progressiveness of automated financial technologies. DAO as Chimera is a "science-fiction of the present-day" when all DAOs have already happened, and blockchains are "reptile" technologies. It takes the form of a long-running Live Action Role Play that unpacks the forms of value that circulate in the Belarusian cultural sphere, that experiments with the inner logic of collectivity and that creates a place to gather and preserve the speculative knowledge about 2020 blockchains.
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TOUCH LAB 1: The Future of Touch // 1pm - 2:30pm EST // Free
In times of physical and social distancing, we investigate the future of touch and pose the question - is it possible to share touch in new ways online? Touch is a necessity for life, it is key to empathy, wellbeing and social cohesion. It makes us feel connected, safe and together. At a time where we are unable to physically meet, online technologies have extended our visual and sonic abilities beyond space and time. Now, Touch My Touch invites international participants, to explore whether touch can be experienced in new ways in the digital realm by using biometric facial monitoring technologies. Get involved, give feedback to the artists and be one of the first to test out the development of this new online artwork enabling us to investigate how touch can be experienced in the virtual world!
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Formations Rather than Forms: The I // 1pm - 2:30pm EST // Free
Join Cindy Moorman in a guest series of Reading Sessions at Future Based. Immerse yourself in a collaborative investigation of the possibility of fluid connections in a world that often demands a definitive composition. Through philosophical and cultural texts, we investigate the movement and position of the masses, the individual, the collective and the other. Together we ask: Where am I among the masses? How can the We stay fluid and open without loosing its safe haven? How can the Other(s) be an extension instead of an objectifier? And which role do I play within the formations? Cindy is known for her scripted gatherings that explore the dynamics of collectivity by creating a temporary shared space. The Reading Sessions are a continuation of her previous online gatherings. By turning reading into a communal experience, her online readings aim to create an interstice where the participants can connect through the exchange of ideas and disconnect from the seduction of given rhythms.
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🔥Design Informatics: Thinks We Could Design for More Than Human-Centered Worlds // 11am - 12pm EST // Free
In this lecture, Wakkary investigates an unbuilding of design to better cohabit our world with species and matter that are not human. Wakkary weaves together posthumanist philosophies with designing things, nonhumans made by designers, to argue for a relational and expansive design based on humility and cohabitation. He describes ways to mediate and care for the inevitable politics of things, and ways to gather to deliberate on design with more than human participation. He calls this approach designing-with. Wakkary describes how humans and things are fundamental to each other, giving a lot of power to designers. But he also describes the agentic qualities of nonhumans that make things vital on their own and capable of transforming the world on their own. This decenters human designers such that they share the design stage with nonhumans. As a result, it is impossible to see designers as exclusively human.
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Making choices matter in videogames & interactive experiences // 2pm - 3pm EST // Free
Do you turn left or right? Save your friend or escape? Should you follow the advice of the stranger or refuse their offer? Navigating branching choices and dialogue options in videogames can be confusing for players. So how do writers make a player's choice clear, intriguing and impactful? In our next free event, award-winning videogame writer, narrative designer and producer Jon Ingold discusses how to create meaningful choice in interactive experiences. From his XYZZY award-winning All Roads to his writing work on Over The Alps, his co-creation of the Inkle studios, the expansive 80 Days and out into space with Heaven's Vault, Jon's work has focused on making choices matter to the player. Join us to explore the art and craft of creating questions with consequences.
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Friday, February 12

DA CUI Webinar "Geofutures" by Chris Perry // 9:30am - 10:30am EST // Free
The Geofutures MSArch program endeavors to convert crisis into opportunity by harnessing both the pressures of a planet at risk and the promise of emerging environmental technologies, alongside innovative design thinking, to generate a broad spectrum of possible, if not probable, urban and architectural futures for the twenty-first century. Premised on the belief that the challenges of the contemporary city are far too complex for any one discipline to manage on its own, the Geofutures program brings together architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design to engage in transdisciplinary forms of practice. Join us as we discuss the future of our cities and the postgraduate opportunity for young architects and students in Pakistan at the Centre of Architecture Science and Ecology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, USA. The talk will be followed by a question and answer session with Chris Perry.
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Launching a Movement: Graphic Design for Social Change // 12pm - 1:30pm EST // $0 - $60
When we look at the social justice work of recent history, whether that be the Movement for Black Lives, the Women’s March, or the evolving climate change fight, they all share key commonalities that enable activists and organizations to mobilize with speed and efficiency: a clear message and an inspiring call to action. Visually engaging images and graphics can make movements go viral, connect communities, and most importantly, drive action that improves people’s lives. What is the role - and responsibility - of designers in not only supporting activists, but being agents for change themselves? 
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Live Coding: RONIN for Graphic Design // 2/12, 1:30pm - 3/12, 3pm EST // Free
RONIN is and open source graphic design Live-Coding language. In this workshop participants will learn how to create visually striking generative designs, and edit photos using RONIN's scripting tools. Live-Coding is a programming technique used in performance and graphic design. Participants will learn the basics of Helpers, syntax and complete basic exercises in generative design.
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Saturday, February 13

  Nothing to Report 👾

Sunday, February 14 ❤️ 💔 💝

Nothing to Report 👾

Monday, February 15

Dreamworlds of Race: Empire and the Utopian Destiny of Anglo-America // 1pm - 2pm Est // Free
Between the late nineteenth century and the First World War an ocean-spanning network of prominent individuals advocated the unification of Britain and the United States. They dreamt of the final consolidation of the Angloworld. Scholars, journalists, politicians, businessmen, and science fiction writers invested the “Anglo-Saxons” with extraordinary power. The most ambitious hailed them as a people destined to bring peace and justice to the earth. More modest visions still imagined them as likely to shape the twentieth century. Dreamworlds of Race explores this remarkable moment in the intellectual history of racial domination, political utopianism, and world order. Focusing on a quartet of extraordinary figures—Andrew Carnegie, W. T. Stead, Cecil J. Rhodes, and H. G. Wells—Duncan Bell shows how unionists on both sides of the Atlantic reimagined citizenship, empire, patriotism, race, war, and peace in their quest to secure global supremacy. Yet even as they dreamt of an Anglo-dominated world, the unionists disagreed over the meaning of race, the legitimacy of imperialism, the nature of political belonging, and the ultimate form and purpose of unification. 
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Co-Creation Robotics + Art Session (2 Day) // 9am - 12pm EST // Free
During this 2 Day Co-creation Session, we will bring together experts from the field of advanced robotic technologies. Cases in need for robotic applications and arts/science practices are used to collaboratively explore the societal understanding of robotics on the factory floor. The aim is to come to a mutual understanding and acceptance of the human-robot collaboration and an understanding of the psychological and societal comfort with newly emerging robotic systems in order to come up with possible future challenges that can be explored within arts/technology and art/science collaborations (S+T+ARTS). The sessions will move through different exercises in which we join in an effort to identify socio-technical concerns and come to a mutual understanding, with a better insight into the knowledge gaps that can arise within art/science collaborations.
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WEEK 2 - Tuesday, February 16th - Monday, February 22nd

Tuesday, February 16

Atkinson Hyperlegible: legibility and accessibility // 3pm - 4:30pm EST // Free
Craig Dobie, Brad Scott, and Elliott Scott will present ten things that drove the unconventional design of Atkinson Hyperlegible, a rule-breaking typeface for people with low vision. The project was the winner of the Graphic Design category in Fast Company’s 2019 Innovation by Design Awards. The Letterform Lecture series complements the Type West curriculum with presentations from luminaries in type, design, and research.
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CITY 2040 Series | The Future City of 2040 // 12pm - 1:30pm EST // Free
There is little doubt that cities face unprecedented economic, social and environmental challenges over the next 20-year period. Yet, with the right policies and resourcing, cities could be uniquely placed to harness their human and environmental potential, guiding urban growth towards greater social and environmental equity. The City 2040 project seeks to better understand how the future city of 2040 will change through a study of the critical issues that are changing our cities including; climate vulnerability, growth, health, resource efficiency, technology, governance and rights to access and use of land. Produced by the Edge in collaboration with Taylor Wessing and the University College of Estates Management (UCEM), the project addresses the new and changing infrastructure of cities, how they are brought about and their impact on the housing, lifestyle and wellbeing of citizens.
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Wednesday, February 17

Johannes Bruder Seminar on the Science of Machine Learning & AI // 12pm EST // Free
Zooming in on the design of machine learning algorithms, he discusses characteristics of the post-anthropocentric figure that is “the cognitive agent” and elaborates on leakages and cross-contaminations between North American social science, psychology and computing. Dr. Johannes Bruder works at the intersection of anthropology, STS, and media studies. He studies the influence of machine learning and artificial intelligence on psychological categories, sociological models, artistic practices and speculative designs. His first book “Cognitive Code. Post-Anthropocentric Intelligence and the Infrastructural Brain” is based on fieldwork in neuroscience laboratories and provides deep insights into current exchanges between computational neuroscience and machine learning research. Johannes has a strong interest in experimenting with research methods, pedagogies and publication formats that unsettle disciplinary paradigms and render research in the humanities operational in real-world contexts.
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SoAH Research Presents | REPRESENTATION // 1pm - 3pm EST // Free
The first public SoAH Research event in 2021: REPRESENTATION, with a guest speaker Ama Josephine Budge, titled An Image of Tomorrow: Reading Rotimi Fani-Kayode through the Potentiality of Intimate Ecologies. Ama Josephine Budge is a Speculative Writer, Artist, Curator and Pleasure Activist whose praxis navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology and feminism, working to activate movements that catalyse human rights, environmental evolutions and troublesomely queered identities. Ama is the recipient of the 2020 Local, International and Planetary Fictions Fellowship with Curatorial Frame (Helsinki) and EVA International (Limerick), and will be researching the topic Pleasurable Ecologies – Formations of Care: Curation as Future-building. 
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Lost Connection: Can you feel my touch online? // 1pm - 2pm EST // Free
Over the past eleven months the term ‘skin hunger’ has become an online trend, describing the feelings associated with the lack of physical touch for long periods of time. As we continue to live through the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions of social distance, feelings of loneliness due to the lack of physical contact continue to intensify prompting people world-wide to seek safe and responsible ways to mitigate these intense feelings of isolation. Lost Connection: Can you feel my touch online? is a participatory online event that investigates the future of digital touch, the future of feeling connected and being with one another in a world that is increasingly impacted by physical separation. It aims to question what the social, personal and artistic implications are of our renewed online dependency, as well as how it affects identity, access and intimacy.
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Adeola Enigbokan: Architectures of Trust // 9pm - 10pm EST // Free
More and more of our products, services, workplaces and public spaces are defined by encounters with the unknown. Issues of trust and hospitality to strangers are emerging as increasingly important for users of urban public spaces, as well as for online interactive infrastructures. This is made even more critical as we all struggle to respond to the global pandemic. Instead of simply thinking of ourselves as designing new technologies, services or spaces, we might better respond to the demands of our clients and publics by designing alternative protocols for establishing trust, especially regarding hospitality to the strange and the unknown. What are the steps in the process of designing and implementing a trust protocol?
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Why Design Matters? // 11am - 12pm EST // Free
Design is relevant, today more than ever. But why is that? In this virtual master class, Edgar Gonzalez Academic Director of the Bachelor in Design will guide us in a talk about how Netflix uses big data to design a better user experience, how Lego solved a business problem, how Dyson innovated the vacuum industry, and how Bruce Mau Design recreated Sonos identity. Design is at the core of everything we do. At IE, we place design at the center stage because we truly believe design matters. We are aware that creative thinking has the power to revolutionize the way we do things and make the world, in which we live, a better place.
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Fred Dust on Making Conversation // 7pm - 9pm EST // Free
At ID we believe in building cooperative futures. To do so, we must be able to relate and connect with one another, creating citizen-centered strategies and convening networks to drive change. Enter Fred Dust’s new book Making Conversation: Seven Essential Elements of Meaningful Communication. As a designer, author, educator, consultant, trustee, and advisor to social and business leaders, he is one of the world’s most original thinkers, applying the craft and optimism of human-centered design to the intractable challenges we face today. Using the methodology in his book Making Conversation, he has been working as the Senior Dialogue Designer with The Rockefeller Foundation to explore the future of pressing global needs; and with The Einhorn Collaborative and other foundations to host constructive dialogue with leaders ranging from David Brooks, Reverend Jenn Bailey, and Vivek Murthy to rebuild human connection in a climate of widespread polarization, cynicism, and disruption. Dust calls us to restore the power of conversation to foster understanding and action—because our future depends on it.
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Thursday, February 18

A New Model for Listening – Sumayya Vally, Counterspace // 1pm - 2:30pm EST // Free
Architecture is a condensation and an overlaying of times, stories, field notes, excerpts, archaeologies and forensic samplings. Searching for and listening to architectures and archives in places that have long been overlooked and on the margins allows to sharpen our perspectives on the inextricable connections between history, forces of labour, race and class struggles, capitalism, toxicity and climate change. Diverse origins and forms of practice that bring to light our deep pasts and deep futures are not novel or radical - they are simply implicit and imperative. Counterspace is a Johannesburg-based collaborative architectural studio led by its founder and principal, Sumayya Vally. Counterspace is inspired by its location – Johannesburg – and is committed to developing design expression particularly for the continent – through design research, publishing, pedagogy, built things, buildings and other forms of architecture.
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It's The People That Make The Future // 7pm - 9pm EST // Free
Centered around the intersectional ecofeminist concerns of Lise Haller Baggesen’s Museums of Futures Past Times Present exhibition at Gallery 400, this panel discussion brings together artists Cauleen Smith and SANTIAGO X with climate scientist Dr Mika Tosca to share aspects of their work as they relate to Baggesen’s exhibition, followed by a shared discussion and audience Q&A. Cauleen Smith is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. SANTIAGO X, M.Arch, MFA is an Indigenous futurist and multidisciplinary artist specializing in land, architectural, and new media installation. Dr. Mika Tosca is a climate scientist, a humanist, an activist. Lise Haller Baggesen’s hybrid practice includes writing, painting, installation, performative, sartorial, and textile-based work.
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Technologies of the Everyday | Panel Discussion // 7pm EST // Free
Inspired by our current exhibition Larson Shindelman: Geolocation, College of Charleston faculty from the Schools of the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences will discuss ways in which technologies have permeated the everyday from the media to politics to the arts in unprecedented and all-encompassing ways over recent decades. The Halsey Institute presents Geolocation by the artist duo of Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman. Using publicly-accessible geographic data from tweets, Larson Shindelman track down specific locations where Twitter users were when they posted on social media. 
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Technology with Empathy for Humanity // 1am - 2am EST // Free
Join us for the next #AFutureByDesign Salon Series on technology and empathy with Chris Solarski, Jean Leggett and Christina Gerakiteys. Chris Solarski started work in video games at Sony Computer Entertainment’s London Studio as a character and environment artist before making a career-defining detour into figurative oil painting. The unusual mix of game art and classical art eventually resulted in Chris authoring the Interactive Empathy and Embodiment (IEE) framework—a sensory design methodology that adapts traditional craft to interactive media with the aim of heightening kinaesthetic empathy and embodiment. Chris has authored two other books on game art and storytelling in games that are endorsed by the likes of Assassin’s Creed founding member Stéphane Assadourian, and Cyberpunk 2077 level designer Max Pears. Chris’ work has been described as gaming’s equivalent to Robert McKee’s screenwriting classic, Story, and compared to Joseph Campbell’s universal storytelling structure. Chris has had the pleasure of presenting at the Smithsonian Museum’s landmark The Art of Video Games exhibition, Disney Research, SXSW, Google and FMX, to name a few.
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Friday, February 19

Turning the Mundane into the Uncanny with Yvette Lisa Ndlovu // 7pm - 9pm EST // $55
Stories are everywhere around us; they can be found in the every day. Our job as speculative fiction writers is to take the mundane and disrupt it. A lot of SFF work taps into our understanding of the world and its patterns and renders them slightly “off.” In this workshop, we will explore subverting the familiar, the mundane, and the status quo, rendering it unrecognizable, uncanny. While the Uncanny underpins the horror genre, it can help writers of all genres at every stage of the writing process from worldbuilding to generating ideas. Through a mix of short lectures, writing exercises, and discussions of a selection of short stories and our own ideas, we’ll examine the techniques speculative fiction writers use to subvert the ordinary. We will discuss how we can apply those techniques to our own writing and leave this session with a new story idea, scene, and/or a method to revise a work in progress.
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Artists Leo Villareal and Teemu Määttänen in Conversation // 12pm - 1pm EST // Free
New York based artist Leo Villareal and Helsinki based artist Teemu Määttänen use creative coding and LED technology to ‘paint with light’. Whilst both artists are exhibiting their work in London - Määttänen’s installation Noste is featured in the Southbank Centre’s Winter Light exhibition and Villareal’s major public art commission, Illuminated River, is lighting up central London’s bridges - the event will explore the role of light art in bringing beauty, magic and tranquility to urban environments. Come nightfall, light installations provide a uniquely accessible form of public art for people living in busy capital cities such as London. Introduced by Sarah Gaventa, Director of the Illuminated River Foundation, and moderated by Johanna Agerman-Ross, Curator of 20th Century Furniture & Design, Design, Architecture and Digital, and Founder of Disegno, the discussion will also look at how computer programming serves as a vital tool in the development of light art, changing the frequency, intensity and patterning of LEDs in a way that responds and adapts to the shifting requirements of public spaces. This will be followed by a Q&A session, welcoming questions from the audience.
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Saturday, February 20

VirtuousCon // 2/20 - 2/21, Multiple Times // Free
Two days of over 75 Indie artists and exhibitors in a 'live' interactive experience that includes a virtual floor show, panels, cosplay, and author readings. We're looking forward to bringing independent artists and fans together to celebrate the breadth and depth of diverse excellence in the independent sci-fi and comic culture space.
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Fermenting a Revolution by Genspace NYC // 2/20, 3pm - 2/28, 5pm EST // $30 - $60
What do fermenting and protest have in common? Today, amidst a crisis of injustice, activists have rallied together in the pursuit of equity and change. Against suppression and algorithmic oppression, we have had to use ingenuity and creativity to amplify our voices in ways that are both visible and unseen. Strategies of covert gathering and organizing are not new to this movement. For decades, people have designed ways to connect and mobilize outside the gaze of oppressors. For activists of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, gathering around food, fermentation, and the act of swapping recipes was a convenient guise, providing the opportunity to secretly organize in plain sight. In a pandemic that has been peppered with a growing enthusiasm for creating sourdough starters, it seems fitting to begin to unveil the long linked history between food, revolution, and technology. Two Part Class: Saturday, February 20, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST & Sunday, February 28, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST
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Parallel Narratives | Tales of Imagined Futures // 10am - 5pm EST // $75
In this day-long, intensive workshop, we will use magic and metaphor to transform our life stories. Parallel Narratives combine fortune telling, folklore, symbolism, dream analysis and other interpretive tools to guide participants on a perspective-bending experience. Through exploratory exercises and mindful facilitation, Trish Denton will introduce the group to the tradition of oral storytelling. This is not a writing workshop. This is not The Moth. It is a conversational, creative approach to story ideation. Working from our own oral history as a starting point, we will draw from a variety of folk tales, sci-fi, pop culture, and mythology to craft empowering Parallel Narratives. Be prepared to listen, speak up, and experiment with elaboration through collaboration.
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Modelling for Mutual Aid // 2/20, 12pm - 3/20, 3pm EST // €187.64 – €272.87
School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe presents a 5-wk online class dedicated to building communities and toolkits for mutual aid. How can we build communities in support of mutual aid networks that begin to model the better societies we all deserve to live in? The origins of mutual aid models are rooted in the common survival of all living things. Even before people existed, plants and animals developed and thrived through impressively complex cooperative systems that continue to provide resources among their peers. As we humans have evolved organizationally over time, so have our methods of ensuring that our people survive. This 5-week class is for people who are inspired to build their own mutual aid model or get involved with an existing community project in an impactful way.
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3D Printing for Biofabrication by Genspace NYC // 11m - 2:30PM EST // $25 - $50
Mold with mycelium. Grow your own furniture. Biofabricated fashion. We’ve heard these ideas in the biodesign world, but how do we actually do it ourselves? One critical step is making the right structures and shapes for your biomaterials to grow in - and we can do that with 3D printing. 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a CAD (computer assisted design) model or a digital 3D model. In this workshop, we’ll explore using 3D printing and modeling to make molds for art and design applications. You’ll design your 3D modeled form, which can be printed to design the growth and shape of your favorite biomaterial— especially mycelium. We’ll also show the step-by-step process of making the molds, including growing times and post-growth fabrication of mycelium.
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Interfaces that Help Us Refine and Communicate Our Intent to Computers // 6:15pm - 8pm EST // $0 - $15
It can be tough to communicate what we want a computer to do on our behalf, regardless of the method: examples, demonstrations, code, etc. It can be especially tough when, half-way through specifying what we think we want, we realize that we were wrong and now we know what we want the computer to do... Many existing methods for translating human intent into executable computer programs do not sufficiently support humans in refining their own intent and communicating it to the computer, or reflecting the computer's interpretation of that intent back to the human. In this talk, I will describe new interfaces for a particular technology, program synthesis, specifically designed to improve these critical components of the human-machine interaction loop so that humans can more quickly reach their goal: a program that behaves the way they want it to.
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Sunday, February 21

Microbial Memories: A Speculative Design Workshop by GenSpace NYC // 11am - 2:30pm EST // $25 - $50
Take a sip of wine. Eat a bite of good chocolate. Try different ones. Can you tell the difference? Does it evoke memories? Do you associate those bites and sips with particular places? Fermented foods (like wine and chocolate) have often been associated with terroir: “an expression of the land.” Makers of these foods often seek ways to more cleanly express a sense of place and time, and have searched for centuries to unlock the mystery of terroir. In this workshop, we'll explore the unique ability of different kinds of life forms to sense, encode, and interpret information. We’ll then dive into the potential for metagenomics to give us new tools for encoding histories. Finally, we will 🔥take what we’ve learned and create speculative applications of microbial archives to come up with our own science fictions and potential futures. No previous experience needed!
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Monday, February 22

🔥Jane McGonigal, IFTF - Keynote talk with Q&A for PlayAway Games Festival // 1pm EST // 
£0 – £5
Jane McGonigal, PhD, is the Director of Game Research + Development at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California. She is the author of two New York Times bestselling books: Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World and SuperBetter: The Power of Living Gamefully. Her TED talks on how games can make a better world have more than 15 million views. She has advised companies including Disney, Mattel, Nintendo, Riot Games, Activision and EA on how to create games that build real skills and help players develop emotional and social strengths they can use in their everyday lives. She is also the inventor of SuperBetter, a game that has helped more than a million players recover from symptoms of depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and traumatic brain injury.
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Provocative Personas & Speculative Selves: The Alter Egos of Feminist Art // 1:30pm - 3:3pm EST // Donation
From Lynn Hershman Leeson’s “Roberta Breitmore” to Lorraine O’Grady’s “Mlle Bourgeoise Noire”, feminist artists have used fictionalized selves to explore the boundaries of race, body, and sexuality. We will examine the work of Cindy Sherman, Nikki S. Lee, VALIE EXPORT, Xandra Ibarra, Leah Schrager, and other artists who have adopted alternative personas as their practice. The speaker, Lena Chen, is a performance artist who spent five years living as her alter-ego, the nude model Elle Peril, after surviving revenge porn. Using her experience as a case study, participants will be guided through creating their own alter-ego as a thought exercise and artistic experiment. Lena Chen is an artist, writer, and activist working across performance, moving image, and social practice. She has previously spoken at Oxford Union, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, SXSW, and re:publica.
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Black Imagination by Natasha Marin with guest Christian M. Ivey // 7pm - 8:30pm EST // $0 - $14
Join us on our Facebook Livestream with our guest, conceptual artist Natasha Marin discussing her anthology Black Imagination in conversation with Black speculative writer Christian M Ivey. Natasha Marin (curator of Black Imagination, 2020 McSweeney’s) is a conceptual artist whose people-centered projects have circled the globe and have been recognized and acknowledged by Art Forum, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, and others. Christian M. Ivey (he/they), is a Black speculative writer & editor from Pontiac, MI currently residing in Berkeley, Ca working as a Digital Comms Specialist for OBI. His work focuses on communication as a key tactic in the digital and print sphere, exploring the gray area between Afrofuturism and Afropessimism.
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Energy Futures - Emerging Pathways in an Uncertain World // 2/22, 3pm - 2/26, 8pm EST // Free
We invite researchers from all disciplines and countries to discuss energy futures as material, political, social and fantastic constructs. We want to discuss theoretical conceptualizations of the future and ways to implement new technologies or new low-carbon lifestyles. The event will be held as an online conference between February 22nd and 26th, 2021. Conference participation is free of charge.
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Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 

Book Club! :: Speculative Everything by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby // Speculative Futures Indianapolis // Wednesday, February 10 from 6:30pm - 8pm EST // Free
We thought it would be fun to kick off the new year by hosting a few events around speculative literature. What better way to do that than a short term book club?! "Speculative Everything" by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby. Which by all accounts is a quintessential piece of speculative literature. If you haven't purchased the book, no worries - there is a version of the book online (link below).
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Social Happy Hour // Speculative Futures Los Angeles // Wednesday, February 10 from 8:30pm - 10:00pm EST // Free

This will be a low-key event. It's a chance for everyone to catch up with each other and discuss new initiatives for 2021. We will send a zoom invite the day of. Looking forward to catching up with everyone!
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Speculative News & Resources 📰

News, resources, and musings about emerging technology, speculative practice, and futures design and related topics.

Lego Vidiyo is a new augmented reality-powered version of TikTok — for your Minifigures // The Verge
Lego is launching a new, augmented reality social video service called Vidiyo that will let users create their own music videos and dance clips and share them with friends, all while applying their own effects and styles to the videos. Like TikTok, but instead of just selecting a filter and dancing away, kids will instead scan a Lego Minifigure to star in the video, along with any Lego “BeatBit” tiles — 2 x 2 bricks that unlock the various digital AR effects in the app. Then, kids will be able to dance away to the music — alongside a full-sized version of their Lego character in AR — before editing and sharing the clip...
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How to build the city of the future, according to Ikea’s innovation lab // FastCompany
By the end of the century, if cities continue to grow at current rates, the world’s urban space may expand by 618,000 square miles—the equivalent of building another city the size of Manhattan nearly every day for the next 78-plus years. A new book called The Ideal City, from Space10, Ikea’s Copenhagen-based innovation lab, takes inspiration from 53 current cities to consider how future cities might evolve to grow sustainably...
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Inside the world’s first airport for drones and flying cars // ScienceFocus
Plans to build the world’s first off-grid transport hub for drones and air-taxis have just received government funding. The company Urban Air Port, which is building the hub in Coventry, will provide flying electric vehicles, carrying cargo and eventually people, with a place to charge and load up. The project aims to lay the groundwork for a web of transport hubs that could provide a green, clean remedy to our cities’ groaning infrastructure. We talk to Ricky Sandhu, the Founder & CEO of Urban Air Port, to find out if the idea could take off...
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Ancestors of the Future: The Poetry and Potency of Language // The Journal of Future Studies
In Hindu mythology, it is believed that the Earth is balanced on the backs of elephants, which are themselves supported by a World Turtle. Below that turtle? Another turtle. It is turtles all the way down. In complexity and systems thinking, it could be argued that a proposition requires justification, and the justification itself needs to be supported. No idea exists in isolation, no truth in a vacuum, no experience untethered from others. It is turtles all the way down. By identifying layers of analysis, Causal Layered Analysis is a sense-making tool that explores the narratives used to make sense of the world...
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Michael Morgenstern on Fictions as Weapons and 21st Century Media Literacy //
This week I chat with film-maker Michael Morgenstern about his latest transmedia project, I Dared My Best Friend To Ruin My Life, which takes young adults down a mind-bending and immersive narrative vortex of weaponized synthetic media to teach vital literacies in the 21st Century media and their potential society-threatening implications. While I’ve been speculating on the ominous (albeit numinous) social and psychological consequences of deepfakes since my 2017 sci-fi short “An Oral History of The End of ‘Reality’” and discussed the more hopeful possibilities in last week’s episode with Stephanie Lepp, this conversation takes the futurist speculation to a whole new level to examine: •&nbsp;How convincing and deceitful information-age fictions pose a risk not just to the fabric of society but even our personal relationships..
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Google wants to connect everything you own to the internet // Protocol
Hello and welcome back to the world of zany patents from Big Tech! While 2020 is still dragging on (I know it's 2021, but you can't tell me 2020 is over until I can go anywhere other than the grocery store), at least there are still great new patents to uncover. And there's some fascinating ones this week, including Facebook wanting to make clothes like real in games, Microsoft trying to make sports more inclusive and Google wanting to make it easier to spy on your parents. If that's something you want to do. And remember: The big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future...
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New ‘Liquid’ AI Learns Continuously From Its Experience of the World // SingularityHub
For all its comparisons to the human brain, AI still isn’t much like us. Maybe that’s alright. In the animal kingdom, brains come in all shapes and sizes. So, in a new machine learning approach, engineers did away with the human brain and all its beautiful complexity—turning instead to the brain of a lowly worm for inspiration. Turns out, simplicity has its benefits. The resulting neural network is efficient, transparent, and here’s the kicker: It’s a lifelong learner...
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Has the Pandemic Transformed the Office Forever? // The New Yorker
In the past three decades, a series of quiet revolutions in design have changed the way offices are used, erasing former hierarchies of walls and cubicles and incorporating workplace methodologies from the technology industry into team-based, open-plan layouts. At the same time, digital tools such as e-mail, Excel, Google Docs, video conferencing, virtual whiteboarding, and chat channels like Slack have made a worker’s presence in those offices less essential. The pandemic has collapsed these divergent trends into an existential question: What’s an office for? Is it a place for newbies to learn from experienced colleagues? A way for bosses to oversee shirkers? A platform for collaboration? A source of friends and social life? A respite from the family? A reason to leave the house? It turns out that work, which is what the office was supposed to be for, is possible to do from somewhere else...
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Reading the waves: who’s making sense of narrative change? // Forum for the Future Blog
What’s the role of narratives and how do we update them once they’ve become obsolete? Anna Simpson discusses the process of shifting narratives in follow up to 2020, the agents and power dynamics implicated, and the role of futures as a tool to help us navigate away from polarisation and zero-sum solutions and co-create a new, truly democratic narrative...
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Billionaire battles are shaping our future in space // Axios
Amazon and SpaceX's scuffle about satellites shows how competitions between companies today are shaping humanity's future in space. Billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are influencing the push for humans to settle the solar system — from a city on Mars to large space stations in orbit. Musk's and Bezos' goals aren't necessarily in conflict with one another, but as they seek advantages in orbit, critics warn of the risks posed by their bottom lines driving space exploration...
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Ceramic ink could allow doctors to 3D print bones directly into a patient’s body // DigitalTrends
The term 3D bioprinting refers to the use of 3D printing technology to fabricate biomedical parts that, eventually, could be used to create replacement organs or other body parts as required. While we’re not at that point just yet, a number of big advances have been made toward this dream over the past couple of decades. Now research from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, have demonstrated a promising advance in one of the toughest areas of 3D bioprinting: 3D printing bones...
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Scientists Are Weaving Human Brain Cells Into Microchips // Futurism
It’s not unusual for artificial intelligence developers to take inspiration from the human brain when designing their algorithms or the circuitry they run on, but now a project is taking that biological inspiration a step further. Scientists from England’s Aston University are physically integrating human brain stem cells into AI microchips, according to a university press release. The goal, the scientists say, is to push the boundaries of what AI can do by borrowing some of the human brain’s processing capabilities...
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Humanity's planet-shaping powers -- and what they mean for the future | Achim Steiner // TED [Video]

Humanity now has incredible power to shape nature and the Earth: the power to destroy and the power to repair, says sustainability champion and UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. In this action-oriented talk, Steiner shows how this power is putting our own survival at risk -- and takes us on a global tour of individuals and societies that are choosing to write a new, sustainable and equitable chapter for people and the planet...
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What Can You Actually Buy With Bitcoin? // New York Times

In the last twelve months, the value of a single unit of Bitcoin has risen from less than $10,000 to more than $30,000. Companies including Square and IBM are using blockchain, the technology behind the currency, to design and improve digital payments methods. But what can you actually buy with Bitcoin? As it turns out, an awful lot. What it won’t always be is easy. “Bitcoin is just not the most efficient currency yet,” said Henry Elder, the head of wealth management at Wave Financial, a digital assets firm in Los Angeles. For example, one can purchase goods from Amazon with Bitcoin, using a third party service called Purse...
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Haptx debuts new version of touch-feedback gloves // VentureBeat
Haptx believes virtual reality will never be fully immersive until it offers a sense of touch. So it’s launching the second version of its Haptx touch-feedback gloves for VR applications. The company said the HaptX Gloves DK2 are the first with true-contact haptics available for consumers. It’s also a step toward the goal of creating full-body haptics. These gloves give you the sensation of touch when you interact with something in a VR game or app. The technology lets you feel the texture, size, weight, and impact of objects in a virtual environment. The company has also unveiled its development kit 2 (DK2)...
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These jaw-dropping Macs are made of ice, honey, and dirt // FastCompany
In 1982, the legendary designer Hartmut Esslinger began working with Apple. Esslinger had defined the design for Sony in the late ’70s. Steve Jobs wanted his computers to have a similar mass appeal. And what was born from the collaboration turned techie computers into accessible appliances: The Snow White design language, which wrapped the original Macintosh in a fog-colored plastic case, with sleek stripes that doubled as ventilation. The tagline? “Introducing Macintosh, for the rest of us.” However, nearly 40 years later, the biggest challenge of building electronics isn’t their fit and finish, but their sustainability. It’s why Apple has since shifted to recyclable milled aluminum cases for its computers. And why designers Hank Beyer and Alex Sizemore channeled their inner Apple in presenting a series of radically redesigned Macs, encased in more easily sourced local materials such as coal, ice, and honey...
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Must-read: ARK Investments Big Ideas Report 2021, my highlights and comments on AI, DL,VR, Battery Tech etc // FuturistGerd Blog
ARK Investments has shared yet another MUST READ analysis of what's hot this year – really good stuff. Here is a summary in slides and videos from Gerd Leonhard...
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Economic growth and the future // Hinesight Blog
In the After Capitalism research, there seems to be pretty clear consensus that economic growth has to be either slowed, steadied, or even reversed. The most politically savvy position is to either dodge the question or suggest slowing. Raworth in her popular Doughnut Economics work takes the politically astute position of “be agnostic about growth” as one of her seven key principles, basically a dodge...
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Doughnut Economics: Light and Tasty // Hinesight Blog
I debated whether to include doughnut economics from Kate Raworth as one Horizon 3 images of After Capitalism. A recent scan hit persuaded me to include it: “In April 2020, during the first wave of COVID-19, Amsterdam’s city government announced it would recover from the crisis, and avoid future ones, by embracing the theory of “doughnut economics” laid out by British economist Kate Raworth in a 2017 book.” Well, that’s certainly compelling. The story behind Doughnut Economics is a compelling graphic and a Ted Talk with almost four million views that turned into a book, and now apparently, is turning into action in Amsterdam...
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Novameat 3D Prints “World’s Biggest” Cell-Based Meat Prototype // 3DPrint
Alternative meat startup Novameat has unveiled what it calls the world’s biggest piece of cell-based, whole-cut meat analog. Since its foundation in 2018, the Barcelona-based startup has been 3D printing plant-based meat substitutes to combat the unsustainable and insufficient global agricultural system and solve the world’s food supply problem. The news comes weeks after Novameat received €250,000 through the Spanish government to ramp up 3D printed meat production by integrating its microextrusion-technology into higher-output industrial printing machines...
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Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz creates startup Sun and Thunder to build synthetic beings // GamesBeat
Former Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz has started a new company called Sun and Thunder to focus on AI characters and interactive storytelling. In an interview with GamesBeat, Abovitz said the company represents a fusion of technology, intellect, and art. The aim is to create “synthetic beings” and tell stories within worlds made possible by “spatial computing,” or the kind of mixed reality experiences that Abovitz has tried to create in his prior company Magic Leap...
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Fun Stuff 🚀

Cool projects, articles, games, books, and other nerdy speculative things that I've discovered recently.

Open Calls/Submissions & Cool Projects

Open Calls & Submissions

Activating Smithsonian Open Access Challenge (ASOA) from Cooper Hewitt's Interaction Lab // Deadline 2/23/21
The Activating Smithsonian Open Access Challenge (ASOA) from Cooper Hewitt’s Interaction Lab aims to support creative technology teams in designing engaging interactive experiences with Smithsonian Open Access collections for people all over the globe. Made possible by Verizon 5G Labs, this open call for proposals seeks to stimulate new ideas for inspiring digital interactions with over 3 million 2D and 3D objects in the Smithsonian’s Open Access collections, all available under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license for download, re-use, alteration, and even commercialization. From these proposals, up to six finalists will receive $10,000 to develop their ideas into functioning prototypes to be presented and used by the public. A significant goal of the program is to identify compelling projects that the Interaction Lab might explore for wider use in the future. Creators will own all intellectual property they create in ASOA, subject to the Smithsonian’s license as set forth in the ASOA Participation Rules and Guidelines.
Learn More & Apply

Commoning The Anthropocene | Call for Abstracts // Deadline 2/26/21
We are pleased to announce our call for individual presentations, special sessions, webinar panel discussions, and methods workshops. This conference aims to bring together scholars and practitioners interested in the role that the exercise of common property systems to land use and other shared resources (commoning) will play in the Anthropocene. We will cover topics such as conceptualizing commons across multiple scales, commoning in a telecoupled (or hyper-connected) world with tipping points and deep uncertainty, new forms, and trends in global commoning, interdisciplinary methods to study new emerging commons spaces, scaling up commoning in practice, and much more.

Learn More & Submit

IMPAKT: Open Call: Full Spectrum Curatorship Programme // Deadline 3/1/21
IMPAKT invites emerging and aspiring curators with a specific interest in media art and its relationship to technology and society to apply for the Full Spectrum Curatorship Programme. Full Spectrum Curatorship is a programme from IMPAKT that aims to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and the practical and substantive aspects of curation in the field of media art and contemporary arts dealing with digital technologies and online environments. IMPAKT, as the oldest media art festival in the Netherlands, offers recent graduates and curators at the beginning of their career the opportunity to develop their own curatorial programme under expert guidance...
Learn More & Apply

Urban System Lab's Nature-Cultures: Narratives of the City Beyond Human - Call for Submissions // Deadline Rolling Basis, Publication starting March 2021
Resilience Quarterly invites submissions to our second issue Nature-Cultures, exploring new visions and narratives of cities that transcend a human perspective to embrace multispecies relationships. We are specifically interested in short stories, artworks, climate fiction (CliFi), designs, and data visualizations that examine and trouble dystopian visions of a world impacted by climate change. What can we learn from other species? What are positive visions of the Anthropocene? What does a world beyond human look and feel like? How can CliFi be a space to address issues of equity and justice?
Learn More & Submit

Prix Ars Electronica 2021 Open Call // Deadline 3/3/21
The Prix Ars Electronica is the world’s most time-honored media arts competition. Winners are awarded the coveted Golden Nica statuette, prize money ranging up to € 10,000 per category and an opportunity to showcase their talents at the famed Ars Electronica Festival in Linz. 2021 categories: Computer Animation, Artificial Intelligence & Life Art, Digital Musics & Sound Art, u19 - Create Your World.
Learn More & Submit

Cool Projects

ArsElectronica Future Lab | Laboratory & Atelier for Future Systems
The Ars Electronica Futurelab is a laboratory and atelier for future systems. As the think-and-do tank of the Ars Electronica, it always places the human being at the centre of the research, considering the social aspects of technological developments such as artificial intelligence, robotics, media architecture, interactive technologies, new aesthetic forms of expression or swarm intelligence and their effects on the future of society. At the interface of art, technology, and society, it creates future visions, which are realized for the public, together with cooperation partners from the fields of business, culture, research, and education. It networks and discusses the methods of creativity and technology to accompany this development, and shapes future trends and visions. It develops new concepts for an autonomous future society in an inspiring field of tension between disciplines and transnational cooperation.
Check It Out

Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

The 9 best sci-fi games imagining our next future // Polygon [PLAY]
 fiction video games let us explore the fear and opportunity presented by the future, even as we grapple with the present. Many of the futuristic sci-fi games in the past decade have not been very comforting, as pessimism about the future has only increased in that time. But every now and then, a sci-fi game has painted a hopeful picture. Here are some of our favorite games that have let us experience possible futures — including some futures we hope we never experience in real life...
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Bliss, New Scifi TV Show // Prime Video [WATCH]
Bliss is a mind-bending love story following Greg (Owen Wilson) who, after recently being divorced and then fired, meets the mysterious Isabel (Salma Hayek), a woman living on the streets and convinced that the polluted, broken world around them is just a computer simulation. Doubtful at first, Greg eventually discovers there may be some truth to Isabel’s wild conspiracy...
Watch Now

Dreadnought (Nemesis #1) by April Daniels (amazing Queer/Trans Scifi/Fantasy novel) [READ]
Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl. It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head...
Check It Out

What I'm Reading

Here is a quick snapshot of my favorite books, podcasts, and articles this week.

Sovereign (Nemesis #2)
April Daniels

How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method
G. Polya

YouTube’s lo-fi music streams are all about the euphoria of less
Maggie Tokuda-Hall

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