SciFly // 149 // Remote Speculations Week 45/46

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 1/25

Hey SciFly Readers!

Can't believe it's almost been a whole year since lockdown started. If you haven't noticed, I've been keeping track of how long it has been since SciFly transformed from an NYC in-person events newsletter to a global repository of online events from around the world... aka since the pandemic started, and was surprised/aghast to see it's already up to week 45/46! Time certainly flies, even when the days kind of blend into one another I suppose. 

On my end, have been busy trying to get my head into the new year, and out of pure fantasy in the form of video games, TV, and books. I always enjoy the chance to cave a bit during vacation, but sometimes I find I get into this weird non-space where I get immersed in passive unreality consumption, completely subsuming myself in some sort of fantasy, however it is delivered (this vacation, mostly through Cyberpunk2077). The end result is always a weird dual-reality, where it's kind of more interesting to be in the other one, but you have to return to this one for air, and increasingly so as life revs back up to normalcy. I always leave it a bit melancholy, but chock full of interesting ideas to pursue, so here is hoping that the same thing happens this year!!!

Anyway, this week, I want to tell you about a super cool event I'll be participating in this Friday with Speculative Futures Phoenix! Have been reading Andrew's book in preparation, and it is really amazing.

Hope you can make it, would love to chat with you all!

Speculative Future(s) Rising: A panel discussion with Andrew Maynard

Friday, January 29, 2pm - 3pm EST
Speculative Futures Phoenix

Speculative Futures Phoenix invites you to a chat with physicist-turned- futurist Andrew Maynard about his recent book Future Rising: A Journey from the Past to the Edge of Tomorrow. Doc Martens and Graciela Guadarrama Baena will also be joining us as special guest panelists bringing their unique perspectives at the intersection of design, technology, research and strategy.

This will be an interactive panel discussion, so all guests will be welcome to share their thoughts and questions live.

Author Bio

Andrew Maynard (he/him) started his professional career as a physicist, but has since worked across so many areas he frequently finds himself disciplinarily confused. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Associate Dean in the Arizona State University College of Global Futures, and author of the books Films from the Future, and Future Rising: A Journey from the Past to the Edge of Tomorrow. His work focuses on socially responsible and ethical innovation, and spans emerging and converging technologies from nanotechnology and synthetic biology to autonomous vehicles, neurotechnologies and artificial intelligence.

Panelist Bios

Doc (Dana) Martens (they/them/theirs) is a designer, creative technologist, maker, educator, life-long student and geek with a passion for educating others to embrace speculative mindsets and practices to better understand the future impact of emerging technologies. They currently work as a UX Designer at Teach for America by day and an Adjunct Professor at Parsons School of Design by night, designing educational initiatives and consulting on the role of technology-led design for social impact entrepreneurship. In their spare time, Doc pursues their love of speculative design by co-organizing the NYC chapter of Speculative Futures, and acting as the Communications and Special Programming Director for the Design Futures Initiative. They also publish SciFly, a biweekly newsletter that curates events from around the world with a focus on speculative design, fiction, art, and emerging technology, as well as news, projects, and resources. Doc holds a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Economics from Smith College and Master of Fine Arts with Honors in Design + Technology from Parsons School of Design.

Graciela Guadarrama Baena (she/her) is a globetrotter, originally from Mexico. Her experience encompasses Innovation and Design; from the search for problems to their solution, those complex “wicked” problems, critical for a sustainable future. Her professional career begins in Product Innovation; among her favorite areas are Social Innovation, Critical Design, and Systems thinking & Mapping. She incorporates primary and secondary research methodologies into her practice. In addition, her interest and experience include Experiential Futures and Strategic Foresight, as she has a master's degree in Strategic Foresight and Innovation. Graciela has worked with the public sector, NGOs, startups, UNESCO, WFP, EU as well as multinationals such as BASF and Compass Group. She is co-founder of Futures Space, The Digital Home for Futurists, a global community of futurists and futures activists where they challenge each other. Among her multiple participations in “Futures”, since 2018 she has been the co-chair of the APF Futures Festival, whose mission is to provide an inclusive platform for foresight professionals. Graciela is also an Associate of the IPD (Institute for Development Planning) a think-tank based in Mexico City which projects focus on social development, where she assists with research, strategic foresight, and design.
RSVP for Event
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, January 26th - Monday, February 1st

Tuesday, January 26

🔥Jason Tester, Queering the Future: How LGBTQ Foresight Can Benefit All // 8pm - 9:30pm EST // Free
Can we apply the creative approaches and adaptive strategies that have emerged from queer communities to improve the future for everyone? Jason Tester asks us to see the powerful potential of "queering the future" - how looking at the future through a lens of difference and openness can reveal unexpected solutions to wicked problems, and new angles on innovation. Might a queer perspective hold some of the keys to our seemingly intractable issues? Tester brings his research in strategic foresight, speculative design work, and understanding of the activism and resiliency of LGBTQ communities together as he looks toward the future. Can we learn new ways of thinking, and thriving, from the creative approaches and adaptive strategies that have emerged from these historically marginalized groups?
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Nicer Tuesdays Online: Creative Responses to Crisis with Paula Antonelli & Poulomi Basu // 1pm EST // From £3.14
We’re beyond pleased to welcome two stellar speakers to January’s event: photographer Poulomi Basu and curator and writer Paola Antonelli. In another new twist to the Nicer Tuesdays format, our speakers will now be connected by a shared theme. For January, this theme is ‘Creative responses to crisis’, a pressing topic that is likely to resonate with what our audience and more widely, our industry, have been going through in the past year.
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Reading Session: On Human Centered Ecology and Technosocial Networks // 1pm - 4pm EST // €7.20 – €8
As we live on the brink of an environmental emergency, a new. understanding of Technological ecology must be cultivated. The carbon cost of one email with an attachment of 1MB is 19 grams of CO2. It is of no exaggeration when we say that every click counts; data-led systems contribute to new ecologies while obscuring the old ones. In this session, we explore how algorithms were often inspired by nature, embedded in nature, but also how they alter our own ecology. How can we use algorithms to subvert the environmental emergency? How can we build new hybrid ecosystems of Human, Machine, Animal, Earth, and Data?
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Seven Things Every Designer Needs to Know About Writing | by Ellen Lupton // 7pm - 8pm EST // Free
Graphic designer, curator, writer, critic, and educator, Ellen Lupton joins us for a conversation about writing and design. “Writing is a secret weapon for designers, and design is a secret weapon for writers. Ellen Lupton will share her own experience as a writer who designs and a designer who writes, and she will talk about the miraculous interplay between text and typography that has fueled revolutionary thought across the ages. Come away with ideas and inspiration for doing more with your most basic design tool: written language.“
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Wednesday, January 27

The Immersive Kind XR studio: Future Art Ecosystems - K James + L Wheeler /// 1:30pm - 2:45pm EST // Donation
The Immersive Kind’s Kadine James and Lucy Wheeler will share insights into their recent project, future art ecosystems in the metaverse. They will discuss their interdisciplinary research into the metaverse, what it means to create within a digitised society and the emerging tools being used by artists. IK pursues tangible impacts of the internet and seeks to set new standards of technological advancement, sophistication and innovation through human and machine minds. In this talk, you will discover how creative practitioners are using digital tools to shape our realities as we know it.
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Between Two Screens: Maria Antelman and Rachel Adams // 1pm - 2pm EST // Free
Exhibiting artist Maria Antelman will speak with Rachel Adams, Bemis Center Chief Curator and Director of Programs about her work included in Soft Interface. With references to classical sculpture and archeology, Maria Antelman’s work in Soft Interface acknowledges the line between permanence and impermanence. Intimately photographing herself and her family and then splicing these with imagery from the natural landscape–referencing bodies as historic sculptures–Antelman intertwines the human form (humanity) with the porous stones of the earth. Creating formal connections through diagrammatic framing techniques, Antelman’s photographs and closed loops (gifs) are transformative. Her process includes photographing primarily with 35mm film, printed, scanned, sometimes animated, and finally edited. While previous works have focused on the intersection of humanity with computer technology, the work in Soft Interface is rooted in stone, the base element for all future technological development.
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Act 3: On Publishing Radical Constitutions // 1pm - 3pm EST // Donation
Future Collect artist Jade Montserrat invites fellow creative practitioners Hamja Ahsan​, ​Emma Dabiri and No Matter to join her in a conversation centred on the idea of publishing radical constitutions. Exploring the slippage between performativity and documentation, performance and document, the discussion will consider the potential of what a publication can be, what writing can do, and the notion of publishing as a political act.
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WiP2021: IED - BioArt and Design at the RCA: A Work In Progress // 10am - 12pm EST // Free
Over the past decade wet and living things have been increasingly appearing in student’s work across the RCA. BioArt, SciArt, BioDesign etc. present unique and exciting challenges for our community. IED, Design Products and RCA Health and Safety want to facilitate this practice. Bringing together a number of guests working across the field we hope to create a framework - a jumping off point - for staff and students exploring these new and vital areas of art and design.
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Animal-Computer Interaction and the Case of the Disappearing Bees // 12:30pm - 1:30pm EST // Free
This talk will explore key ideas in the emerging field of animal-computer interaction, and the ways in which our technologies are increasingly involved in the lives of animals. This creates both challenges and possibilities around sustainability, conservation, and animal wellbeing. I will share a particular case study around my research with bees, and will highlight some of the ways I have been thinking about animals and design.
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Gretchen Bakke: Lucas J. Daniel Perspective in Sustainable Systems // 1pm - 2pm EST // Free
In this third annual lecture, IIT Institute of Design (ID) invites cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke, author of The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future, to discuss this complex systems design and sustainability challenge. More than ever, electricity is a critical means for connection in our lives, as we all plug in for Zoom conversations (like this one) that have come to replace in-person activities amidst the pandemic. In conversation with ID faculty Weslynne Ashton and Carlos Teixeira and IIT professor Mohammad Shahidehpour, director of the Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation, Bakke will reveal the social aspects of infrastructure and technological management, Chicago’s own relationship with ‘the grid’ and microgrids (including Illinois Tech’s own microgrid), and design’s critical and urgent role in reimagining this deeply important civic infrastructure. How do we incorporate renewables and principles of the circular economy to produce a preferred future for the grid—one that is both sustainable and equitable?
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Blended Experiences with Brian O'Keefe // 1pm EST // Free
Designing Blended Experiences provides a structured way of thinking about how digital and physical spaces can be brought together to create new Mixed Reality products services and systems. In this presentation Brian will describe the development of an augmented reality app funded by the New York Council on the Arts. He shows how the blended spaces framework tool was used to guide the development of the app and provide evaluation data that highlights the effective UX that resulted.
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Thursday, January 28

MFA Design Futures Lab Presents: Amplify Cities - Designing a Non Dystopian // 8pm - 9pm EST // Free
In a time and state of flux, please join us Jan 28 for a discussion on building more inclusive, more visionary, and more radical forms of urban space and institutions. Amplify Cities, a global speculative think-tank, will be discussing the reimagination of cities and policies for a non-dystopian future. 
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metaLAB(at)Harvard: Curatorial A(I)gents, Selected Works 2011-2020, and Library Beyond the Book Card Deck // 3pm EST // Free
Curatorial A(i)gents is an exhibition program of machine-learning-based experiments with museum collections and data developed by members and affiliates of metaLAB (at) Harvard, a creative research group working in the networked arts and humanities. The term “machine learning” represents a family of systems that use algorithms to find patterns in data inferentially, without explicit instructions. Artists and media makers are experimenting with machine-learning tools to create new kinds of artworks. But roles for machine learning in the art museum are still rare in practice. Presented in the Lightbox Gallery, metaLAB’s projects explore emerging possibilities for machine-learning systems while exploring vital issues at the intersection of technology and culture. 
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Test/Break - a special event focused on prototyping new virtual works // 2:30pm - 4:30pm EST // Free
Columbia DSL is excited to announce our first Test/Break session of 2021! Each month we'll focus on a number of projects that are in various states of development. Test/Break will provide a forum for creatives exploring new forms and functions of storytelling. Focus is placed on projects that are pushing at the edges of narrative possibilities with emerging technology (AI, AR, VR, IoT...) as well as web pervasive technologies. This is an excellent opportunity for those who are working to adapt or create virtual work and have interest in experimenting with various types of collaboration and participatory methods of interaction. Each prototyping session is followed by an open conversation between storytellers and participants that pulls back the curtain on creative practice.
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On the Third Space: Jasmine Wahi & Jaret Vadera // 1pm - 2:30pm EST // Free
Curator and Dec/Jan guest critic Jasmine Wahi is joined by artist Jaret Vadera and poet K. Desireé Milwood for a dialogue on hybridity and the “third space” from the social to the political and everything in between. We’ll conclude with a reading by K. Desireé Milwood.
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Iteration: Episodes in the Mediation of Art and Architecture // 12:30ppm - 1:30pm EST // Free
Speakers will consider the ways in which multiple stages, phases, or periods in an artistic or design process have served to arrive at the final artefact, with a focus on the meaning and use of the iteration. Key questions surround the roles of writing, the use of media, and relationships between object, image, and reproduction. Architecture and objects will be interrogated as unique yet mutable works by examining their antecedents, successive exemplars, and their afterlives – and thus their role as organizers or repositories of meaning. How can a closer look at iteration reveal new perspectives into the production of objects and the production of thought alike?
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WiP2021: IED - The Science Cut // 12pm EST // Free
Combining journalism, criticism and curating Angelique Spaninks has developed a generalist, interdisciplinary practice bridging contemporary art, design, digital culture and bio art & design. Since 2005 she has run MU Hybrid Art House, one of the leading contemporary art institutes in the Netherlands with an outspoken multidisciplinary program as both director and curator. Angelique will be making a selection of IED works that inspire, delight and challenge her. She will be presenting and discussing these pieces in an open crit with students.
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Shifter: Waiting | Matthew Metzger and Jane Norris // 5:30pm - 6:30pm EST // Free
Waiting is usually what we do between things. It is the space between two destinations, an empty and anxious time to fill with distractions. But when we look more closely, we see that waiting is also an activity in itself, bristling with energy, uncertainty, and inequality. What does the condition of waiting reveal about us, our world, and the natural environment that sustains it? This series of eight sessions offer glimpses into the thought and practices of artists, architects, historians, and theorists who grapple with this question. Matthew Metzger will speak about soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy’s use of pausing in his solo playing, where waiting becomes rhythm and silence is bound up with critique and anticipation. Jane Norris presents recordings of the electronic pulses of plants, and asks if they are waiting for our resonances to align or for us to hear them.
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Biology Meets Art // 7pm - 9pm EST // Donation
Dr. Heidi Hehnly is a leader in exploring the interface between the cytoskeleton and cell membranes. She studies how interactions between these cell components controls essential cellular processes such as cell division, fate, and polarity. In 2018, she worked with Dr. Boryana Rossa at Syracuse University to initiate the Bio-Art Mixer, an opportunity for faculty and grad students share their research or look at it from the perspective of a different discipline. In this seminar, Dr. Hehnly and Dr. Rossa will discuss their work and their roles in the emerging intersection of art and science!
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Friday, January 29

NIGHT SCHOOL with Kameelah Janan Rasheed: Approximation - Deepfakes, Archeological Forgeries, and Magical Potions // 6pm EST // Free
NIGHT SCHOOL invites the public for three evenings of learning with Kameelah Janan Rasheed. Inspired by Octavia Butler’s notion of “primitive hypertext,” or nurturing intimacy between seemingly disparate ideas, each evening begins with a short lecture interspersed with brief activities. After the lecture, learners engage in a series of gestures to create a collaborative object. “Students” who attend two of the three sessions will receive a limited edition publication printed by Rasheed after the series is over. The classes are loosely organized around information culture and what Erik Davis in TechGnosis: myth, magic and mysticism in the age of information (1998/2004) calls the “technologies of perception and communication.”
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Dying.dialogues Two Day Symposium ft. Bill Pechet // 1/29, 11:30EST - 1/30, 4pm EST // $11.62
Dying.dialogues invites participants to share and reflect on design practice as it relates to the process of moving towards death and through grief - whether these be speculative exploratory works, community engagements, or interventions for specific groups or circumstances. The symposium will engage across multiple domains, including - designers, artists, scholars, health care practitioners, and the wider public. These dialogues are an opportunity to engage with diverse perspectives and participate in open conversations about fragility, death, dying, loss, grief, and design.
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Coffee & Viz—Designing for Emotional Meaning-Making with Data // 9:30am - 10:15am // Free
How might interactive data visualizations invite more social, emotional meaning making with data? How can sensor technologies allow space for human differences, uncertainty, and the irreducible complexity of human experiences? Howell will present her design research exploring different ways of knowing with biosensory data—data about people’s bodies, behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Combining critical making, speculative design, and participatory experiences, her work challenges dominant techno-logics of data and explores alternatives. She makes with code, circuits, wood, e-textiles, and sound. Howell is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at NC State University. She completed her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously she worked at Intel Labs, The Echo Nest, and the MIT Media Lab.
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The Spatial Imagination // 1/30 - 1/31 // £32.93 (day pass)
As many continue to organise for the long-crisis – or more aptly the continued crises our people and planet face – this two-day convening asks what are the speculative futures we envision, how are people creating spaces and sanctuaries, what are the new narratives around spaces and who is shaping them? ‘The Spatial Imagination’ channels the abundance of ideas, passion, excitement and work of those at the intersection of art, culture, design and spatial practice. 
Day 1 Event
Day 2 Event


Saturday, January 30

Desperate Literature's Utopias - an event with Kim Stanley Robinson // 2pm - 3pm EST // Free
As part of our ongoing science fiction series, we invite Kim Stanley Robinson and Micah Perks to close an evening of speculative fiction loosely gathered around the theme of 'Utopia(s)'. Kim Stanley Robinson's is best-known for his Mars trilogy. His most recent book, The Ministry for the Future, was picked by Barack Obama as one of the best books of 2020. Ezra Klein calls it "the most important book [he's] read this year".
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Talk: Supermarket 2030 // 7am - 8am EST // Free
What if strict governmental regulations drastically changed the way we shop in supermarkets? Supermarket 2030 is a speculative project which explores a world in which eating healthy becomes a social responsibility. Advertising becomes obsolete, junk food banned, and sustainable products become more accessible.
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Baobab Studios at 5: Innovations in Animated Storytelling // 1pm - 2pm EST // Free
The six-time Emmy Award-winning team from Baobab Studios share their insights on the studio’s first five years of creating a new generation of real-time animated stories from Invasion! to their latest work, Baba Yaga. They will share the challenges and achievements of developing new ways of animated storytelling and how it applies to the future of animation including new insights into the latest animated experience, Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga is a contemporary portrayal of the Eastern European legend breathed to life with illustrative 2D pop-up animation, as well as hand-drawn and stop-motion styles, creating a modern visual language for VR inspired by classic animation. 
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Embrace Sound in Space: Interactive and Procedural Audio for VR and AR // 5pm - 7pm EST // Free
What impact do immersive virtual environments have on how we think about interacting with sound? How can we deepen the bond between sound, vision and interaction? And ultimately, what is the future of interactive audio/visual experiences in XR, and how do we build it? Join us for a free 2 hour webinar with talks from 4 of the field’s most innovative artists, academics and creative developers. Hear about the practical, technical and theoretical considerations that have shaped their work in creating more expressive and immersive audio/visual systems for VR an AR.
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Fibonacci and Agaves // 12pm - 2pm EST // $45
This workshop will begin with an exploration of the Fibonacci number sequence and how it expresses itself in everything from our own DNA to the farthest galaxies—and especially in plants and their growth patterns. Artist Roseann Hanson will introduce the Golden Rectangle, explain how it relates to the Fibonacci sequence and spiral, and show how it can be applied to artistic layouts to enhance your artwork in your field sketchbooks. In keeping with the spring lecture series “Agave Renaissance,” artist Paul Mirocha will then lead a session in drawing agaves, which strongly express the Fibonacci sequence. If we have time we'll also delve into other plants that express this sequence. You will gain new insights into mathematics and art, and expand your artistic skills.
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Sunday, January 31

Reimagining the Museum: Repatriation and Ruin // 3pm - 4:30pm EST // Free
There is a growing call for museums to take greater responsibility in attending to the objects and histories that they represent. The traditional Western ethnographic museum considers within its responsibilities the collection, preservation, and display of cultural artifacts from around the world. These “discovered” and “rescued” objects are often presented in museum galleries divorced from their context of origin, obscuring histories of theft, plunder, and violence. The third installment of the Hammer's Reimagining the Museum series is organized around documentary and experimental films that critique ethnographic collecting practices and the narratives of Africa as written by Western art institutions. This program highlights the short films of Nii Kwate Owoo and Onyeka Igwe, whose respective practices grapple with the trauma of colonialism by simultaneously sitting with and subverting ethnographic representations and practices. 
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Monday, February 1

Jenkin van Zyl: Artist talk // 1pm - 2:15pm EST // Free
Utilising live art, trans- and inter-medial practices, costume, and prosthetics, van Zyl engages with questions around gender, queerness, and violence. He describes his work as “like having fun with things that hurt you”, and as an “opportunity for fantasy in the everyday”. Van Zyl’s film installation Looners – which was filmed in the ruins of fortress in the Atlas Mountains – was shown at The Hayward Gallery’s exhibition Kiss My Genders in 2019. 
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Workshop of procedural pattern programming with p5.js // 2/1, 5am EST - 2/2, 7am EST // Free
This is a two-day beginner-level introduction workshop to the p5.js programming library. Participants will be guided through the first steps of computer programming: using variables, functions and parameters, conditions, and loops to structure the algorithm and decision trees; and media such as vector shapes, images, and typography to produce a procedural graphics drawing application. Taking the work of Portuguese conceptual artists such as Maria Keil and António Quadros Ferreira as starting references, participants will produce a simple Truchet-based modular pattern system capable of exporting assets such as patterns for posters, game maps, or filtered images from the webcam.
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WEEK 2 - Tuesday, February 2 - Monday, February 8

Tuesday, February 2

Beyond Apocalypse: Alternative Climate Futures in Film and TV // 2pm - 3pm EST // Free
Join us at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival for a unique panel of Hollywood storytellers and climate leaders discussing the range of possible climate futures and how entertainment can help us see, feel, and build the future we want. This event aims to offer a different perspective on entertainment futurism besides disaster and apocalypse. Dystopian horror may be what awaits us if we fail to respond to the climate crisis, but it’s not the only possibility, and a cultural zeitgeist of doom may be inhibiting climate progress. How can we call for a rapid transition to a thriving, equitable future unless we know what that looks like and understand how we might get there? Entertainment stories seen by many can help us not only avoid the worst but embrace and collectively work toward the best of all future worlds.
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Wednesday, February 3

Beth Esponnette: Fashion on-demand by CCA // 9pm - 10pm EST // Free
Beth paints a picture of the apparel future that unspun imagines and is working to build, at the intersection of product, software, and hardware. She sees a clear path forward to true circularity and inclusivity for the fashion industry. She believes in the transformative power of fashion as an art and tool, but thinks the industry has become unintentional and short-sighted. 
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The Future of Ontario Place: Lessons from Utopian Megastructures // 12pm - 1:30pm EST // Free
In one of his initial sketches of Ontario Place, architect Eberhard Zeidler noted his ambition to “reclaim the shoreline for people”— democratizing access to Toronto’s waterfront. The resulting architecture maintains strong formal and conceptual relationships to utopian megastructures and largely unbuilt proposals from Archigram, Yona Freidman, Kisho Kurokawa, and Superstudio. This discussion locates Ontario Place within these speculative utopian projects of the 1960’s, elucidating Zeidler’s attempts to demonstrate pluralistic thinking and democractic principles through architectural form. How can we use lessons from Ontario Place’s relationships to wider architectural movements to inform its future?
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Creating Geolocated Audio Experiences // 11am EST // Free
Echoes is a digital tool for makers, storytellers and explorers working with geolocated audio (sound triggered by a listener's location and physical movement) and Audio AR (augmented reality). It is free and simple to use. By the end of this workshop, you will be able to make your own geolocated audio production using Echoes. This event is part of a collaborative project by Neverthere and Bath Spa Productions - a programme of skills workshops, conversations, and events for early-career creatives and established artists looking to develop their practice. These sessions are designed to support engagement with digital platforms and immersive technologies and to connect the wider artistic, business, and academic community.
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Beyond platform-centrism and digital universalism // 11am - 1pm EST // Free
The notion of affordance has regained popularity in recent years and has frequently been invoked in relation to work on digital technology, leading some scholars to refer to it as one of the ‘keywords’ in the field of media and communication studies. Linking up with wider debates in our field on the need for ‘dewesternising’, ‘internationalising’ and ‘decolonising’ knowledge production, this seminar will suggest that debates on digital affordances have been characterised by a degree of digital universalism and platform-centrism. Drawing on research carried out in Zambia, this seminar proposes the notion of ‘relational affordance’ to emphasize the interplay between mobile social media, users and their varied contexts. It examines three ‘relational affordances’ – infrastructure, home-based access and temporality – which help to explain the emergence of active mobile social media publics during political volatile times such as elections.
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Thursday, February 4

🔥Sixty Minutes Back to the Future: Science Fiction, Technological Imaginary // 2pm - 3pm ESt // €9
In this webinar, Sofia Kaloterakis will present the research of her Master Thesis around the relation of science fiction technological imaginaries and the emergence of the cultural idea of progress. How is techno-scientific knowledge framed as an indicator of progress? By giving emphasis on the cognitive modality of estrangement she analyzes along sci-fi the figure of the robot and space exploration and how they are associated with progress. Sofia Kaloterakis is a freelance researcher, artist and writer. She holds a BA in Philosophy and a RMA in Media Arts and Performance. The research areas she is interested in are  fictional universes, eco-phenomenology and poetics. She has published poetry in different magazines and articles on media art computational aesthetics.
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The Virtual Lectures by Frank Wasser—Exhibition continues this way // 11pm - 12pm EST // Free
How can exhibitions be read and understood across varying social, cultural and political contexts? What is the future of the exhibition? What is the role of the exhibition within the practice of an artist? Following on from previous virtual lectures by Frank Wasser this lecture will take the form of a seemingly sporadic yet intricately linked performative list. The political histories, legacies, influences, successes, failures, and implications of exhibition-making will be the focus of this list which can be used as a resource for further conversations.
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Maps, Politics, and Graphic Design // 7pm EST // Free
Lecture by Scott Reinhard in conjunction with the exhibition "Larson Shindelman: Geolocation." Scott Reinhard will talk about his work producing maps for the graphics desk at the New York Times. In recent years, Reinhard has used maps and graphic design to convey important stories pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, American politics, climate change, and more. He will discuss his work making these graphics as well as his own ventures into cartography. As a graphic designer producing maps and visualizations for the "New York Times" Scott Reinhard will discuss how he uses design to tell stories. He will touch on how his career has unfolded, his experience creating maps, and advice he has for young graphic designers.
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Programmed posters: deconstructing iterations in p5.js // 1:30pm - 3:30pm EST // Free
The goal of this workshop is to develop a software interface to generate animated posters with iterated text using the p5.js Javascript library: "p5.js is a JavaScript library for creative coding, with a focus on making coding accessible and inclusive for artists, designers, educators, beginners…" This is an intermediate-level workshop. Participants will be guided in the development of a prototype of online software that allows the user to create animated typographic posters. In this workshop, we will be focusing on using an Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) approach to structure the algorithm.As starting references we will focus on the work of creative coders such as Tim Rodenbröeker and Kiel D. Mutschelknaus, as well as the prototype developed for the instructor’s final master's project — Variantype.tool. Then, participants will develop a simple design system capable of exporting images to use in both posters and editorial design.
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Society>Tech | The Politics of Uncertainty | Natalie Burns & Andy Stirling // 12pm - 1pm EST // Free
Join Natalie Burns, Strategy Director at United Us as she talks to Professor Andy Stirling about his new book: The Politics of Uncertainty: Challenges of Transformation. Clearly, we live in uncertain times. But how do we respond? Current approaches see technology as an important way of controlling that uncertainty. But does that make assumptions about both the challenges we face and the way we think about tech innovation? Looking at examples from around the world, Andy Stirling’s new book addresses these questions and comes to some very interesting conclusions, and is particularly critical about the most popular models of innovation.
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Friday, February 5

P&P Live! Annalee Newitz | FOUR LOST CITIES with Arielle Duhaime-Ross // 7pm - 8pm EST // Free
In Four Lost Cities, acclaimed science journalist Annalee Newitz takes readers on an entertaining and mind-bending adventure into the deep history of urban life. Investigating across the centuries and around the world, Newitz explores the rise and fall of four ancient cities, each the center of a sophisticated civilization: the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, the Roman vacation town of Pompeii on Italy’s southern coast, the medieval megacity of Angkor in Cambodia, and the indigenous metropolis Cahokia, which stood beside the Mississippi River where East St. Louis is today.
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Present Futures Digital // Various times, 2/5 - 2/7 // Day Pass - from £3  - £8)
A programme of film, artist moving image, immersive audio, online discussion and performance that highlight Scottish and International artists whose work investigates human/non-human relations and entanglements. The 2021 iteration of Present Futures will be fully digital and presented online.  The festival is re-imagined as a virtual space and prism through which the local and global can come together to consider post humanism, bodily representation and speculative futures with artistic experimentation at its core. 
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Art in Virtual Reality // 7pm - 8pm EST // Free
The National Arts Club, in partnership with NYVR Meetup, hosts the 4th Annual Art in Virtual Reality event. For the first time, the event is held completely in virtual reality and features several professional artists and their latest immersive artwork.
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Saturday, February 6

Artist Talk: Monira Al Qadiri with curator Amin Alsaden // 1pm - 2pm EST // Free
Please join us with artist Monira Al Qadiri and curator Amin Alsaden discussing Al Qadiri's 2018 video Diver and their common interests in the global impact of extractive capitalism, from rapid modernization and armed conflict, to the engagement with and representations of oil-producing countries in the Arab world. The talk underlines the manner in which her artistic practice reveals complex intersections between our insatiable dependence on fossil fuels, the destruction of the environment and traditional ways of life, and the formation of modern individual and community identities.
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TFAPOPUP 2021: IDEAFEST 2: Art + Human Nature // 2pm - 4pm EST // Free
Examining the relationship between art and human nature, how do we define what is natural vs. unnatural, and how does art reinforce these ideas? What is the purpose of sustainability in art? Featuring: Wes Holloway, Joe Romm, Kiki Somerville, Alaric Campbell, Adam Gilad, Mo Beasley, Mariela Castillo, Maggie Walsh, Jonathan Metzl, Maria del Carmen Montoya, Isamar Gonzalez, and Ajamu Kojo.
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Black Futures Month 2021 #BFM21 // 11am - 6pm EST // Free
Showcase a day of innovators, creators, makers and masters in Art, Media, Gaming, Tech and Startup Culture with our SUBSUME virtual reality platform. Come join us in our fully interactive digital creative space and engage with voice, text and community as we host an eclectic afternoon of innovation, culture and fun.
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Sunday, February 7

Material Culture: What does it Include? // 3pm - 4:30pm EST // $0 - $10
Material culture is both a subject area and a methodology. This talk will consider the study of human-made and human-modified things and the ways that they are classified and why. Issues of function, decoration and style will be considered.
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Monday, February 8

Nothing to Report 👾

Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 

Community Social // Speculative Futures London // Tuesday, January 26, 2:30pm - 3:30pm EST // £3.83
Hello, hello! We are back and would love to welcome you to join our first virtual social as well as the first session in 2021! 🥳The new format will be more about driving discussions amongst you, the community. Starting off with new groups of people sharing signals they are seeing, projects they are working on or their favorites. 🔮This will be a smaller, more intimate affair and our aim is to get you all to talk to some new people directly. We will be looking at new formats for us to connect in our new digital normal to keep it fun and allow you to connect with others.
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Speculative Future(s) Rising: A panel discussion with Andrew Maynard // Speculative Futures Phoenix // Friday, January 29, 2pm - 3pm EST // Free
Speculative Futures Phoenix invites you to a chat with physicist-turned- futurist Andrew Maynard about his recent book Future Rising: A Journey from the Past to the Edge of Tomorrow. Doc Martens and Graciela Guadarrama Baena will also be joining us as special guest panelists bringing their unique perspectives at the intersection of design, technology, research and strategy. This will be an interactive panel discussion, so all guests will be welcome to share their thoughts and questions live.
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The Future of Getting Together Now // Speculative Futures San Francisco // Wednesday, February 3, 8pm - 9pm Est // Donation
The events in the past 12 months have accelerated the pace of change in ways that have deeply transformed our everyday lives. Things like spending time with friends and family, gathering with peers and colleagues, making new friends, starting relationships, falling in love, and even bringing up children are changing in ways even the most imaginative of us are amazed (if not terrified!) to experience. We want to focus our first months of 2021 on a series of events to explore how to best navigate the new realities of gathering, dating and caring for our children as we face the ambiguity, create resilience, care for each other and yes, take advantage of all the new opportunities that these new times offer now. We will kick off our “The Future Now” series by prototyping a social event to discuss how getting together has changed, talk about signals emerging for new ways to meet naturally, and discover fun ways to interact with peers and make new connections in virtual social gatherings with agency. 
We are looking at alternate ways to recover the natural feeling of wandering about a room and being able to join conversations as they catch our interest, introduce ourselves and let ideas flow casually. And since remote gatherings and interactions require technology, we want to explore tools that ask for the least possible amount of hardware, onboarding, and commitment to help us express ourselves naturally. 
Be warned, since we are looking to break away from the tried and true, this may be a wild ride -or whatever the opposite of a wild ride is- Since we are all people interested in designing the future from all walks of life, we just hope that you will come along and see what happens!
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Future Modeling – A Strategy & Foresight Method // Speculative Futures Berlin // Thursday, February 4, 12:30pm - 2pm EST // Free
Get future-ready with Future Modeling!
The world is facing dramatic changes and paradigm shifts. How can we anticipate these developments to find desirable and bold answers for the challenges ahead? Join us for an interactive time travel workshop into the future and get to know Future Modeling, a game-changing approach to (re)think and create future-ready services and strategies. Future Modeling is a scientific-based strategy & foresight methodology suitable for any topic or industry. Future Modeling also integrates a training set of leadership and team capabilities to succeed in times of radical change and high complexity. The standardized framework enables a structured and collaborative elaboration of future scenarios. Based on these future insights concrete action points and decisions (Applied Futures) are concluded. Manuel Funk and Amrei Andrasch from KNOWEAUX Applied Futures will introduce you to the Future Modeling method in an interactive and participatory process, guide you to exchange ideas on transformation topics and discuss tangible approaches in smaller groups.
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Spectacular Futures: Die Macht von Zukunftsspekulationen (Vortrag) // Speculative Futures Frankfurt // Thursday February 4, 2:00pm - 3:15pm EST // Free (In German)
Wie haben Walt Disney und H.G. Wells die Taktik der Alliierten im zweiten Weltkrieg beeinflusst? Wie sorgte die fiktionale Geschichte “Game of Drones” für Diskussionen? Und was steckt eigentlich hinter dem Begriff “Defuturing”? Zu unserem dritten Treffen ist es vielleicht langsam mal an der Zeit, genauer zu (er)klären, was Speculative Futures eigentlich sind. Dazu wollen wir uns damit beschäftigen, welche Auswirkungen und Macht das Spekulieren über und Imaginieren von Zukünften haben kann. Diese Veranstaltung bildet den Auftakt unserer Vortragsreihe Spectacular Futures, bei der wir jedes Mal einen anderen Blick auf Diskurse rund um Speculative Futures werfen. Im Kontrast zu unseren interaktiven, experimentellen Imaginations-Meetups könnt ihr hier einfach zuhören – aber natürlich auch gerne mit uns diskutieren. Dabei dreht sich alles um die Fragen: Wofür sind Speculative Futures gut? Warum erfahren sie stetig wachsende globale Aufmerksamkeit? Und wie werden sie genutzt? Also: Bequem machen, rein zoomen und in spektakuläre Zukünfte eintauchen – wir freuen uns auf euch!
How did Walt Disney and HG Wells influence Allied tactics in WWII? How did the fictional story “Game of Drones” spark? And what does the term “defuturing” actually mean? For our third meeting, it may be time to explain more precisely what speculative futures actually are. To this end, we want to deal with the effects and power speculating about and imagining the future can have. This event marks the start of our Spectacular Futures lecture series, in which we take a different look at discourses around speculative futures each time. In contrast to our interactive, experimental imagination meetups, you can simply listen here - but of course you are also welcome to discuss with us. Everything revolves around the questions: What are speculative futures good for? Why are they receiving increasing global attention? And how are they used? So: Make it comfortable, zoom in and immerse yourself in spectacular futures - we look forward to seeing you!
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Speculative News & Resources 📰

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

He Created the Web. Now He’s Out to Remake the Digital World // New York Times
Three decades ago, Tim Berners-Lee devised simple yet powerful standards for locating, linking and presenting multimedia documents online. He set them free into the world, unleashing the World Wide Web. Others became internet billionaires, while Mr. Berners-Lee became the steward of the technical norms intended to help the web flourish as an egalitarian tool of connection and information sharing. But now, Mr. Berners-Lee, 65, believes the online world has gone astray. Too much power and too much personal data, he says, reside with the tech giants like Google and Facebook — “silos” is the generic term he favors, instead of referring to the companies by name. Fueled by vast troves of data, he says, they have become surveillance platforms and gatekeepers of innovation...
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Microsoft Could Bring You Back From The Dead... As A Chat Bot // Forbes
Microsoft has filed a patent which raises the intriguing possibility of digitally reincarnating people as a chat bot. Instead of using the conventional method of training chat bots using conversations and material from a wide sample of users, Microsoft’s patent - as spotted by Ubergizmo - raises the possibility of creating a chat bot from the output of a specific person. The system would use “social data” such as “images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages [and] written letters” to build a profile of a person...
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The 14 most important books for designers to read right now // FastCompany
Designers in 2021 face some of the biggest challenges of their careers as they help rebuild a society torn asunder by COVID-19, economic inequality, racial injustice, and climate change. Looking for inspiration on Instagram or in a Taschen doorstopper won’t be enough. So we asked top designers and thought leaders to recommend books that designers—and really anyone who wants to be an enlightened citizen of the world—should read to expand their thinking beyond the traditional design text. Their selections include memoirs, an in-depth look at the infographics of W.E.B. Du Bois, and a 40-year-old U.S. history book that’s more relevant than ever...
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Researchers: It Would Be Impossible to Control Super AI //
The idea of artificial intelligence overthrowing humankind has been talked about for many decades, and scientists have just delivered their verdict on whether we’d be able to control a high-level computer super-intelligence. The answer? Almost definitely not. The catch is that controlling a super-intelligence far beyond human comprehension would require a simulation of that super-intelligence which we can analyse. But if we’re unable to comprehend it, it’s impossible to create such a simulation...
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Tech is having a reckoning. Tech investors? Not so much. // MIT Tech Review
On January 10, Charlie O’Donnell, a startup investor who runs Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, published a blog post that he hoped would inspire self-reflection among his peers in the industry. Provocatively titled Seed Investments in Insurrection, his argument was that venture capitalist needed to wrestle with their impact on democracy. “It’s kind of hard to make money if the long-term consequences of your investments threaten the free and open democracy that underpins our society,” he wrote, “an extreme statement—until this past week,” when “domestic terrorists, at least in part radicalized on one-time venture capital-backed platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Twitter stormed the US Capitol building.” 
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Why a dawn of technological optimism is breaking // The Economist
or much of the past decade the pace of innovation underwhelmed many people—especially those miserable economists. Productivity growth was lacklustre and the most popular new inventions, the smartphone and social media, did not seem to help much. Their malign side-effects, such as the creation of powerful monopolies and the pollution of the public square, became painfully apparent. Promising technologies stalled, including self-driving cars, making Silicon Valley’s evangelists look naive. Security hawks warned that authoritarian China was racing past the West and some gloomy folk warned that the world was finally running out of useful ideas...
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New York Gov. Cuomo: Empty offices should become housing // FastCompany
Like many cities around the world, New York City has seen life drained from its commercial core, as offices have been left to sit nearly empty for months. These unoccupied offices raise a lot of questions about the future of work, the future of cities, and whether buildings built to hold offices will even make sense in a world so thoroughly upended by a pandemic. But they may also be offering some solutions. According to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address on Monday, these empty office spaces could take on new lives and solve multiple problems in cities like New York...
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This is The World's First Home Hydrogen Battery // Futurism
Australian energy company Lavo is throwing down the gauntlet to Tesla’s Powerwall with a home battery storage system that doesn’t rely on conventional batteries at all, New Atlas reports — opting for hydrogen as fuel instead. For both systems, the idea is to soak up any excess energy generated through solar or wind energy systems, as well as provide an emergency ration of power in case the grid ever fails...
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After Capitalism Drivers // Hinesight Blog
Do you want to play a game? (yes, a Saw reference). While I’ve continued scanning for the After Capitalism book, a few weeks ago I began writing again. Sometimes being away from the content for a bit can be helpful. So, let’s see if you agree. A brief process note. Futurists typically use a version of STEEP (social, technological, economic, environmental, and technological) categories to organize research and drivers. The purpose is to ensure a balanced consideration of the domain. The drivers below are organized by STEEP category, not by any particular rank order (we can do that another time!). Here are the eight drivers that emerged from the research and scanning as most important to the future after capitalism. The game > which does not belong?
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Will the 2020s Really Become the Next Roaring Twenties? // Marker
In recent years, leading economists, investors, and journalists have painted a decidedly grim vision of our near future: The U.S. economic system and society itself are coming apart, these dystopian voices have said, beset by one of the darkest chapters in the country’s history, including a pandemic, a jobs apocalypse, and now a deadly attack on Congress. Yet, in one of the most whiplash-inducing spiritual flip-flops in memory, the new zeitgeist for the next decade is shimmering positivism. The Economist is tantalized by hints of “a new period of economic dynamism,” and the Financial Times of “a once-in-a-century boom.” The Wall Street Journal foresees the best era for manufacturing since the 1990s, and even Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, one of the most convinced curmudgeons in economics, is foreshadowing a fresh period of expansion. Observing so much sunniness, economics blogger Noah Smith has compiled highlights into a “techno-optimism roundup.”..
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An artificial intelligence scholar urges technologists to embrace humility // FastCompany
Stanford professor Fei-Fei Li says a culture of transparency, openness, and respect will lead to breakthroughs that help society. I’ve spent two decades as a researcher and educator in artificial intelligence, drawn to the field by the opportunity to explore the mysteries of perception and cognition. But life is rarely as simple as we’d like, and the arc of my career has paralleled my mother’s escalating health struggles, including a chronic, life-threatening cardiovascular condition. As all-consuming as the world of academia can be, it sometimes feels as if I’ve spent as much time in hospitals as I have in my lab...
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Narrative Foresight And Covid-19: Successes And Failures In Managing The Pandemic // Journal of Future Studies
In this article, taking a text-based discourse approach (Shapiro, 1992), we outline narratives used to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and argue that some have been more and some less helpful for the current and future pandemic preparedness or shift to not only ‘new’ but a ‘better normal’. This work develops on earlier work by Milojević (2021, in press) where she focused on narrative foresight frames – the stories individuals, organizations, states and civilizations tell themselves about the future...
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Now In China, Smart Roads That Talk To Driverless Cars // NDTV
On a four-kilometer (2.5-mile) road in the city of Wuxi in Jiangsu province, a self-driving bus travels back and forth, making stops, swerving past obstacles, accelerating and decelerating, based on information it constantly receives from its surroundings. Embedded in the road, traffic lights, street signs and other infrastructure are sensors, cameras and radars that talk with the vehicle. The site, used by telecom-equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co. and partners, is part of China's first national project for intelligent and connected vehicles. The country wants to make traffic smoother and safer, while ensuring local champions like Huawei benefit from the enormous opportunity of supplying the infrastructure...
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Military intelligence buys location data instead of getting warrants, memo shows // ArsTechnica
The Defense Intelligence Agency, which provides military intelligence to the Department of Defense, confirmed in a memo that it purchases "commercially available" smartphone location data to gather information that would otherwise require use of a search warrant. The DIA "currently provides funding to another agency that purchases commercially available geolocation metadata aggregated from smartphones," the agency wrote in a memo (PDF) to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), first obtained by the New York Times...
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Transforming Life and the World by 2100 // NextBigFuture
How different can things get by 2100? Prediction site Metaculus attempts to ponder what a fundamental change to the human condition would be like. Nick Bostrom, philosopher and Founding Director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, argues that only two events since the dawn of humanity have fundamentally changed the human condition: the Agricultural Revolution that took place approximately 10,000 years ago, and the Industrial Revolution which took place from roughly 1760-1840...
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No Trees Harmed: MIT Aims to One Day Grow Your Kitchen Table in a Lab // SingularityHub
MIT researchers will soon publish a paper describing a proof-of-concept for lab-grown plant tissues, like wood and fiber, using a similar approach. The research is early, but it’s a big vision. The idea is to grow instead of build some products made of biomaterials. Consider your average wooden table. Over the years, a tree (or trees) converted sunlight, minerals, and water into leaves, wood, bark, and seeds. When it reached a certain size, the tree was logged and transported to a sawmill to be made into lumber. The lumber was then transported to a factory or wood shop where it was cut, shaped, and fastened together...
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Four Futures of Trumpism, with the departure of Donald Trump from the White House, Trumpism will not be history. // Journal of Future Studies
Relief in large parts of the world’s politics was great when the news of Joe Biden’s election victory spread. After days of restraint, many heads of government could not go fast enough with the congratulations after the television stations announced Biden’s victory. The presidency of Donald Trump seems to be history for now. But Trumpism is still there. In this context, Trumpism is not so much an ideology as a style of understanding and conducting politics. It includes scorn for rule-based multilateralism and political correctness. The systematic shifting of limits of what can be said and limitations of what politicians are granted as adequate modes of action...
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Apple Reportedly Moving Forward with VR/AR Hybrid Headset with Potential 2022 Launch // NextReality
Earlier this month, a generally-reliable analyst has predicted that an AR device from Apple would launch later this year, buoyed by reports from supply chain sources that the company's rumored smartglasses prototype is entering the second phase of production. Now, rumors of a hybrid AR/VR headset, previously thought to be scrapped in favor of smartglasses with less-immersive capabilities, have emerged from yet another source. According to a new report from Bloomberg, the N301 prototype headset is in later stages of testing and could launch in 2022, which lines up with 2019 reports on the company's roadmap, though the headset was codenamed T288 at the time...
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Appreciating a Flower's Texture, Color, Shape Leads to Better Drone Landings // Communications of The ACM
An optical flow-based learning process developed by researchers at the Netherlands' Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and Germany's Westphalian University of Applied Sciences lets robots calculate distances through the visual appearance of objects in view. This approach boosts the navigation skills of small aerial drones by mimicking flying insects' intelligence...
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This site posted every face from Parler’s Capitol Hill insurrection videos // ArsTechnica
When hackers exploited a bug in Parler to download all of the right-wing social media platform's contents last week, they were surprised to find that many of the pictures and videos contained geolocation metadata revealing exactly how many of the site's users had taken part in the invasion of the US Capitol building just days before. But the videos uploaded to Parler also contain an equally sensitive bounty of data sitting in plain sight: thousands of images of unmasked faces, many of whom participated in the Capitol riot. Now one website has done the work of cataloging and publishing every one of those faces in a single, easy-to-browse lineup...
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Scenario Based Strategy // Hinesight Blog
I am still hunting for strategy books that team up with – or at least consider – foresight. I reviewed Thinking in Bets not too long ago. Next in line is Paul De Ruijter’s Scenario Based Strategy. It came out in 2014, and was nominated as a candidate for an APF Most Significant Futures Works Award in 2015. And a handful of recommendations. It’s one of those books that is on the pile longer than it should be. When I read a foresight book these days, I am looking for three things: Confirmation is what I’m teaching and doing is useful? Support are there new insights or evidence that build on what I’m teaching or doing? Differences: do I need to be teaching or doing something else?
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Ancestors of the Future: The Poetry and Potency of Language // 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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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

Open Call for Proposals from Cooper Hewitt Interaction Lab: Activating Smithsonian Open Access // No Deadline Yet
Activating Smithsonian Open Access will commission up to six creative technology teams to design interactive experiences with the Smithsonian Institutions’s Open Access collections for people all over the globe. Made possible through the support of Verizon 5G Labs, the Interaction Lab will launch an open call for proposals in the coming weeks for digital tools and immersive experiences that offer creative interactions with the 2.8 million objects in the Smithsonian’s Open Access collections, a massive library of 2D and 3D assets available to be downloaded, altered, and even commercialized thanks to their release under a creative commons zero license. More details not up yet, but learn more & subscribe for updates on their website.
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NYC Media Lab & ASCAP Immersive Music Studio Challenge: Startup & University Application // Deadline 1/29/21
NYC Media Lab and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) are exicted to launch the NYC Media Lab & ASCAP Immersive Music Studio Challenge. We're seeking startups and university teams to explore a range of experiences that demonstrate new ways for artists to create music, connect with their fans, and reimagine how we interact with music and sound. How can emerging technologies such as AR, VR, spatial audio, GANs, LiDAR, avatars and virtual characters and other immersive and gaming technologies that reflect imaginative, exploratory and creative approaches to music? The challenge will bring together a mix of startup and university teams that as a cohort will explore the overarching, speculative question: What is possible now that was not before? This 12-week challenge is open to 1) startups and 2) university teams. The NYC Media Lab and ASCAP team will select approximately 5 teams. Each startup or university team which will receive a grant of up to $5K.
Learn More & Apply

2021 Wave Farm Residency Program [RESIDENCY] // Deadline 2/1/21
In 2021, the Wave Farm Residency Program will provide artists with a valuable opportunity to concentrate on new radio artworks and conduct research about the genre using the Wave Farm Study Center resource library. Applicants are asked to propose a specific radio art project, which they will complete while in residence and premiere on Wave Farm's full-power FM radio station: WGXC 90.7-FM Radio for Open Ears. Radio artists explore broadcast radio space through a richly polyphonous mix of practices, including poetic resuscitations of conventional radio drama, documentary, interview, and news formats; found and field sound compositions reframed by broadcast; performative inhabitations/embodiments of radio’s inherent qualities, such as entropy, anonymity, and interference; playful celebrations/subversions of the complex relationship between senders and receivers, and the potential feedback loops between hosts and layers of the audience, from in-studio to listeners at home to callers-in; use of radio space to bridge widely dispersed voices (be they living or dead), subjects, environments, and communities, or to migrate through them in ways that would not be possible in real-time and space; electroacoustic compositions with sounds primarily derived from gathering, generating and remixing radiophonic sources.
Learn More & Apply

TRACKED & TRACED: Science Gallery Detroit [CALL] // Deadline 2/5/21
Watchmen and sentinels were joined over time by security guards and closed-circuit TV, and now, by video, data scraping, and bio-sensors. Retail loyalty programs, website cookies, law enforcement facial recognition software, routine health screening, and airport security lists are all part of the vast presence of different kinds of surveillance in our society. And, these are just the forms that are part of mainstream awareness. What else lurks in the realms where data mining and AI surveillance algorithms are developed, flourish, and get put into practice to drive profit, achieve military or security aims, or control other human behavior? While these technologies are all too often deployed in ways contrary to our individual interests, they have also been used to advance personal and public health, reduce human impact on the environment, and engage citizens in participatory monitoring of the natural world. How can we understand and gain control over these practices, unraveling dystopian connections, and further developing utopian-leaning connections?
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Commoning The Anthropocene | Call for Abstracts // Deadline 2/26/21
We are pleased to announce our call for individual presentations, special sessions, webinar panel discussio🔥ns, 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.
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Cool Projects

The Forger (game shared by MFADT alum)
The Forger is a sneakily creative game about making fake art and pretending it’s real. It encourages players to explore the interaction between truth, lies, and their impact on art institutions.
Check It Out

The Queer Cyberpunk's Guide to Tabletop RPGs // Nathan Blades
The Queer Cyberpunk's Guide to Tabletop RPGs is a vibrant melange of manifestos, practical advice and system-agnostic resources to help run cyberpunk-themed TTRPGs with rebellion and minorities at the forefront, with intrigue and mystery and with community and inner strength.
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Cuisine For The Modern Synthetic Being // vin; androgyne
Before the false Socialist Utopia maintained by "benevolent corporations" came to pass, the first androids existed in your stereotypical society surrounded by capitalist decay. Androids were the primary form of synthetic life developed prior to the usage of hologram personalities to maintain physical roles in the ever-evolving synthetic subjugated labor class. "Cuisine" is the rough draft of such an android's direct action manifesto. She would go on to hone this over her lifetime, and publish a salacious memoir of her exploits as an android and cannibal post-humorously as part of her last will and testament. The following story is her record of one of the first times she ever described her path to freedom and then to cannibalism. It is a precious document to have from a time where most archives have been pruned to scarcity. It's also uniquely fascinating to see her commentary on gendered relationships and gender itself and how marginalization does not prevent us from harming the world and those around us.
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Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

Cyberpunk 2077 – where did all the punk go? // PC Games
Let’s get right to the point: Cyberpunk 2077 seems to have left the ‘punk’ at the door. Now, I understand CD Projekt Red has spent a lot of money on this game, and was never going to promote it with a ramshackle roadside stall – ‘CYBERPUNK 2077’ daubed in sloppy black spray paint, the ‘E’ and ‘N’ swung backwards in rebellious illiteracy – but the more previews and gameplay videos I see, the less it feels like anything cyberpunk. Recently, this sense has peaked – it’s moved from ‘huh, that doesn’t seem very punk’ to ‘this is literally the opposite of Cyberpunk’...
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Lost Video Takes Us Inside Nintendo In 1990, Shows NES Consoles Being Made // Kotaku
This 20-minute collection of B-roll footage, shot as part of a news report and only uploaded to YouTube this week, gives us a fascinating look behind the scenes at Nintendo of America in 1990, showing everything from manufacturing to R&D to the Nintendo Power Line.
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When Appliance Hackers Hit the Music Scene // Hackaday
The art-music-technology collective “Electronicos Fantasticos!” (commonly known as Nicos) is the brain child of artist/musician [Ei Wada] in Japan. They revive old, retired and out-dated electrical appliances as new “electro-magnetic musical instruments” creating not just new ways to play music, but one that also involves the listener as a musician, gradually forming an interactive orchestra. They do this by creatively using the original functions of appliances like televisions and fans, hacking them in interesting ways to produce sound. The project started in the beginning of 2015, leading to the creation of a collaborative team — Nicos Orchest-Lab — around the end of that year. They have since appeared in concerts, including a performance at “Ars Electronica”, the world’s largest media arts festival in 2019.
Check It Out

In-game museums are great because all video games are museums // Polygon
Most video games are built as museums to themselves — inside the menus and beyond the stories are collections of items and lore. Instead of housing a world of information in grand, historic buildings, these museums are based in code. Each is an abstract retelling of the player’s journey thus far. This “museum” looks different in any given game; for Red Dead Redemption 2, the game’s memories and history are stored in a notebook to be flipped through. In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Ubisoft stored its lore in menu screens that unlock new information each time the protagonist meets a new character. Even a game’s achievements or trophies can be considered elements in these museums — notes on the journey through these digital spaces...
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D&D Must Grapple With the Racism in Fantasy // Wired
“Orcs are human beings who can be slaughtered without conscience or apology.” This damning assessment of one of fantasy’s most ubiquitous villains comes from N. K. Jemisin, titan of modern fantasy and slayer of outdated genre tropes. As “kinda-sorta-people,” she writes, orcs are “fruit of the poison vine that is human fear of ‘the Other.’” The only way to respond to their existence is to control them or remove them...
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What I'm Reading

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

Future Rising: A Journey from the Past to the Edge of Tomorrow
Andrew Maynard

The Priory of the Orange Tree
Samantha Shannon

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea
Maggie Tokuda-Hall

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