SciFly // 164 // Remote Speculations Week 74/75

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 8/23

Hey Scifly Readers!

This week I'm super excited to announce and promote my upcoming talk with The Institute for the Future as part of their IFTF Foresight Talks series.

IFTF Foresight Talks webinars host leading-edge foresight practitioners in practical, inspiring conversations about how and why they do their work. In these talks, you can hear insights and reflections on the evolving futures landscape - and to ask your own questions directly in a Q&A session. These talks are free, open to all.

It is such an honor to be asked to speak - and I'm a little nervous to be included in their program, they are so cool! 

So if you are around in mid September, please drop by my talk and support me with some great, not too snarky 😆 questions!

Check out the event listing below!

Below that, I do a little free-form rambling on some thoughts I've been having about the Metaverse. Read if you dare. :D

IFTF Foresight Talk | Speculative Futures: Designing with the Future in Mind

Tuesday, September 14th / 11am EDT (8am PDT)

Join the conversation between design futurist Jacques Barcia and speculative futurist, creative technologist, and designer Doc Martens, who sits on the board of the Design Futures Initiative and is the acting Director of Communications & Special Programming. In this talk, Jacques and Doc will discuss how Speculative Futuring can help us to adopt more extrapolative and speculative mindsets, and how we can use design as a tool to investigate the implications of today's emerging signals to co-imagine and co-create preferable future worlds. Doc will share examples from their personal and professional practice and introduce Futures x Design, a new framework and workshop co-created with Jack Wilkinson, that helps people to leverage different modes of futures design thinking to undertake speculative projects.

Register Here

Maybe The Metaverse is a Feeling

In other news, I've been thinking a lot about Metaverses recently, or more accurately at the moment, 'many-verses' since things are not quite connected and ubiquitous enough just yet that i'd dub it an actual metaverse - or whatever.

Aside from my academic interest (I've been compiling signals for a fun idea), I have also recently started playing Final Fantasy XIV, a MMORPG,  with some IRL (in real life) friends. Playing video games like Valheim, and Final Fantasy with two of my great friends from high-school and their various friends and partners has been a huge balm throughout this pandemic, a vital way to stay connected when I couldn't see people in person.

The other night, we were playing the game, connected speaking to one another via voice on Discord, and decided to all go to a 'beach party' thrown by some random player, at one of the residential villages within the game universe. This party had nothing to do with the actual game, it was a bunch of people who showed up there at at given time to be in-game together, as well as a Twitch DJ stream featuring dance music, allowing peoples avatars to do a variety of 'emotes' to communicate and dance along. I remember sitting there, with all 3 apps going at once and realizing this was the closest thing I had probably experienced to a 'metaverse' yet. The ability to share an experience with my IRL friends in a virtual world that was social in nature, took place in a speculative universe, and featured music and media from mainstream culture. I even spent the in-game cash, Gil to craft myself a hot-pink bathing suit, and (to my chagrin) purchased an emote that let me wave glowsticks (with real money this time) so I could join in the fun with everyone else.

In another bizarre real-life/game-life instance, I joined an in-game guild called a Free Company and was immediately welcomed onto the communities Discord server (which was never a thing when I played MMORPGs as a teen), where people connect about the game and things within it, but also share their daily misgivings, personal stories, jokes, encouragement etc. I even was able to ask some people in there about advice on pricing a car part repair, since many of my friends don't drive, and lo and behold, several of them had extensive knowledge. Also, the group does several in-game competitions, events, hang-outs (both text-only and voice-chat through Discord) connecting people from all over the world into this mesh of real-life connections through in-game interactions.

I don't know 100% where this whole 'metaverse thing' is going yet, (pretty sure crypto, or a way to transfer value between universes and real life is part of it) but I think one possibility can actually be summed up by a conversation I had with my friend, before he started playing the game. When I mentioned the rest of us were playing, he said he couldn't possibly get into another game right now, he had too much stuff to do, and needed some IRL experience. To which I quipped, if you are experiencing it, and it is in your life, does it make it any less real because it happened in a virtual make-believe universe? Fast-forward a couple weeks, and he has joined the game as a bard and spends his time not actually doing the quests, but playing live music in one of the cities and meeting new people. I guess maybe the metaverse is less of a thing, and more of a feeling.

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 🗓

Events are organized chronologically by week with events from Speculative Futures chapters listed separately at the end.

WEEK 1 - Tuesday, August 24th - Monday, August 30th


Tuesday, August 24

Growing a More Spiritual Creative Tech Practice // 1pm - 3pm EDT // $99
As creators, how do we truly connect to a game as our work? How do we engage with the poetry of their worlds? As carbon-based forms, how do we find spiritual resonance with the silicon-based realms of technology, especially when that technology has died? In this workshop, artist Paloma Dawkins will lead participants through the tactile practice of physical interaction with dead technology. While discussing the greater spirituality of playing video games, participants will be guided in planting real gardens into the bodies of old tech hardware. Moss will learn to sprout from keyboards. The dead will live and relive and the participant will learn the full power of what that means.
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DIF opening - Which is worse - people or technology? // 7:30pm - 8:30pm EDT // Free
With mobile phones confirming dinner reservations, Facebook giving us new friends and laptops as light as air, AI incorporating in to daily life both at home and work, technology may seem nothing but valuable. But technology can also be a huge hazard to businesses, and the impact on personal lives. During this debate, we will explore the research and statistics, case studies and work through the risks to businesses and personal lives, either by the technology or people…which is worse?
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Tech For Good Talks: Impact // 10am - 11am EDT // Free
There are so many ways you can have impact within your organisation, whether that is internally, embedded in your culture, or, externally by working on products that are going to have a wider positive impact, such as creating technology that encourages tree restoration across the world. But how can you measure this impact? How do you show it? And most importantly, how do you keep it at the heart of your organisation? In this virtual event, we will be delving into the opportunities of impact as well as how it can be aided with technology with our amazing panel of experts.
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Wednesday, August 25

We Are All Mutants: CRISPR and Multispecies Futures // 7am - 8:30am EDT // Free
In THE MUTANT PROJECT: Inside the Global Race to Genetically Modify Humans, anthropologist Eben Kirksey visits the frontiers of genetics, medicine, and technology to ask: Whose values are guiding gene editing experiments? And what does this new era of scientific inquiry mean for the future of the human species? Eben Kirksey takes us on a groundbreaking journey to meet the key scientists, lobbyists, and entrepreneurs who are bringing cutting-edge genetic engineering tools like CRISPR to your local clinic. He also ventures beyond the scientific echo chamber, talking to disabled scholars, doctors, hackers, chronically-ill patients, and activists who have alternative visions of a genetically modified future for humanity.
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Questioning Posthumanism // 2:30am - 4am EDT // Free
Questioning Posthumanism is presented by AEGIS: Art + Ecologies Research Network and the Contemporary Art and Social Transformation (CAST) research group at the School of Art, RMIT University. Paul James is Professor of Globalization and Cultural Diversity in the Institute for Culture and Society at the Western Sydney University. He is author or editor of over 30 books, including Globalization Matters and Urban Sustainability in Theory and Practice. Chris Peterson is Associate Professor of English at Western Sydney University. He is the author of Kindred Specters: Death, Mourning, and American Affinity . He has also published two books and several book chapters and articles in the fields of animal studies and posthumanism. Linda Williams is Associate Professor of Cultural History & Theory in the School of Art at RMIT University where she co-leads the AEGIS Research Network. She has published widely in the field of the Environmental Humanities, particularly in the history of human-animal relations.
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Corsica Studios' Schemata: IDENT Virtual Walkthrough // 2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
We're holding a walkthrough of IDENT, when co-curator Alice Hoffmann-Fuller will be giving a guided tour of the exhibition to give a deeper look at the incredible artworks on show and the artists that created them. IDENT looks at us creating our platform with intent - evolving and forming our identity. What are we? What do we want to be? How do we move beyond? We’ve invited artists that we feel have a deep interest in personal and social identity and human physicality and it’s bounds, to bring works that they feel interpret identity within their own personal realm.
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Finding the Aesthetic: Balancing Purpose with Story // 12pm - 1pm EDT // $0 - $5
During this virtual session we will unpack our discovery and design process and examine how balancing purpose with story helps us create the aesthetic for a media experience. Prioritizing an understanding of the target audience, the spatial environment, and the tone and tenor of the message, the philosophy that underlies our creative approach is based on the careful consideration of scale—both physical and conceptual—in every media experience we produce.
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SIGHT + SOUND | Some Metaverse: Artist Talk with Q&A- Olia Lialina // 12pm - 1pm EDT
For decades, net art forerunners had explored the internet, a space like no other, where gravity is irrelevant, and references such as vertical/horizontal, bidimentional and three-dimensional are outdated. Olia Lialina, a Moscow-born and Germany-based net artist, digital explorer, archivist and GIF model is among them. Her early work had a great impact on recognizing the Internet as a medium for artistic expression and storytelling. This century, her continuous and close attention to Internet architecture, "net.language" and vernacular web has made her an important voice in contemporary art and new media theory. Clicking one of Lialina’s works lead users to the darkest corners of internet folklore and history, so a little more than a year from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we ask her to guide us through her work, and give us a hint of where to go from here.
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Thursday, August 26

The Metaverse and the Future of Work and Play // 4pm - 5pm EDT // Free
Hosted by Elizabeth Strickler at the Creative Media Industries Institute, this lecture series will cover a vareity of perspectives of the Metaverse and our place within it. Presentations will be given by a large variety of global experts every Thursday from 4-5PM EST. They are free and open to the public and will be recorded.
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Measuring Your Impact: An Overview of Evaluation for Creative Projects // 8am - 9am EDT // Free
Communicating the impact of your creative project can be crucial to maintaining sponsor relationships, obtaining grant funding or receiving successful commissions. Learning how to properly evaluate your work can help you reflect on your practice, enhance your understanding of what you want to achieve, as well as progressing relationships with funders, stakeholders and future collaborators. Despite these benefits, evaluation often gets overlooked. This 1-hour webinar will guide you through evaluation to provide you with simple, practical approaches to evaluate your creative project and measure its impact.
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Speculative Fictions with Erin Johnson // Pioneer Works // 7pm - 8pm EDT // Donation
Using a generative text training app, you’ll collaboratively draft speculative letters, filling in the gaps created in their correspondence after they burned many of their letters. The letters will be collected and drafted into a collective zine of speculative fiction. Erin Johnson is an artist living and working in Brooklyn. Her single and multi-channel video installations blend documentary, experimental, and narrative filmmaking devices and foreground the ways in which individual lives and sociopolitical realities merge. Comprised of footage of site-specific performances, the videos explore how power structures are communicated through relationships, focusing on histories of nationalism and place.
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Black & In Bloom, Creating a New Ecosystem for Survival // 7pm - 8pm EDT // Free
DVCAI President and Curator, Rosie Gordon-Wallace introduces this timely conversation between Toby Thompkins, Futurist, Founding CEO of SAFIOO Inc, creator of Beautiful LeadershipTM and Olubode Shawn Brown, artist, lawyer, master coach, and the author of BLOOM The Essential Journey. Thompkins and Brown will discuss the evolution of BLOOM, the author’s coming of age in America as an immigrant from Jamaica, and the new emerging ecosystem that is essential for the next stage of our evolution, if we are to thrive. Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (DVCAI) hosts the seventh iteration of Tipping Back | Tilting Forward: 25 years gone too soon. Part of DVCAI’s Caribbean Crossroads Series, this online forum is dedicated to conversations with curators, artists, and diasporic cultural producers.
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Friday, August 27

Archives Public Programs 2021 - 22: Experiments in Art & Technology // 10am - 11am EDT // Free
E.A.T. or Experiments in Art and Technology was an organised collective of artists, engineers and scientists founded by Billy Klüver, Fred Waldhauer, Robert Whitman and Robert Rauschenberg in 1966 to forge a space of creative exchange and dialogue between experimental art practices and technological innovation. The desire to explore interdisciplinary forms of artistic practice, facilitate access to emerging technologies and think through their social implications undergirded the performative experiments and artistic collaborations supported by the many undertakings and activities of E.A.T. The inaugural chapter of the NID Archives' Public Programmes 2021-22 tunes into this period of the E.A.T. happenings in India, retracing the historical trajectories and residues of the exchanges that took place then. Each session will invite artists and scholars who have been investigating the E.A.T archives from various critical perspectives to share their work, concerns and reflections.
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August Design Thinking Breakfast with Woodrow W. Winchester, III, PhD, CPEM // 10:30am - 11:30am EDT // Free
Woodrow W. Winchester, III, PhD, CPEM is the Director of Professional Engineering Programs for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He is also the Director, Professional Development & Continuing Education for the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM) where he coordinated and facilitated, in partnership with UMBC, a Webinar series that explored Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE/I) in technical management and technological development. These casual events in the Taylor Center's Design Thinking Breakfast series will be moving to an online format until further notice … and breakfasts will be BYOC – ‘Bring your own coffee’. The goal is to learn from each other. The format will evolve as we learn, together, what might be most valuable (and enjoyable!) to us all. Breakfasts will include both time to mingle and one or two quick activities to foster knowledge-sharing or community-building.
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Virtual Opening - Project Atrium: Damián Ortega | Techno-Intimacy // 6pm - 7:30pm EDT // Free
Damián Ortega's work always plays with scale, ranging from the molecular to the cosmic, and this Project Atrium installation combines both. Drawing from an intimate recollection of putting his daughter to sleep, with a mobile over the bed, the artist has conceived a suspended rotating double helix. Reminiscent of the human DNA structure, this molecular choreography describes, in the artist's own words, “the passing of time as a continuous, daily movement that goes on for years.”
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Saturday, August 28

🔥Artificial Intelligence: Urbanism, Ethics, and Design II // 10am - 12pm EDT // Free
Artificial Intelligence as a disruptive technology is shifting paradigms at many levels through automation, revealing deep cultural problems in our society by means of how neural networks are being trained and repositories tagged through problematic categories. While we are at an earlier age in automation and we expect these issues to be less problematic, cultural issues are as structural as the technology implemented. At the same time, a “Digital Feudalism” in which secure cryptography is only feasible at these concentrated levels of power since hacker AI boots fight AI security boots at increasing speed, and in which any users' small error would be enough to validate this feudal protection accentuating the power control now in hands of very few companies. Both issues, cultural deconstruction through computational power and increasing political and economic power concentration, are defining how the technology is being applied, presenting ethical issues that reveal our society’s challenges.
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Sunday, August 29

In Conversation with Joshua Whitehead // 12:15pm EDT // Free
Join us for a virtual poetry reading with a moderator conversation with Joshua Whitehead. Joshua Whitehead (he/him) is a Two-Spirit, Oji-nêhiyaw member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). He is currently a Ph.D. candidate, lecturer, and Killam scholar at the University of Calgary where he studies Indigenous literatures and cultures with a focus on gender and sexuality. His dissertation, tentatively titled "Feral Fatalisms," is a hybrid narrative of theory, essay, and non-fiction that interrogates the role of "ferality" inherent within Indigenous ways of being (with a strong focus on nêhiyawewin). He is the author of full-metal indigiqueer.
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Monday, August 30

AIxDesign Keynote: AI Artivism with Aishatu Gwadabe // 12pm - 1pm EDT // Free
This keynote talks about decentering AI design from Eurocentric accounts of the field, redirecting design ontologically towards decolonial and pluriversal visions. Together with Aishatu, we will explore how the intersection of art, AI, and peace technology can create desirable future(s) in a postcolonial world that can foster equity and raise awareness about social justice issues. Aishatu is an international peace technologist advocating for social justice within technology by forging new digital pathways for peace. She weaves real-world issues into technological promises of a better future, to ensure that complex social systems have space to develop self-organized structures. 
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AI For Today And Future // 10:30pm - 11:30pm EDT // $20
Professor Pieter Abbeel is Director of the Berkeley Robot Learning Lab and Co-Director of the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence (BAIR) Lab. Abbeel’s research strives to build ever more intelligent systems, which has his lab push the frontiers of deep reinforcement learning, deep imitation learning, deep unsupervised learning, transfer learning, meta-learning, and learning to learn, as well as study the influence of AI on society. They will discuss several emerging AI technologies and understand what they do and what they are.
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AI LA SIG: Past, Present, and Future Brain-Computer Interface Technologies // 10pm - 12am EDT // Free
Learn about and discuss the current state of the art, as well as near-horizon advances, in brain-computer interface (BCI / BMI) and other neural interface technology. We will explore the science, hardware/software, and applications of these emerging technologies across a broad landscape from clinical to consumer to artistic. We will also briefly discuss the history and social context of BCI technology development over the last 50 years, gaining deeper insights into the promises, opportunities, challenges, and ethical considerations presented by this field and how these have evolved over time. In looking forward into the future, we will have an opportunity to creatively envision what future neural interface technologies could look like and their transformative impact on humanity, but -- importantly -- bounding this by realistic scientific, technological, and ethical constraints.
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Paradigm Shift: How NFTs are Affecting the Crypto, Civilization and Future // 11pm - 12am // Free
No one can deny that NFT, is recently the most hottest theme in blockchain and even the whole IT industry. PANONY, incubator, investor and advisor for crypto and blockchain businesses led by Forbes 30 under 30 nominees is holding a NFT mini conference with the leading CEOs of the projects making innovations and disrupting the industry.
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WEEK 2 - Tuesday, August 31st - Monday, September 6th

Tuesday, August 31

NFTs – Who’s Really In Control? // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
Who is, and who should be, in control of the legal rights associated with an NFT? We will discuss legal lessons learned when contemplating the capture, use and rights associated with the digital files backing an NFT.  The founder of Pinata will provide a case study providing insights as they continue to support the authentication, storage and access to digital files which are minted into NFTs. Finally, we will discuss the future of legal rights related to digital files and NFTs.
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Wednesday, September 1

Craft+Wikipedia Roundtables // 12pm - 1pm EDT // Free
These roundtables will explore contributing to Wikipedia and Wikidata as a process of making information by hand as well as give you practical tools for editing and creating new articles. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia crafted by millions of editors, working together around the globe, to create a common resource. Craft also has a long history of skilled, cooperative making—hot shops, community woodshops, and foundries rely on cooperation in real time, while quilting bees and kiln firings punctuate individual practices with social gatherings and skill-sharing. By crafting Wikipedia article by article, we participate in making our digital commons together.
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Digital Democracies Masterclass #3: DIY Light with Thomas Buckley // 8am - 10am EDT // Free
Join light artist Thomas Buckley, who will introduce you to the basics of hacking, breaking, and inventing things, exploring themes of scale, surface, and working in a way that's accessible. Find out about unexpected solutions that use hardware rather than expensive or prohibitive software, and are available to anyone, in the true DIY spirit. Learn projection jargon, concepts of software used to map, to make, and to interact, and most importantly, routes into technological experimentation that lead to unique processes.
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Embracing the Unknown in Collaboration // 1:30pm - 3pm EDT // Free
The last year and a half has encouraged many artists to experiment with new ways of collaborating- often at the intersection of multiple disciplines, practices, and time zones. Join us as artists reflect on the demands and possibilities of such experimentation. Silvia Carderelli-Gronau, a Movement Artist, teamed up with Computer Scientist Swen E. Gaudl to develop a sound-based framework that enables dancers to move and improvise with each other from different locations, creating a network of presence, connection and touch beyond the visual sphere. In this workshop, we trace Silvia and Swen’s journey of making Sonic Dancer: were they supported in negotiating the uncertainty in innovation? How did they navigate any frictions arising in their interdisciplinary collaboration? How could this experimental project be sustained through finding application in wider contexts?
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Stitching Ourselves Together in an Unraveling World // 8pm - 9pm EDT // Free
This talk is for all the trickster creatives who are trying to find navigation strategies for this threshold time. Despite the many perils we are encountering, there’s some rich medicine to harvest. Beverly Naidus will discuss aspects of how her own art practice as well as tools from other realms have proven useful at providing some buoyancy. Much of her art practice has had a camouflage or trickster character, appearing as one thing, while offering up unexpected perspectives for participants. Hopefully some of the strategies she plans to share will be useful to the imaginations of those in attendance and inspire new ways of reframing this challenging chapter.
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Thursday, September 2

The Science of Can and Can’t with Chiara Marletto // 1pm EDT // £15 – £100
In this talk, Chiara Marletto discusses this revolutionary approach, which holds extraordinary promise for confronting existing challenges in fundamental physics. From delivering next generation of programmable machines, to even understanding how the mind works. By contemplating the possible as well as the actual, counterfactuals can break down barriers to knowledge and form a more complete, abundant and rewarding picture of the universe itself.
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Imagining Disaster: Science Fiction X Contemporary Art // 1pm - 2pm EDT // Free
Science Fiction – a term popularised if not invented by American publisher Hugo Gernsback in the 1920s – has existed as a genre for over a century. Although its roots can be traced back further still (not least to 1818 and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein), its arrival runs roughly in parallel with the birth of cinema. From Georges Melies' fanciful A Trip to the Moon (1902) via Stanley Kubrick’s masterful 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) to its present-day dominance at the box office, it fires imaginations and thrills audiences in ever-growing numbers. Imagining Disaster: Science Fiction X Contemporary Art is inspired by the genre many of us fell in love with when we were children – when films like Star Wars (1977) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) acted as gateways to a larger, fantastic world. Additionally, it is informed by Susan Sontag’s 1965 essay The Imagination of Disaster, in which Sontag argues: “Science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art.”
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Friday, September 3

Space Café Russia by Elina Morozova // 10am - 11am EDT // Free (in russian?)
This Space Café Russia will be hosted by Elina Morozova, Executive Director of the Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications and friend of SpaceWatch.Global, in conversation with Igor Porokhin, a Russian attorney-at-law and partner of legal firm InSpace Consulting known for having provided legal support for contracts for flights to the International Space Station of astronauts from NASA, ESA, Brazil, South Korea, Malaysia, as well as space tourists on board the Russian manned Soyuz spacecraft.
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CCA Supports: Crit group // 5am - 7:15am EDT // Free
CCA is hosting another two-part online crit group for artists and creatives at any stage of their career who are trying something new. The crit group is being held over the two Fridays with four artists presenting per session. Across the two sessions, eight artists in total will share a piece of their work with the rest of the group facilitated by CCA Public Programmes Curator Laura McCafferty. Participants would need to be available for both sessions to allow for presentation and crit. This is a platform for artists to receive feedback and the chance to generate a discussion around your work. 
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Saturday, September 4

APT.New York Vol 41 x MVRDV NEXT: How Good Are We? // 10am - 11:30am EDT // Free
The increasing role of standardized, digital design tools has placed data-driven design exploration and performance quantification at the core of architectural decision-making processes. Recognizing the need for design tools that are specific to MVRDV's methodology and building on the practice's heritage of visionary tools, the computational R&D unit MVRDV NEXT was established. Leo and Yayun will talk about the role of NEXT within MVRDV's global practice and illustrate their ongoing research on design quantification through applied, speculative, and academic case studies of MVRDV NEXT.
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Sunday, September 5

Mapping: depiction, perception and imagination // 9am - 10:30am EDT // Free
How can we collectively imagine and share the world? What does it mean to think imaginatively? This workshop offers a space for us to create a world through shared experience of dance, the spaces we inhabit, and drawing. We will make a map together. This collective mapping activity shines a light on subjective experience, connections across forms, and crossways of thinking, feeling and sharing.
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Monday, September 6

Making More Artful Games with Playmaker // 2pm - 3pm EDt // $45
Among the mountain of tasks that come with building a game, scripting can be among the most difficult to wrap your head around. Playmaker, the visual sculpting software for Unity, helps with that. It removes the need to know how to code and instead places emphasis on what the game maker wants to happen. In this one-hour beginners workshop, filmmaker, game developer, and musician Stephen Scott Day will give participants an introduction to Playmaker. As a practitioner, Day sees the software as more than just a simple game builder. He sees it as a tool to create immersive art and expansive stories. He will teach participants how to make the basics and then use those tools to do more.
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Technology + Culture: Belonging // 11am - 12:30pm EDT // Free
In this roundtable, we will explore how cultural belonging is evolving with technologies. How does the innate need of ‘belonging’ affect our engagement with different tech platforms? How does our understanding of what we belong to shift? What is the future of belonging in a hypertech world?
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A Night In with Margaret Atwood and Joyce Carol Oates / 3pm - 4pm EDT // £12.86
Expect the unexpected as two of the world’s greatest literary talents compare notes and share stories. Joyce Carol Oates’s work is unparalleled in American letters. Famed for her extraordinary productivity, penetrating psychological insight, and ability to bend the conventions of form and genre to a dazzling array of ends, she is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest living literary talents. author of more than fifty works of fiction, poetry and critical essays, Margaret Atwood’s luminous talents as a storyteller would be sufficient to ensure her place in the literary canon; but as a speculative novelist she has become something still more remarkable. No writer since Orwell has shaped the political imagination so vividly or given us a common language to describe the world we live in. From poetry to Twitter and what it is to be human, from Gothic romances and supernatural fantasy to the duty of a writer, the two friends will take you on a journey of unusual and memorable entertainment.
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Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 

The Thing from the Future // Speculative Futures Frankfurt // Wednesday, August 25th, 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free (In German)
Nach unserer Sommerpause wollen wir endlich wieder mit euch über Zukünfte spekulieren! Am Mittwoch, den 25. August, finden unsere Happy Little Futures zum ersten Mal open air statt online statt (natürlich mit ausreichend Abstand und begrenzter Teilnahme).
Zwischen dem Museum für Angewandte Kunst und dem Weltkulturenmuseum, im Metzlerpark, wollen wir mit euch Dinge erdenken, die dort in Zukunft vielleicht mal ausgestellt werden. Leiten lassen wir uns dabei durch Karten von "Thing from the Future" und den Zufall, der die Karten auswählt. Ihr benötigt keine Vorkenntnisse, nur Spaß am Fantastisieren, und wir freuen uns immer über neue Gesichter.
Wer sich vorher schon in Stimmung bringen will, kann direkt nebenan im Museum für Angewandte Kunst die Ausstellung "Aus heutiger Sicht - Diskurse über Zukunft" besuchen oder im Park selbst die tinyBE-Wohnskulpturen zu nachhaltigem und sinnstiftendem Leben besichtigen.
After our summer break, we finally want to speculate about futures with you again! On Wednesday, August 25th, our Happy Little Futures will take place in the open air for the first time online (of course with sufficient distance and limited participation).
Between the Museum of Applied Art and the World Culture Museum, in Metzlerpark, we want to think up things with you that might be exhibited there in the future. We are guided by cards from "Thing from the Future" and the chance that chooses the cards. You don't need any previous knowledge, just have fun fantasizing, and we're always happy to see new faces.
If you want to get in the mood beforehand, you can visit the exhibition "From today's point of view - discourses about the future" right next door in the Museum of Applied Art or visit the tinyBE living sculptures on sustainable and meaningful life in the park itself.

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Postcards from PRIMER21, 2 Talks + Panel // Speculative Futures San Francisco // Wednesday, 8/25, 8pm - Thursday, 8/26, 9:30pm EDT // Donation
Did you have a chance to catch PRIMER21 Global conference? TL;DR, it was amazing proof of the diversity, collaboration and resilience in our community.
We can't wait for all the videos to go up on VIMEO, and in the meantime, we decided to bring you a sample of the amazing sessions we had a chance to attend.
Two days, two happy hour sessions = two talks and a panel:
Wednesday 8/25 from 5-6PM PT REMIXING & DEMYSTIFYING NUMEROLOGY, with Kelly Kornet and Analilia Morales
Thursday 8/26 from 5-6PM PT THE HOME OF THE 2020s MAKING OUR HOMES MORE RESILIENT with Global Futurist Sylvia Gallusser
BONUS! Thursday 8/26 after the talk we will have a panel discussion with Sylvia Gallusser and Kelly Kornet to discuss things like frameworks, rigor, including the voices of others, and whatever else is happening in our/your multiverses of futures design.
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Speculative News & Resources 📰

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

After Killing Department Stores, Amazing. Now plans to Make Department Stores // Futurism
These brick-and-mortar locations will allow customers to purchase clothes, electronics, kitchen appliances, and more, according to The Wall Street Journal. The ecommerce and web hosting giant is slated to first open their department stores in California and Ohio. Amazon’s push for more brick-and-mortar stores such as their bookstores can all be brought back to one dark yet simple reason: data...
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Fecal Transplants Could Be New Tool in Fight Against Age-Related Decline // BioSpace
Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is an innovative procedure studied in several conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease. Recent animal research reported in Nature Aging on Monday suggests fecal transplants may actually reverse the signs of brain aging...
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A Billy bookcase and some wind power? Ikea is now selling renewable energy // FastCompany
The world’s biggest furniture brand is branching out into selling renewable energy to households, starting with its home market in Sweden. Yesterday, Ingka Group, which owns most Ikea stores worldwide, announced that households would be able to buy affordable renewable electricity from solar and wind parks starting in September. It’s the latest move toward a carbon-neutral future for the company...
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Expert: Periodic Mask Wearing Is Here To Stay // Futurity

At this point, it’s starting to feel like we’ll be wearing masks forever. While that’s not exactly the case, it’s an oversimplification with a kernel of truth: Whether facing a global pandemic or a typical cold and flu season, mask-wearing carries significant public health benefits, so periodic masking is here to stay, according to Crystal Watson, a senior associate at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an assistant professor in the environmental health and engineering department at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health...
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It’s hard to be a moral person. Technology is making it harder. // Vox
Multiple studies have suggested that digital technology is shortening our attention spans and making us more distracted. What if it’s also making us less empathetic, less prone to ethical action? What if it’s degrading our capacity for moral attention — the capacity to notice the morally salient features of a given situation so that we can respond appropriately?
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Facebook’s “Metaverse” gets a bit closer today with Horizon Workrooms // ArsTechnica
Zoom for nerds in goggles. This isn't the most flattering way to describe Horizon Workrooms, but it's not exactly inaccurate. The basic concept is that instead of videoconferencing with a webcam, participants use virtual reality gear—like Facebook's own Oculus Quest 2—to meet up in a VR workspace...
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Afghans are being evacuated via WhatsApp, Google Forms, or by any means possible // MIT Technology Review
The sudden collapse of Afghanistan's government has led to a frantic attempt to accelerate online relief and evacuation efforts. These attempts, organized largely via Google Forms, WhatsApp and private social media groups, are trying to fill the void left by the US government's failure to protect vulnerable Afghans. It could be the only lifeline for many trying to flee the country—but at the same time it is not without risk, as observers fear crowdsourced information could be used by the Taliban to identify the very people in need of rescue...
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How Big Data Carried Graph Theory Into New Dimensions // Quanta Magazine
The mathematical language for talking about connections, which usually depends on networks — vertices (dots) and edges (lines connecting them) — has been an invaluable way to model real-world phenomena since at least the 18th century. But a few decades ago, the emergence of giant data sets forced researchers to expand their toolboxes and, at the same time, gave them sprawling sandboxes in which to apply new mathematical insights...
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The world’s data explained: how much we’re producing and where it’s all stored // World Economic Forum
Humankind has been storing data for millions of years, as wall paintings, in books and more recently in super-sized data centers.
Technological advancements have increased our ability to create and store data. Each day on Earth we generate 500 million tweets, 294 billion emails and 4 million gigabytes of Facebook data. Around 150 years from now, the number of digital bits would reach an impossible value, exceeding the number of all atoms on Earth...
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OpenAI can translate English into code with its new machine learning software Codex // 
AI research company OpenAI is releasing a new machine learning tool that translates the English language into code. The software is called Codex and is designed to speed up the work of professional programmers, as well as help amateurs get started coding. In demos of Codex, OpenAI shows how the software can be used to build simple websites and rudimentary games using natural language, as well as translate between different programming languages and tackle data science queries...
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On Roblox, kids learn it’s hard to earn money making games
Roblox has become a video game titan, in recent years dominating the world of kids’ gaming and earning $454 million in revenue last quarter alone. A new report argues that success is built on exploiting young game developers, many of them children, who are making content for the game...
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The US Is Removing Records of Its War in Afghanistan From the Internet // Vice
America’s war in Afghanistan is vanishing from the internet. Federal agencies are wiping websites of videos, articles, and photos and saying it must be done to protect the lives of the Afghans left behind who may face retaliation from the Taliban. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told the Associated Press that the process of scrubbing online evidence of Afghans working with coalition forces “is of the utmost importance” and that State’s policy is “only to remove content in exceptional situations like this one. In doing so, department personnel are following records retention requirements.”
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Molecular Farming Means the Next Vaccine Could Be Edible and Grown in a Plant // SingularityHub
And congratulations—you’ve just been vaccinated for the latest virus. That’s one of the goals of molecular farming, a vision to have plants synthesize medications and vaccines. Using genetic engineering and synthetic biology, scientists can introduce brand new biochemical pathways into plant cells—or even whole plants—essentially turning them into single-use bioreactors...
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The Future of Weaponized App Data // Vice [Podcast]
It’s an old story with a new twist. A top administrator of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops resigned after someone leaked information about his private life. Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill left his post after a Catholic-oriented Substack accused him of being a frequent user of Grindr. How, exactly, did the Substack know that Msgnr. Burrill was using Grindr? How many of our apps are spying on us and collecting this kind of data? And just how easy is it for a viscous third party to get hold of that data for nefarious ends...
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Old Navy is overhauling how it designs clothes. Here’s why // FastCompany
For decades, fashion brands have been focused on thin consumers. That’s started to slowly shift over the past few years, thanks to designers like Christian Siriano and models like Ashley Graham. But still, the needs of the plus-size consumer are from mainstream, and the shopping experience is often marginalized. Old Navy is trying to change that, by radically reimagining its approach to how plus-size clothes are designed, manufactured, and displayed. Starting Friday, the company is making it possible for customers to shop sizes 0 to 30 in exactly the same way...
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Magnetic ‘millirobots’ climb and swim to deliver drugs to neural tissue // E&T
Researchers from Purdue University have developed magnetic ‘millirobots’ which can climb slopes, move against a current, and deliver substances to rodent neural tissue with great precision. The study investigated how the robots – ‘Magnetically Aligned Nanorods In Alginate CapsuleS’ (aka ‘Maniacs’) – could perform as drug delivery vehicles inside the body. It found that, when controlled using a magnetic field, the robots can move against fluid flow, climb slopes and move through neural tissue, such as the spinal cord, to deposit substances at precise locations...
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Fun Stuff 🚀

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

Open Calls/Submissions/Opportunities & Cool Projects

Open Calls, Submissions & Other Opportunities

Renovators Emerging Artists Project 2021 // Deadline - August 29th
Young artists have the power to light up the future. Through creative collaboration, inspiring science, technology and the wider community, artists hold the potential to ignite hope and create a future full of brighter possibilities.
Come together. Use the creative power of your art to light up the future.
Learn More & Apply

i-Pro Future Design Challenge // Deadline - August 31st
When you hear the word future, you may look forward to it with optimism. Going forward is seen as a positive thing, but there will still be challenges in the future. The Future Design Challenge is an effort to solve problems through the power of design. This challenge is for innovative students or other designers who want to help create the technology of the future.
Learn More & Apply

Call for papers: IxD&A Journal - Interaction Design & Architecture(s) Autumn 2021 issue
Speculative and Critical Design: Approaches & influences in education // Deadline September 9th

Speculative and Critical Design approaches and related Design Fiction practices are increasingly finding their place within interaction design and technology design educational programs. The guest editors of this special issue are partners in the SpeculativeEdu project (Speculative Design – Educational Resource Toolkit), funded by the European Union, to explore novel educational skills and practices for the 21st century, especially those focused on the critical relations between technology and people. 
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Processing 20th Anniversary Community Catalog | Call for Submissions // Deadline - October 1st
What does being a part of the Processing community mean to you? We’re creating a community catalog to celebrate all we’ve done together with Processing for the last 20 years! We hope you will consider contributing a page that represents how you’ve been a part of the community. You can share art you’ve made, code you’ve written, an event you organized, a workshop you taught, or anything else! Your page can be anything—a sketch, some writing, a photo, a screenshot, a collage, a poster, a mini-zine, etc! We hope to receive 1000s of pages! We’re excited to see what you share, and please share this call with your friends.
Learn More & Submit

Cool Projects

La Banlieue Du Turfu (Mostly in French but English version at bottom)
Part of the Banlieue du TURFU project aims to actively craft alternative narratives around the banlieues. A central part of this work consists of capturing the various narratives and values that emerge from the workshops (called Hypercubes) to find compelling metaphors, objects, spaces that can help transform the way the banlieue is seen and understood.
Check It Out

Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

List of Hypothetical Technologies // Wikipedia
Hypothetical technologies are technologies that do not exist yet, but that could exist in the future. They are distinct from emerging technologies, which have achieved some developmental success. Emerging technologies as of 2018 include 3-D metal printing and artificial embryos. Many hypothetical technologies have been the subject of science fiction. The criteria for this list are that the technology: Must not exist yet. If the technology does not have an existing article (i.e. it is "redlinked"), a reference must be provided for it.
Check It Out

Intrepid brewer risks scalding to recreate recipe for long-lost medieval mead // ArsTechnica
There are many different varieties of mead from all over the world. But bochet is a special variety because it calls for caramelized honey; additional spices are optional. This makes it attractive to craft brewers looking for something a little bit different—brewers like Gemma Tarlach, who recently detailed her experiments making bochet in a fascinating article for Atlas Obscura...
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Lisa Joy’s sci-fi movie Reminiscence lays out a terrible future by staring back at the past // Polygon
It takes place in a future where the big evils have already taken place, and there’s no sense that anyone can fight them. So instead, the characters fight their own smaller, more personal battles — against despair as much as anything else. Reminiscence doesn’t hold out a whole lot of hope for a better future, but it at least operates at a level that feels real and familiar, no matter how fantastical the actual details get...
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A Conversation with Cameron Blevins on the Operational History of the USPS // The Prepared
As American settlers headed west in covered wagons to make their fortunes, the United States postal service followed along in lockstep. The story of westward expansion in America is a story of empire through infrastructure - but not the carefully planned infrastructure that is familiar to us today. Cameron Blevins, associate professor at the University of Colorado Denver, uncovers and analyzes these trends in his new book, Paper Trails: The US Post and the Making of the American West...
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What I'm Reading

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

Ready Player One
Ernest Cline

The Space Merchants
Frederik Pohl

The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human
Jonathan Gottschall

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