SciFly // 140 // Remote Speculations Week 28/29

Speculative Events, News & Resources | 9/21

Hey SciFly Readers!

Welcome back to the new  BIWEEKLY  SciFly!!!

Hi friends! I know I sound like a broken-record by now, but ANOTHER super busy week with work, Design Future Initiative projects, and doing some local back and forth travel to watch my adorable kitty (who has been curled up asleep next to me for the last 3 hours wondering what the heck I'm still doing up).

So... going to keep it brief so I can finally get to bed and stop disappointing my baby by typing instead of cuddling him. <3

A Couple Quick Things

First of all, there are a bunch of really cool new projects and open calls that are coming up in the next couple of weeks! I have listed them all in the Fun Stuff section, so make sure to scroll down and see if anything strikes your fancy!

Second, I want to share a really important article that my partner turned me on to today regarding my local museum, and an emerging (at least into the news) pattern of issues with racism and silencing of BIPOC artists and designers. This hits really close to home, especially some of the information in this article about "Fellows" and "Interns" getting paid peanuts to basically run museum programs and act as curators. As someone who has worked within the nonprofit sector for years now, often in conjunction with city agencies, the worst part of reading this article wasn't my shock and surprise, rather a recognition of the several tactics, strategies, and behaviors I have seen perpetuated over and over in different places, at different times, in different ways. Really the most shocking part was seeing it all happen in once place, and the amount o research that must have gone into curating this article to bring this pattern to light.

Recently I have been talking to people about "What is the Future of Museums", especially in a time of social-distancing and reduced travel. I may not know what that future is, but I can assure you that it is the opposite direction of what is going on here.

Anyway, check out the article for yourself and see what you think.

Brooklyn Museum Employees Accuse Administration of Staff Mistreatment
Former and current workers have stepped forward to decry the behavior of executive leadership at the Brooklyn Museum, denouncing “the harm and daily mistreatment” of workers of color.

That's it for this week!
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, September 22 - Monday, September 28

Tuesday, September 22

Intro to 3D Design // 7pm - 8pm EDT // Free
Learn the basics of TinkerCAD, a simple online computer aided design app and start creating your own designs to 3D print for free in the Library. We'll go through placing shapes, moving them, adjusting the size and orientation, customising shapes and combining shapes to make anything you want.
Learn More

Pathways Through the Portal: Field Scan of Emerging Technologies // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
In this time of multiple crises, the world is deep in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic turmoil, and a historic uprising for Black liberation. It is a time of reckoning. Yet, as author Arundhati Roy writes, this time may also be seen as a portal, a "gateway between one world and the next." Emerging technologies will clearly be important to our passage through this portal. Can we develop new tools that will allow us to live with a degree of safety from the virus? Can we ensure that the technologies we develop do not unintentionally reinforce anti-Blackness and other forms of structural inequality? Which of many potential futures do we want to build together?
Learn More

Chinatown Futures, part of the Asian Art Museum's After Hope program // 8pm - 9:30pm EDT // Free
A conversation about contemporary Chinatown community organizing, development, and cultural production as expressions of hope. Reflecting on the context of COVID-19, life in single room occupancy (SRO) hotels, real estate speculation, and re-emerging anti-Asian racism across the country, how does a community develop a vision for its own future, and what is the role of activist artists?
Learn More

Brighter, Blacker Futures: Afrofuturism & Apocalypse // 8pm - 9:15pm // $0 - $6.50
Explore the mythic and media landscapes of the black radical imagination where afrofuturism and apocalypse meet with artist and mythologist Dr. Li Sumpter. Get familiar with key concepts of world building and contemporary mythmaking through the lens of popular media, afrofuturism and current local and global crises. From climate change and coronavirus to racial injustice and food insecurity, Dr. Sumpter will examine thematic connections between speculative fiction and historic headlines, revealing archetypal and aesthetic patterns of apocalypse.
Learn More

Wednesday, September 23

Shaping the future of restaurants // 6:30pm - 8:30pm EDT // Free
Have your eating habits been affected by the lockdown? Can food still bring us together in social-distancing times? How do you feel about the new experience in restaurants ? How are the recent events impacting the way you choose restaurants you go to? These questions and many others will be discussed by a panel of Montreal restaurant professionals in an interactive and intimate TEDxMontréalSalon.
Learn More

The Future of the Planet: Food Systems // 4pm - 5pm // Free
What will the future of our food systems look like and how will our food security be impacted? The panel will be moderated by Po Bronson, Managing Director at IndieBio and author of Decoding the World: A Roadmap for the Questioner.
Learn More

Imagining New Worlds // 2pm - 4pm EDT // £0 – £10
After abolition: what next? Abolition is not just about tearing everything down, it’s about imagining and building new, revolutionary futures. Racial capitalism prevents us from the vital work of imagining different futures. But when we can find ways to create, speculate, envisage, together, the possibilities are endless. Art is one path of abolition and rebuilding, for our movements, our politics, our environments, our histories and ourselves. To imagine new worlds is to start creating them.
Learn More

Roski Talk: Peter Wu+ // 1pm - 2pm EDT // Free
Peter Wu + generates artworks and immersive environments utilizing animation software, projection mapping, 3D printing, and machine learning. Thematically, he draws upon the genre of science fiction to investigate our estrangement associated with technological advancement and modernity. In 2020, he founded and created EPOCH Gallery, an artist-run virtual experiment. In 2019, Wu was awarded the COLA Individual Artist Fellowship and the Public Art Division commission with Los Angeles World Airports Arts Exhibition Program to be completed in 2021. He received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his BFA from the University of Windsor. Wu + + lives and works in Los Angeles.
Learn More

Making Art from Data // 8am - 9am EDT // Free
We bring together some of the world's leading art and tech professionals from Israel and the UK, whose practice intersects art, technology and science. With a focus on how their artistic work is inspired and influenced by tech and science, we will discuss how in an ever-changing world, never has the need for an innovative and collaborative approach to solve society's most pressing needs, and answer the most urgent questions for our future, been more vital.
Learn More

CHI Virtual Speaker Series // 2pm - 3pm EDT // Free
In this talk, Dr. Yong Zeng will discuss the mechanism behind human design creativity. Based on Yerkes-Dodson law, which states that human performance and mental stress are related in a manner of inversed U curve, human creativity is assumed to be related to mental stresses that appear in the creative process. Mental stress is defined as a ratio between the perceived workload and the mental capacity, which is a result of interactions between rationality and emotion. Dr. Zeng and his team have used EEG and ECG to quantify human affective and cognitive states during decision making. The data have been analyzed by AI based methods available in the literature or developed in-house. The in-house methods include questionnaire design, linguistic analysis of unstructured texts, and EEG segmentation and analysis tool. Their research has been applied to aerospace design, pilot training, software design, policy design, research design, learning and education design, questionnaire design and organization design.
Learn More

Building Black-Inclusive Worlds: A panel in partnership with FIYAHCON // 4pm EDT // Free
Fantasy and science fiction often include worlds inspired by real-life cultures. Even though these genres should be imagining new ways forward, too many times, drawing upon the cultural experiences of others has created harm and frustration among the groups most in need of SFF’s transformative power. Identities are mined to create an easily codified other, and the diversity within these groups is potently erased. For Black people especially, the idea of a monolithic identity is a concept constantly railed against. How can these fantastic worlds do a better job of including the full spectrum of Blackness?
Learn More

Silas Munro: Bearing Witness: A Designer’s Struggle for Integrity // 9pm - 10pm EDT // Free
In the fall of 1962, James Baldwin gave a lecture at Community Church in New York City entitled “The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity.” The speech was later broadcast via Radio on WBAI. In the talk, Baldwin grapples with defining terms like “artist” or “integrity.” He concludes that an artist or designer must confront the dilemma that they are “bearing witness helplessly to something which everybody knows, and nobody wants to face.” Munro will explore how his mutable practice as a designer, educator, writer, researcher, historian, poet, surfer, and activist has attempted to create a form of integrity in the face of racism, homophobia, classism, stigma, and other forms of exclusion. This attempt at integration is reflected in his lived experience as a queer biracial man and the experiences of his clients and students. Munro is particularly interested in the often unaddressed post-colonial relationship between design and marginalized communities. His practice sheds light, opens up space, and speculates on new futures for more inclusive design disciplines.
Learn More

Andrew Goodman: The Secret Life of Algorithms // 1am - 2am EDT // Free
The Secret Life of Algorithms: speculation on queered futures of neurodiverse analgorithms. Algorithmic modes of thought have long and problematic histories of collusion in processes of governmentality, dating at least back to the Atlantic slave trade and including the othering of neurodiverse, black and indigenous, and queer cultures. But beyond their instrumentation within systems of power, in this presentation I will propose that at the foundation level of algorithmic design there are a series of assumptions about what constitutes legitimate thought processes. These assumptions are based on neurotypical modes of thought and often ignore the possibilities of more neurodiverse thinking, which is regularly devalued in our society. This naturalised “whiteness” that lies at the centre of and colonises algorithmic programming needs to be interrogated and rethought, I will argue, in order to break the relationships between algorithms and oppressive power systems.
Learn More

Thursday, September 24

Installation: Design for the Future // 9/24, 2pm - 9/27, 9pm EDT // Free
Each year, the LA Design Festival hosts one special exhibition or show. This year, we’ve curated a series of vitrines in collaboration with Liqui to showcase independent designers and brands who we think embody this year’s theme of “Design for the Future.” Diverse in aesthetic, discipline and materials, this creative cross-section of the LA design scene demonstrates why LA is such fertile ground.
Learn More

COVID-19 and the Future of Democracy // 3pm - 4:15pm EDT // Free
Democracy exists beyond the structures of government and voting. At a basic level, democracy is about bringing people together to shape the decisions that affect us all. Right now, individuals and groups are re-imagining our policies, our culture and how power works in our systems as well as our day-to-day lives. In this installment of Distant, Not Disengaged, we explore what the pandemic is teaching us about how people are organizing, stepping up and creating lasting change. What is the recipe that turns advocacy efforts into wide-spread social movements? How will this shape the future of our democracy?
Learn More

Future of Design NYC // 9/24 & 9/29, 12:30pm - 2pm // Free
The theme of Future of Design NYC 2020 is Acceleration & Deceleration. Designers and related built environment professionals are often caught between the fast-paced flexibility that a project demands and the slow pace of change of industry practices. This year’s program will evaluate the effects of acceleration on the built environment and on designing with social responsibility; it will also explore ideas and innovative practices that developed as a result of - or in an attempt to better harness - those shifts.
Learn More

DISRUPT the Fowler: Lauren Lee McCarthy // 8pm - 9pm EDT // Free
Lauren Lee McCarthy is a DISRUPTOR in tech and academia. An artist and computer programmer, she creates work that invites deep examination of the intimate relationship between technology and human behavior. Lauren actively creates opportunities for WOC, mixed-race, and under-represented groups to present their work in new media fine art spaces, increasing accessibility and visibility for these artists within the art industry. Her development of P5.JS, an open source platform for learning creative expression through code, is a testament to her continuous effort to disrupt the patriarchal systems within the realms of technology.
Learn More

Megacity London: Engineering Our Future - Live Q&A // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
Megacity London: Engineering our Future is an online season exploring the city’s future through the lens of engineers and artists, as London’s population rises above 10 million. Artists Sprankenstein and Stephanie Bickford-Smith collaborated with a team of graduate engineers from Mott MacDonald and Buro Happold to create a futuristic vision of London. They went on to develop artworks inspired by the engineering projects tackling the challenges London will face above and below ground when it becomes a megacity.
Learn More

I am Echoborg Online // 3pm - 4:30pm EDT // Donation
From the comfort of your own sofa, will you join a team of brave souls and negotiate the future of humanity with an Artificial Intelligence? Perfectly well adapted from the stage to the Zoom screen, this participatory show is created in real-time by your conversations with a state-of-the-art self-learning AI from Robo-Recruit. It speaks through a human, an echoborg, and it wants you to become an echoborg too. Who is in charge here? In this high-stakes encounter you are challenged with agreeing the best possible outcome for the relationship between humans and intelligent machines. The show was devised by award-winning writer/ director Rik Lander and conversational AI expert Phil D Hall. Marie-Helene Boyd is the echoborg.
Learn More

Design Informatics Webinar // 11pm - 12pm EDT // Free
Within academia, the corporate sector, and many areas of public and social policy, contemporary research has to now demonstrate its wider impact/s. Research impact centres on the understanding that generating knowledge by conducting research should contribute, benefit, influence and transform the environment, culture, as well as the wider society. So how relevant are traditional approaches when disseminating research data in today’s mediatized worlds? Furthermore, how do researcher’s move beyond the confines of traditional approaches to sharing their research. For those researchers who favour a ‘performative approach’ employing the ‘data verbalization’ method creates an exciting new proposition. ‘Data Verbalization’ is about ‘communicating’ & ‘disseminating’ research data using spoken word, hip-hop, and theatre, (Glynn, 2017).
Learn More

Test/Break - prototyping Dark Bravado & My Undying Futurism // 2:30pm - 4pm EDT // Free
Columbia DSL is excited to announce a new monthly prototyping series entitled Test/Break. 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...). 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.
Learn More

Friday, September 25

Future Scenarios Workshop: Predicting the Zeitgeist // 2pm - 4pm EDT // $100
This workshop offers a futurist approach to forecasting future scenarios. Predicting the Zeitgeist is a workshop experience for anyone interested in decoding the future. The technique taught in this workshop involves small groups guided along a creative process of social analysis on the basis of generational change. Participants will learn how to use this process to reveal the current and future zeitgeist ("spirit of the times").
Learn More

Science in Science Fiction - Back to the Future // 2pm - 3pm EDT // Free
We'll be looking at films we know and love, plus a few films you might not have heard of to explore the fact behind the fiction.  In this first event of a new season, join our very own 'Doc Brown' for an evening looking at the science of Back to the Future. Is time travel really possible? From general relativity to multiple dimensions, get ready to hit 88mph in our quest to understand the laws of time!
Learn More

Uploading: New Futures in Progress // 9/25, 6am - 9/27, 3am EDT // Free
Uploading is a weekend of artist-generated futures-in-progress. Amidst a pandemic, lockdowns, an increasingly decimated landscape for federal arts funding and a climate of uncertainty, Uploading’s twelve live artists have asked what other worlds might be possible. These brave new works ask how we can move from states of emergency to states of emergence, and how art might flourish in a new, viral reality.
Learn More

#ObsidianVoices Fall 2020 // 7pm EDT // Free
Speculating Futures: Black Imagination FEATURING Walidah Imarisha, Reynaldo Anderson & Arthur Flowers. Moderated by Sheree Renée Thomas. Dr. Reynaldo Anderson currently serves as Associate Professor of Communication and Chair of the Humanities department at Harris-Stowe State University in Saint Louis, Missouri, and is Past Chair of the Black Caucus of the National Communication Association (NCA). Reynaldo publishes extensively in the area of Afrofuturism, communication studies, and the African diaspora experience.
Learn More

Post-Radical Design Pedagogy Lecture Series - Ari Melenciano // 4pm - 5:30pm EDT // Free
In this talk, Ari Melenciano describes her research, practice and pedagogical approach to design in speculating and building futures that are ecologically-centered, equitable, and pluralistic. Ari will share her research on indigenous and African practices and technologies, Afrocentric pedagogical designs, and the intersectional community building process of Afrotectopia.
Learn More

Saturday, September 26

Future Tech Festival // 9/26 - 9/27 // Free
Join us for a 2-day online global Future Tech Festival! Participate in emerging technology panels, recruitment sessions, and, during break time, enjoy interactive music performances by published musicians. Our 2-day event is entirely free and aims to educate and inspire those interested in emerging technologies and discovering new music. 
Learn More

Conversations with Tomorrow: Future-Tense Storytelling with Scott Sharplin // 9/26, 10/3 // Free
No one knows what tomorrow may bring… so let’s make something up! This future-focused workshop is designed for writers and storytellers of all levels of experience. Learn skills including block-busting writing practice, narrative structure, and exposition during this free 3-hour workshop.
Learn More

Story I/O - Trust in the Age of Deepfakes and Bots // 10:30am - 3:30pm EDT // Free
Story I/O returns Saturday, September 26th for a special virtual day of storytelling, design, play and collaboration. This marks the 4th edition of Columbia DSL’s annual prototyping event. Together we will explore the theme of “Digital Literacy in the Age of Misinformation and Deception..” The underlying technology behind deepfakes is rapidly accelerating, which has only exacerbated frittering trust in our institutions and increased polarization. The ability to manipulate video, audio and text is being weaponized to sow deception by seeding alternate narratives of reality. To further compound the issue advances in technology far outpace changes in policymaking and large technology companies find themselves woefully ill equipped even if they wanted to squash large scale mis and disinformation efforts on their platforms.

Sunday, September 27

Screens: A Hands-On History // 12pm - 1:30pm // Free
Join Soft Monitor Studio in a collaborative lecture where we will look at the history and speculate on the future of screens and displays across time and space. We will contemplate the past, present, and future roles of textiles in communication looking to precedents like the Jacquard Loom, Quipu, American Quilts, and others. Come ready to explore the nature of and mechanisms behind information communication.
Learn More

Monday, September 28

Nothing to Report!

WEEK 2 - Tuesday, September 29 - Monday, October 5

Tuesday, September 29

Future Sessions with Modernist Studio: Conversations with Cultural Leaders // 6:30pm - 9:00pm EDT // Free
You’re tired of sitting at the computer listening to virtual meetings and hoping no one will notice your quarantine hair. We get it—we are, too. In this inspiring evening conversation, we’re looking at the relationship between Design, Culture, and Sustainability. Cultural leaders are coming together to answer the questions of: Move fast and fix things. Can we embrace speed AND sustainability? We were promised jetpacks. Why can’t we build the future the way we imagine it?
Learn More

Wednesday, September 30

Fashion: An Alternative Future // 2pm - 4pm EDT // Free
Can combining craft, bio-materials and technology assist in resolving issues of waste in the fashion industry? Bio-designer Cassie Quinn and PhD researcher Oonagh O'Hagan are marrying up these ideas to create a speculative new fashion world. Join them in this alternative future.
Learn More

Art in Flux & National Gallery X "Levitations" transformative media art // 1:30pm - 3pm EDT // Free
Humans have always pursued transformative experiences consistently throughout our known history. However, only recently, there has been a resurgence, mainly through research in psychotherapy and neuroscience, attempting to better understand the processes behind these experiences. How to create them? What is their effect? And could they have a positive impact? In this evening of immersive existential inquiry, “Levitations” will explore how media artists, scientists and researchers are creating experiences for therapeutic purposes with the intention of transforming our society. Can media art experiences have a positive impact on our body, mind and our society as a whole? Can these artistic experiences help us to “levitate” into a better future?
Learn More

Y-Exchange: Talking About Art and Science // 9pm - 10:30pm EDT // Free
Y-EXCHANGE is a monthly series of presentations about performing arts, technology and science and how they intersect and inform each other, in which selected artists and scientists are invited to talk about their life and work. Each artist will present their work in 25-minute talks followed by a 15-min Q&A with participants. Y-Exchange takes place on the last Wednesday of every month, and always free and open to the public. Since 2014, Y-Exchange has featured hundreds of artists and scientists from all over the world!
Learn More

Engineering x Design // 6pm - 7pm EDT // Free
Engineering X Design is a series of fireside chats with professionals who work at the intersection of design, engineering and technology. Through this informal series, we hope to encourage cross-disciplinary conversations about problem solving and innovation between our guests, NYU Students and outside visitors. Join us for our chat with Wayne Suiter Matamoros, Managing Director of Product & Experience for Unreasonable Group.
Learn More

Disruptive Tech in Education - Pods, Tools & Tips // 6pm EDT // Free
Educators have long known about inequalities in internet and technology among students, disproportionately impacting Black, Hispanic, Native American, and low-income families. But now, as many school districts begin the year with at least some online learning, the students without these resources are at risk of falling farther behind. These back-to-school tech tips only scratch the surface of the support needed as millions of North American adults and kids juggle remote work, online learning, and hybrid schedules that mix in-person interaction with virtual instruction.
Learn More

Thursday, October 1

Queer Directions Symposium: Queer Futures // 4pm - 6pm EDT // Free
The Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies invites you to join us for what will be our fourth annual Queer Directions Symposium. Queer Futures will feature guest speakers Kara Keeling, Kadji Amin, Qwo-Li Driskill, and Aimee Bahng.
Learn More

Writing into an Uncertain Future // 7pm - 8:30pm EDT // Free
Okay, yes, the future is always uncertain. And for sure, it seems even more uncertain now than it did last year when we dreamed up this panel. And maybe you’re sick of contemplating the uncertain future—so let this panel of speculative fiction writers do it for you! Join Cory Doctorow, Thea Lim, and Catherine Hernandez in conversation with Stephanie Domet about how writers engage with the often crisis-laden news of the day and imagine possible outcomes of and perhaps even solutions to some of the pressing environmental, social, and technological issues that we face.
Learn More

Friday, October 2

A fusion future // 1pm - 1:45pm EDT // Free
What if we could harness the energy of stars to power our homes? Join researchers on this quest for securing safe and reliable electricity by learning how fusion, the process that keeps the sun shining, might soon help humanity transition to a low-carbon future. Meet the scientists and engineers at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and find out how world-class research in physics, materials science and innovative engineering is leading the way in developing fusion technologies.
Learn More

The Adjacent Possible // 2pm - 3pm EDT // Free
The Adjacent Possible mixes music performance, storytelling, and technology that converts the audience into an orchestra. The project culminates in the recording of an orchestral piece - the first and last ever to be performed. No musical experience required. We don’t use your video or audio so there is no need to get dressed up for us :-)
Learn More

The Eugie Foster Symposium for Speculative Fiction // 1pm - 5pm EDT // Free
The Eugie Foster Symposium for Speculative Fiction brings together science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors, editors, and scholars from around the world. The Eugie Foster Memorial Award for Short Fiction (or Eugie Award), honors stories that are beautiful, thoughtful, passionate, and that change both individual readers and the field of speculative fiction as a whole. This annual award is presented at Dragon Con, the nation’s largest fan-run convention.
Learn More

Saturday, October 3

DIY Solutions to End Tech Pain by Dasha Ilina // 8:30am - 10:00am EDT // Free
DIY Solutions to End Tech Pain is a workshop focused on imagining DIY objects against health problems that arise from technology, using materials you can find in your own home. This workshop will be taking place online, so the main focus will be sketching and conceptualising the various low-tech solutions, in order to create a discussion around the impact technology has on our physical and mental health. If you have ever experienced eye dryness from staring at a screen for too long or neck pain from looking down at your phone too much, this workshop is for you!
Learn More

Future of Retail - Futures Wheels, Triangles and Robots // 11am - 1:30pm EDT // Free
Join us for our next Big Foresight Meetup all about the Future of Retail as we explore the trends and changes coming to a store near you.This meetup will include a special guest (Let's call him "Jonathan", cuz that's his name). He works in the Dallas, TX innovation lab for a large retailer that is already experimenting with cashier-free checkouts, machine vision and some "secret concepts" we might be able to tease out of him if we really, really try. We'll make use of foresight methods including Future Wheels and Triangles to imagine how changes in retail might evolve over the next few years. It won't all go smoothly which is why we will explore the potential pitfalls and glitches that could happen on our way to retail nirvana.
Learn More

Sunday, October 4

Nothing to Report!

Monday, October 5

Defusing Barriers to Discovery // 7:30pm - 8:45pm EDT // $0 - $5
Long Now Boston is excited to welcome artists Nicole L’Huillier and Nathan Miner to our Conversation Series. This conversation will explore artistic research as a place of possibilities; an open-ended strategy of experimentation and failure that can lead to new modes of thinking and that reframes knowledge conventions. Knowledge can be a barrier to discovery, and as a species, humans are geared towards preemptive knowing without going deep. Art can undermine our habits of knowing and, as a form of resistance to our preconceived notions, it can erode presumptive knowledge to a core that is alive with multiplicities and alternative possibilities.
Learn More

The Aesthetic Brain: Anjan Chatterjee on Beauty, Buildings, and Art // 12pm - 1pm EDT // Free
Anjan Chatterjee, the author of The Aesthetic Brain: How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art, uses the latest advances in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology to takes us on a journey through the world of art, pleasure, and creativity, addressing such fundamental questions as: What is beauty? Is it universal? Should art be beautiful, and do we have an instinct for art?
Learn More

Art of the Thick Present: Writing Workshop & Lab // 10/5, 7pm - 10/26, 9pm EDT // Donation
Humans have been given speech—which, in many cosmological accounts, marks us as holy. Speech has the capacity to repair and sustain our relationships with(in) the world. This workshop + lab is geared towards poets and writers interested in meeting these unprecedented times with an approach to writing rooted in relationship with the living world, thick with presences as well as histories. In the first session, we investigate the nature of sound, fragment, and calling back wholeness. Then we approach art as knowledge created in relationship. With the next class, we speculate on the relationship between poetry and futures. In the final class, we will stay with the changing self, discussing form and revision strategies.
Learn More

Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 

[Bio'nd] x Food Fiction // Speculative Futures Berlin // Wed, 9/23, 11am - 12:30pm EDT // Free
⚡️ Speculative Futures Berlin is back! ⚡️
After a long pause due to the worldwide pandemic, we are making our comeback in a new digital format – live from Museum für Naturkunde Berlin!

The way we eat is the way we shape our planet.

As our eating behavior has become a complex interaction of science, technology, culture as well as local and global systems, the quest for solutions should no longer focus on what we eat in the near futures, but on the how.

“Food Fictions”, a project by the Center for Responsible Research and Innovation (CeRRI) of Fraunhofer IAO, focuses on how we grow, produce, process and share our food. 🍊🌽
  • How can we rethink existing food systems and stakeholders’ roles (wholesale, gastronomy, consumer and agriculture)?
  • Where are the boundaries between consumer and producer?
  • What role do eating cultures and traditions play?
  • How can bioeconomic approaches lead to new solutions?
Five object-based future scenarios were developed in cooperation with experts from the science community, and translated into a speculative pop-up exhibition and “Cooking the Future” participatory workshops with edible artifacts. The exhibition is set up at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, which you will be able to explore digitally.
Learn More & Attend

Futures Literacy series with Dr. Lonny Brooks // Speculative Futures Los Angeles // Wed, 9/23, 3pm - 4pm EDT & Wed, 9/30, 3pm - 4pm EDT // Free
Collective Future and Speculative Futures LA are organizing a series of online presentations and conversations to explore futures-based practices. Join us for our next two sessions, moderated by Ronni Kimm. 

Session 1 / Afrofuturism 2.0 and Imagining Afrofutures
Brooks will speak about Afrofuturism 2.0 and Black Speculative responses to re-envision broken systems and bring the spirit of the Black Panther Party and Wakanda/Okanda into reality and shape-shifting form. Dr. Brooks develops a wider Afrocentric perspective that champions Black storytelling and imagination, to push beyond the colonial mindset into an expanded vision of possible futures. 

Session 2/ Afro-Rithms From The Future where Black Futures Matter 
Explore with us as we play a world building game where Black Futures matter! Afro-Rithms From The Future is a forecasting game that suggests that by changing the traditional white, patriarchal normative gaze of racism and lens through which we normally view the world, we can change the game to expand alternative perceptions  where Black and BIPOC futures are central. The term Afro-Rithms is intentionally used to center the ubiquity of algorithms in our digital society to shift the digital lens that further reinforces and perpetuates dominant inequities to enable us to expand our range of possible and more equitable, liberating multiverses. What does Los Angeles and California look like in 2030 with more Black Storytelling and more Black Feminist Leadership?
Learn More & Register

Ongoing Events

Reconstruct The Internet ● Digital Adaptation // (multiple dates, July - October) // Donation
"a homage to the limitless future/s possibilities for the internet ecosystem" Reconstruct The Internet is an exploration of our emotional needs in the digital age and a space to speculate alternative internet ecosystems. this interactive workshop sees participants reimagine the internet ecosystem outside the digital economy and instead focus on the emotional needs the internet help us meet ⁠— both individually and collectively.
Learn More

Technologies of the Future (Weekly LIVE Webinar and Q & A) // SingularityU Australia // Thursdays, 7pm EST (9am Friday in Australia) // Free
Weekly live webinar of 30 minutes with 20 minutes Q&A The SingularityU community's predictions for the countdown to the Singularity.
Learn More

🔥Wonderville Livestream Events
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in NYC, Wonderville is closed until further notice. As you may know, this is probably my favorite bar in all of NYC. I highly recommend you check out their new remote content!!! A great way for people not in NYC to get a taste of just how awesome they are! They have set up a Twitch channel to try to stream some of their DJ nights and live music events. Their events page is now 100% streaming. They also have a Discord discussion if folks want to play some games online or talk to us about hosting something. Email if you want to join!

Check out Wonderville's Livestream!
Support Wonderville on WithFriends


Speculative News & Resources 📰

News and resources about emerging technology, speculative practice, and futures design. I'll try to put anything explicitly COVID-19 related at the end, in case you need a break from doom-scrolling!

Attack Surface: A New Little Brother Book by Cory Doctorow // Kickstarter
In 2008, Cory Doctorow published Little Brother, a New York Times bestselling YA novel of resistance to authoritarianism. it's been published in dozens of languages and, translated and distributed to underground resistance movements in Myanmar and Iran. It's been repeatedly adapted for the stage and optioned for film. In 2013, he published Homeland, the New York Times bestselling sequel, a book that Edward Snowden took with him when he went into exile when he fled Hong Kong. Now, seven years later, he is releasing a third Little Brother book, Attack Surface. It's a standalone novel aimed at adults, telling the story of Masha, the DHS surveillance operative who appears at the beginning and end of the first two novels. After spending a lifetime hunting the resistance in San Francisco, jihadi militias in Iraq, and the pro-democracy underground in the former USSR, Masha has to confront the moral dimension of her life's work. 
Learn More & Support

Meet the Computer Scientist Who Helped Push for Paper Ballots // Dark Reading
Barbara Simons has been fighting for secure elections for two decades. But the award-winning computer scientist, who's also well-versed in voting technology and its security vulnerabilities, doesn't consider herself a security expert. Everything she's learned about election security, she says, came from hanging out with security experts. "My job had nothing to do with security. My training is in computer science," she says. "I've never hacked [a] machine ... [but] I think I could learn [how to]," she says...
Read More

Smartphones Can Predict Brain Function Associated with Anxiety, Depression // Dartmouth News
Information on social activity, screen time and location from smartphones can predict connectivity between regions of the brain that are responsible for emotion, according to a study from Dartmouth College. In the research, data from phone usage was analyzed alongside results from fMRI scans to confirm that passively collected information can mirror activity in the brain linked to traits such as anxiety.  Predictions based solely on the phone data matched the brain scans with 80 percent accuracy...
Read More

Technology is Nature | Reviewing Koert van Mensvoort’s Next Nature // Theo Ploeg // Speculative Now
There are two options: man dies out or becomes part of the next evolutionary level. The vision of the future Koert van Mensvoort outlines in Next Nature seems like a doom scenario anyway, but in this book, he offers us tools to survive. We, as humans can anticipate and adjust when we become aware of the inevitable future. Key is that we let go of thinking in nature and technology as opposites and understand that technology is our next nature. That idea is not new.
Read More

We Ran Our Online Election Disinformation Simulation Game And There's Plenty To Be Worried About // TechDirt
Back at the end of January, you may recall that we wrote about Threatcast 2020, an in-person election disinformation brainstorming simulation that we had created last year -- created in partnership between our think tank organization, the Copia Institute, and Randy Lubin of Leveraged Play. The game was developed as an in person brainstorming exercise to look at various strategies that might be used to engage in (and counter) disinformation and misinformation strategies around the 2020 election. We had hoped to run the event throughout this year.
Read More

Anticipating the Feeling Economy // Communications of the ACM
Workers looking over their shoulders in angst at the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) may have a consolation: if they're emotionally intelligent, they're going to be prized in the new AI economy, according to researchers at University of Maryland and National Taiwan University. "If humans want jobs, they better get good at feeling," says Roland Rust, Distinguished University Professor, David Bruce Smith Chair in Marketing, and Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Service & Center for Complexity in Business at the University of Maryland. A member of a research team that studied the coming 'Feeling Economy', Rust says, "Things like interpersonal relationships and emotional intelligence will be much more important."
Read More

Video Gaming in Lockdown: The impact of Covid-19 on video game play behaviours and attitudes // ISFE
The start of 2020 saw the spread of Covid-19 (or coronavirus)
across the world. Many countries – including those in which we run GameTrack – were seriously impacted by the pandemic, imposing national lockdowns and restricting the movement of people. During this time, we have seen shifting patterns of behaviour, particularly when it comes to media habits. Streaming services such as Netflix saw their usage surge (so much so they had to place limitations on usage) and people began to adopt new services, including the newly launched Disney+.
Read More

Generative Design's Many Strange Shapes // Design News
Here are some objects, products, and even buildings created from generative design tools. Generative design has regained attention with the 3D printing boom. Generative design is spreading its wings, moving from the replacement of basic machine parts to designing factories, public buildings, spacesuits, even individual medical devices. Generative design was born in the auto industry. It gained renewed attention with the boom of 3D printing over the past few years. It has since expanded into architecture, medical orthopedics, and art. Here’s a few of the particularly interesting generative design projects...
Read More

What Two Billion People Pay Attention to Is Still in the Hands of a Few Companies // Singularity Hub
With increasing frequency, I notice sudden silences, like sonic black holes opening around me. There’ll be the white noise of a person puttering about followed by a profound ceasing of movement. Inevitably, I find somebody frozen in the middle of a room or open doorway, eyes glued to the screen. Talking to them is no use, because talking assumes presence. That our attention is a commodity in the information age is no secret. The so-called attention economy has been one of the biggest tech stories of the last half decade (at least). And yet the narrative detailing the internet’s insatiable appetite for eyeballs and brains has only become more poignant...
Read More

A Citizen Science Dinner Party at the Social Observatory: Involving Humans In Science To Do Science For Humanity // The New Modality
Zarinah Agnew, a neuroscientist with a Ph.D. from Imperial College London, gave her dinner party guests about fifteen minutes to finish their tea and complete the demographic questionnaires lying next to their napkins. While they were working, Agnew walked around the room and placed a small black envelope by each of the place settings. Once everyone was ready, she explained how the next part of the experiment was going to work...
Read More

Reconstructing Journalistic Scenes in 3D // NYTimes R&D
A goal of journalism is to bear witness to history as faithfully as possible. This is especially true for photo and video journalists, who put themselves close to the action in order to visually document events. Visual journalists are always searching for new technologies to help them capture more detail and get the news out faster. But they’ve operated within the constraints of a camera lens, a two-hundred-year-old technology that gives readers a single, 2D representation of an event. What if we could break free of the rectangle and let readers experience a setting the same way the journalist did? Instead of just looking at a photo of a space, what if we could move through it?
Read more

Facebook's Project Aria is test-driving tech for AR glasses on real-world people this year // CNET
We won't be wearing our magic Tony Stark AR smartglasses this year, or the year after, or maybe not even the year after that. Although Facebook is already working on smartglasses with Luxottica, those won't be world-sensing mixed reality devices yet. But Facebook's Project Aria is ready to start mapping the real world with a head-worn sensor array being deployed to 100 or so testers in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area starting this month. The company announced the news Wednesday at its virtual Facebook Connect conference.
Read More

Public Webcams Are Telling Us Whether People Are Social Distancing // New Scientist
Social distancing is one of the main weapons in the fight against the coronavirus – and computer scientists have used a database of public cameras to keep track of how well we are following the guidelines. Since April, Isha Ghodgaonkar at Purdue University, Indiana, and her colleagues have gathered around 0.5 terabytes of data per week from 11,140 public cameras connected to the internet...
Read More

This isn’t science fiction: The military considered using heat rays on protesters // FastCompany
On June 1, Trump displayed one of the most telling moments of his presidency, as he deployed the National Guard to clear out protesters from Lafayette Square and St. John’s Church near the White House for his own photo opp. The Guard fired tear gas and rubber bullets to do so. The response to citizens was not just painfully cruel, but truly dangerous. Rubber bullets are known to maim and even kill, and exposure to tear gas has been linked with a greater propensity for long-term bronchitis. That night in the square, protesters were beaten with batons, rammed with riot shields, shot with rubber bullets, and left with lingering injuries. Now a new report shows that the military police had attempted to acquire another weapon from the National Guard to oppress protesters that night: a heat ray...
Read More

Researchers Made A QAnon AI Bot Because Things Aren’t Already Bad Enough, Apparently // Gizmodo
So you may have heard about GPT-3, the new language-based AI technology that you can train to produce human-like text. Since it was launched, people have been trying to test the limits of this exciting, powerful tool. And their latest experiment? Teaching it to believe the ridiculous and dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory, of course. Yesterday, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey researchers released a report investigating how extremists could weaponise the neural language technology. As part of this, they had experimented with forcing the GPT-3 model to “integrate its innate foundation of niche knowledge with ideological bias”. This means they fed it some conspiracy gobbledegook to see if it would spit it back to them.
Read More

Fun Stuff 🚀

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

News, Articles & Interesting Projects

Homeward Bound: An Online Festival of, by, and for everyone stuck inside [CALL] // Deadline 9/30
Homeward Bound has been coming along, and we're able to do some really exciting things. We've fixed some bugs and we've got some new features that we think allows you to do some really amazing things. We're re-opening the open call to bring in more great projects and performances to the space. Quarantine is weird. Let’s get weird indoors and work within the boundaries, we’ve created, or that were created for us.
Learn More & Submit

Pioneer Works | Call for Residency [RESIDENCY] // Deadline 9/30/20
PW's Visual Arts, Technology, Music, and Narrative Arts Residency programs provide free space and access to a variety of resources—3D printers, a laser cutter, a sound booth, a kiln, a Risograph, large format printers and scanners, virtual reality headsets, and more—with the belief that by working together under one roof in close proximity, each program’s energies and ideas can be shared. Upon completing their residency, residents join our extensive Alumni Resident network. Pioneer Works Alumni Residents enjoy benefits like networking and social events, the opportunity to propose classes at Pioneer Works, and potential consideration for Pioneer Works’ or partner organizations’ exhibitions, art fairs, residencies, and projects.
Learn More & Apply

TOHacks x echoAR: "The Great AR/VR Challenge" [CALL] // Deadline 10/3/20
A virtual 3-week challenge for augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) enthusiasts hosted by TOHacks and sponsored by echoAR. Teams of students and young entrepreneurs will collaborate with industry professionals to develop an AR/VR-based solution to a particular problem. Participants will be judged on their final deliverable, creativity, originality, technical prowess, presentation skills, and more. The event will be an all-inclusive challenge targeted towards AR/VR enthusiasts all over the world. The theme of the challenge will be addressing COVID-19 related concerns and supporting affected individuals, groups, and industries. The AR/VR project submissions can be designed to address any challenges related to the post-COVID-19 world, such as: Healthcare, remote work and coordination, training, education and remote schooling, data visualization, anxiety and depression, online dating and relationship building, and more.
Learn More & Apply

WFR Call for Submissions: Design Fiction/Experiential Futures [CALL] // Deadline 11/30/20
World Futures Review is seeking design fiction/experiential futures to include in our upcoming 2021 issues. We are specifically seeking new images of the future that aim to shift perceptions and values and/or catalyze change. The images should be compelling, thought-provoking, and challenge the imagination and our ideas of what the future might bring.
Learn More & Apply

Zoom Obscura - Expressions of Interest [CALL] // Deadline 10/8/20
CI researchers Pip Thornton, Chris Elsden and Chris Speed were recently awarded funding from the Human Data Interaction Network (HDI +) Ethics & Data competition. Collaborating with researchers from Durham and KCL, as well as the Open Data Institute in London and Edinburgh based Tinderbox, the Zoom Obscura project aims to investigate creative interventions for a data ethics of video conferencing beyond encryption. While much of the narrative around data security revolves around technological ‘solutions’ such as encryption, we think there are other – more creative – ways to push back against the systems of digital capitalism that continue to encroach on our everyday lives. As part of this HDI-funded project, we seek artists, hackers and creative technologists who are interested in experimenting with creative methods to join us in a series of online workshops that will explore how to restore some control and agency in how we can be seen and heard in these newly ubiquitous online spaces. Through three half-day workshops held remotely, we will bring artists and technicians together to ideate, prototype, and exhibit various interventions into the rapidly normalising culture of video-calling in ways that do not compromise our privacy and limit the sharing of our data. We invite interventions that begin at any stage of the video-calling process – from analogue obfuscation, to software manipulation or camera trickery.
Learn More & Apply

Interaction Awards 2021 [CALL] // Deadline 10/31/20
Design is everywhere. From architecture to fashion, down to the simplest everyday objects like a hairbrush, virtually everything has been designed for human use. Interaction Design is specifically about people — how people interact with each other, and with the world around them. The Interaction Awards honor best-in-class work, created by interaction designers all over the world, that builds meaningful relationships between people and the products and services that they use. We recognize outstanding Interaction Design from all over the world, welcoming work that is created by individuals, companies, as well as students.
Learn More & Submit

A pellet shot of micro-futures [Project]
Another awesome project shared in the SF slack recently! Since 2018, I’ve been irregularly tweeting micro-futures. Short speculations meant to invite critical thought. They’re organized into a thread of threads, but that’s obviously not the best format. So I’m moving them here to make them both more readable and accessible to my non-Spanish-speaking students. I’m sorting them in chronological order, but please don’t take this as a “timeline of the future” but rather as a disarrayed shot of small, autonomous pellets from more or less probable, plausible, or desirable futures. How does each of these futures makes you feel? Excited? Disgusted? Why? Consider these tiny speculations not a trip to the future, but a trip to your own convictions, hopes, and fears.
Check It Out

What does your gender say about you? [Project]
An ask from Shalvi in the Speculative Futures slack: What does it mean to you? Check out this Freehand whre you can answer the prompts, and help to gather as many ways of expression as possible. Share with friends, partners, families to get this discussion started.
Check It Out

Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

The Cosmopolitical Gesture--Coordination, Recursivity, and Universal Models: Ed Keller [WATCH]
Awesome lecture from one of my favorite people. Ed Keller introduces modes of interdisciplinary design thinking and strategizing in the context of outer space. From cosmopolitics to microbial assemblages, this is a talk that is vast in scale and scope.
Watch Video

How To Future [READ]
Check out this awesome new book shared on the Speculative Futures slack! How To Future: Leading and Sense-making in an Age of Hyperchange” is a practical, tactical handbook to applied futuring written by two leading experts in the field. It builds on over a decade of experience translating the approaches of foresight—envisioning possible futures through a structured process—into a flexible, design- and innovation-friendly approach which can be used for forging better futures. This book doesn’t predict the future—it provides tools and practices that enable better understanding of possible futures and their impacts, and how to prototype ideas that engage others *in these futures*. It also describes how to tie these ideas to strategy, think about impact, and cultivate habits of everyday futuring.
Learn More

The Social Dilemma [WATCH] // Netflix
We tweet, we like, and we share— but what are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media? As digital platforms increasingly become a lifeline to stay connected, Silicon Valley insiders reveal how social media is reprogramming civilization by exposing what’s hiding on the other side of your screen.
Watch Trailer

Mars XR & Virtual Production Studio [PLAY]
Utilising video game engines, camera-tracking technology, state-of-the-art media servers and LED screens, we map virtual 3D environments onto our large LED stage, allowing us to blend performers, presenters, actors and products inside photo-realistic or imaginative virtual worlds. All in real-time. Captured live in camera.
Check It Out

What I'm Reading

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

A fond farewell to the weird and wonderful Nintendo DS
by Kate Cox

Freelancers, Hackers & Presidential Candidates
by Nebojsa “Nesha” Todorovic

A New York Clock That Told Time Now Tells the Time Remaining
By Colin Moynihan

Thanks for Subscribing

Thanks for reading! Hope you have enjoyed this dose of speculative design, fiction, art, and technology!

If you aren't yet a regular, please subscribe here!

You can also learn more about my work at


Hosting or Attending an Event?

Let me know! I'd be happy to include your event in SciFly, and even to give it a super fun intro shout-out! Please feel free to contact me at my email below, or on Slack.

Want More Speculation?

Join the NYC Speculative Futures meetup, a group for those interested in Critical Design, Speculative Design, Design Fiction, Discursive Design, Futurism, Science Fiction or any other incarnation of the approach which involves using Design to speculate about alternate futures. We'll be hosting speakers, workshops, and more!
Contact Me

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Copyright © 2020 | SciFly, All Rights Reserved

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Sci-Fly · 1198 Pacific Street · Apt 1B · Brooklyn, NY 11216 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp