SciFly // 160 // Remote Speculations Week 67/68

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 6/28

Hey Scifly Readers!

I'm busily pre-writing this newsletter before I head out of town for the weekend. Had a super busy week with work, helping with PRIMER social media, getting the house ready for our new kitten (coming next week!) and organizing an awesome panel with Ayo Okunseinde and the Speculative Futures NYC chapter, featuring Elliott Montgomery, Lisa Norton, and Alisha Bhagat. We tackled PRIMER21's theme, Now What? from the context of New York City. If you missed it, should have the talk up soon on the DFI Vimeo, so stay tuned!

This week, I want to share an awesome lecture series shared with me Ed Keller, who you may remember me mentioning in previous issues when talking about the super cool teaching he is doing at the New Centre for Research & Practice. One of the talks will have already occurred by the time this comes out, but still plenty of great upcoming content! I am especially excited to check out a talk by Peter Watts (happening tomorrow!), author of one of the most provocative sci-fi stories I've ever read, Blindsight. ❤️

Check out the event details below!

The Overview Effect Lectures

A lecture series positioned as a survey of some of the key operational themes critical to post-planetary and universal design.

The Overview Effect lecture series is positioned as a survey of some of the key operational themes critical to post-planetary and universal design. Bringing together an architect/engineer/historian, an AI developer/mathematician/philosopher, a science fiction author / marine biologist, and a transdisciplinary geographer/ecologist, we engage the question of how disciplinary boundaries can be effectively and critically reshaped towards a universal modality of design thinking.

Format: 1hr lecture via Zoom, followed by a 2hr discussion with Ed Keller, Carla Leitao, other guests TBA.

Upcoming Talks

Peter Watts | The End of Need: Rewiring Humanity 

June 29th, 1pm - 3:30 pm EDT

Stephanie Wakefield | The City in the Anthropocene

June 30th, 1pm - 3:30pm EST

PRIMER21 is almost here!

July 07 - 11

Don't forget that PRIMER21 Global is coming up in a little over a week!

The talk schedule is now live here.

All the workshops are listed here for individual registration.
Get Tickets
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, June 29th - Monday, July 5th


Tuesday, June 29

Thinking in the Dark // 6pm - 9pm EDT // $30 - $180
There is a sense of impasse permeating contemporary discourse on our shared social future. It also suggests a way forward. This way is through negativity and in darkness. In this seminar, we will, indeed, tarry, if not wallow, in the crisis, whether pleasurably or not. We will, so to speak, occupy the impasse.
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Activist Anthropology // 8pm - 9pm EDT // Free
What is the role and purpose of Anthropology today? Wade Davis looks back at the pioneering work of Franz Boas in the early 20th century that upended long-held Western assumptions on race & gender, along with definitions of "social progress". Boas and his students used comparative ethnography to advance “cultural relativism”-- the idea that every culture is as “correct” as every other culture. Boas showed that our differences can be completely explained by social conditioning, not inherent genetic makeup, upending a deep history of scientific racism. Davis offers ideas on how the field could change direction and reclaim global activism as part of its core once again.
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Competing Visions of Modernity: Architects who Changed Japan // 8pm EDT // Free
Like many other nations, Japan has undoubtedly been influenced by and benefited from the modernist movement in architecture, in terms of the societal impact it carried and the position it held as a springboard for technological advancements. Japanese architecture holds a prominent position globally thanks to its aesthetic distinctiveness and design quality pioneered by a coterie of visionary architects. Of these figures, two stand out as particularly significant and influential: TANGE Kenzo and SHINOHARA Kazuo. While each created their own school of thought which took different directions in their ideologies, approaches, materials and views on society, both gained domestic and international notoriety as truly original voices and great contributors to modernism as a global movement.
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What is the role of an artist? | A conversation with Manuel Piña // 3pm - 4pm EDT // Free
Manuel Piña’s work invites us to rethink what art is, how it is diffused and what the role of an artist is. The questions that result from experiencing his work start from the way we communicate about his work. “Resisting cultural assimilation has become central to my practice and resulted in a very free (yet unresolved) relationship with images and mediums; the gallery and museum systems. As a teacher, I am interested in reimagining the ancestral role of the artist as a spiritual agent of the community in the conditions of the 21st century" - Manuel Piña
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Green Growth and Post-Growth // 11:15am - 12:30pm EDT // Free
How can we decarbonize our economy? The first two events of this series explored diverse ideas and approaches for tackling this question, ranging from Green to Post- to Degrowth. This third event brings them together to establish commonalities and differences, clarify misunderstandings, and to start building bridges for the fight against climate change and the shared goal: paving the way toward a truly sustainable future. After all, whether Green, Post-, or Degrowth, they all aspire toward this same goal and a good life for all. The urgency and dimension of the task at hand calls for overcoming differences and joining forces, wherever possible. There is no time to waste!
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SCIHAUS MASTERCLASS: Science and Art Collaborations // 1:30pm - 3pm EDT // Free
Today, more and more institutions and practitioners choose to participate in interdisciplinary collaborations, as a tool to engage public audiences and connect with the communities around them. This, in turn, creates a more informed society, with a higher trust in science that is able to make better decisions and ultimately lead happier lives. This masterclass will delve into the recent history of interdisciplinary collaboration, highlighting some successful collaborations and collaborative approaches that should be taken forward. Through a combination of theory and group discussions you will learn some valuable tips which you can apply to your own future projects.
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Wednesday, June 30

GALLERY TALK | Our Archival Project // 1:30pm - 2:15pm EDT // Free
This event invites participants to come and share objects, (fragments, knick-knacks, bits and bobs, letters, photographs, etc) and experience collectively the processes of remembering via the kinds of speculative reconstruction that Zain employs in her artwork. Participants will share their objects and their associated memories and meanings in small groups, responding to various prompts posed by Zain to guide the conversation. At the end, groups will share what was discussed and Zain will share how for example one of the audience images come to life (or gain second life) virtually.
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Art AI Festival Online Programme // 12pm - 1pm EDT // Free
This evening’s event comprises talks by international artists, Harshit Agrawal, an artist who works with artificial intelligence, and Alex Mordvintsev, creator of Google Deep Dream and Inceptionism algorithms. Both artists have work being showcased at the Art AI Festival, Harshit's Masked Reality is currently being exhibited in Leicester as part of the Festival programme and Alex’s Hexells will be running next month in Leicester. Each will talk about their respective work with AIs and discuss contemporary creative challenges they face as artists working with technologies.
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Decoding Humans: The Quantification of Emotions // 12pm - 1:15pm EDT // Free
Emotion tracking is a young industry with enormous potential within society. Currently, there are universal approaches to collating data about user’s location, digital habits and consumer preferences. Often described as the ‘attention economy’, this form of data collection is hugely informative, but it doesn’t reveal the psychological state and impressions experienced at the time. Previewing to audiences for the very first time, Rod Dickinson and Nathan Semertzidis will reveal their artwork experiment Machine_in_the_middle, reimagining a classic cyber attack using EEG sensing and emotion recognition, featuring the notoriously inscrutable snooker star Steve Davis. Artist of the senses Marcos Lutyens will launch his collaborative artwork The New Herulians, inviting audiences to take part in an interactive synaesthetic experience exploring emotional data through a sci-fi narrative.
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The Arts and COVID-19 – Can Tech Save Us? // 3am - 5am EDT // Free
Being moved by the power of ‘live’ theatre and musical performances, and immersed in the beauty of masterpieces in the gallery – these arts experiences were not meant for the digital screen. Now, Technology is providing a lifeline to artists in the new digital era. How can we harness technology to connect ‘live’ with audiences, to complement the way the arts will be presented and experienced in the future?
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In Conversation: Freya Dooley and Helen Frosi // 2pm - 3pm EDT // Free
Temporary Commons is an immersive multi-channel sound installation that describes experiences of connection, untethering, and futile attempts at control within the porous walls of a rented terrace house. A meandering fictional narrative voiced by the artist weaves together dodgy plumbing, turbulent neighbours, bad weather, canned laughter, and an invasive landlord. The tension of hidden leaks and unstable structures is a stage for reflections on the harmony and discord of living alongside others.
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Curating Inclusive Digital Practice in Museums and Galleries // 12:30pm - 2pm EDT // Free
The Centre for Arts and Learning would like to invite you to a curators panel event with Teresa Cisneros – Wellcome Collection, Dr. Richard Martin – Whitechapel Gallery and Dr. Trish Scott – Goldsmiths CCA. This panel of innovative curators of current practice in the arts, and of people working in cultural settings, will be raising questions about issues of inclusivity in digital practice and online learning in museums and galleries.
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Entanglements of Time and Tide | THE NON HUMAN TOUCH // 1pm - 2pm EDT // Free
‘Entanglements of Time and Tide’, is an artistic engagement, by India based artist Sonia Mehra Chawla, with the North Sea and its tidal zones. ‘In the Anthropocene, noticing and observing microbial worlds is more essential than ever. Human bodies are ‘nested’ ecosystems and should no longer be perceived as fortresses to shield and defend against microbial onslaught.’ In her latest film, ‘The Non-Human Touch’, Sonia Mehra Chawla advocates for live-able collaborations, and rethinking bacteria as partners in health, endurance and survival of all living beings.
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Doomed? How to feel about the climate crisis // 2pm- 3:30pm EDT // Free
With so many headlines warning of impending climate doom, it's tempting to think the situation is hopeless and nothing can be done. But if we are going to avoid the worst effects of the changing climate, we need to acknowledge the scale and seriousness of the problem without falling into despair. The scientists, engineers and campaigners that are working on a better future will need to inspire people, not lecture them, and listen to their concerns, not dismiss them. Join a panel of experts as they discuss the psychology of climate change. What information and stories work to keep people positive about the future, and how can climate professionals discuss their work in public without the 'doom and gloom'?
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Historical Legacies & Arctic Imaginaries | Anna Boberg & Arctic Landscapes // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT / Free
In 2021, a coalition of organizations including The Arctic Institute, Women in Polar Sciences, and Women of the Arctic are organizing a webinar series, Breaking the Ice Ceiling, to illuminate polar research by those who identify as women and to foster discussion on systemic change in polar sciences (Indigenous, natural, and social sciences) to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. In this webinar, you will learn from Dr. Isabelle Gapp about Anna Boberg and the Arctic glacial landscape and Dina Brode-Roger about historical legacies, the Arctic imaginary, and social science research in the Arctic.
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Thursday, July 1

CRSF 2021 10th Anniversary Conference - Speculative Futures & Survival // 7/1, 4am - 7/2, 1pm EDT // Free
First held in 2011, CRSF is an annual conference hosted by the University of Liverpool designed to promote the research of speculative fictions, media and technologies (including but not limited to science fiction, fantasy and horror). Since our conference theme for 2020 was ‘Survival’, it seemed only appropriate to keep the theme this year and invite all speakers (including our wonderful keynotes Dr Caroline Edwards and Prof Alex Goody) back for our virtual conference.
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How can New/Alternative Narratives Transform Reality? AGORA // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
Narratopias’ “Agora” is the place for discussing, confronting, connecting, and continuing transformative narratives, testing new forms of collective dialog or projection. The initial “Agora” cycle will take the form of four meetings between May and July, 2021. Its goal is to explore the reasons why new or alternative narratives are felt to be necessary, and the conditions under which they can actually make meaningful change more possible. Why do we need to talk about new narratives?
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Imagination as Tool of Freedom // 9am - 10:30am EDT // Free
How can we use the diverse range of lived experiences of individuals to imagine collective alternatives for our societies? How can dreaming things up lead to real world change? This panel explores a range of methodologies such as design fiction, storytelling and scenario techniques, to demonstrate the possibilities of human imagination.
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Fiction Machines – Part III (Live Online Event) // 1pm - 4pm EDT // Free
The Centre for Media Research at Bath Spa University presents Fiction Machines – Part III, an evening of new screenings, talks and performances from artists, filmmakers and theorists. The work presented will highlight a diverse range of critical approaches that make use of particular fictional strategies in their conception and deployment.
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Doom and Doubt: Uncertain Futures & Open Questions about Existential Risk // 12pm - 1pm EDT // Free
Existential risks surround us in the 21st century. From long standing concerns about nuclear weapons and environmental breakdown to emerging technological and systemic threats. Yet, while fear of human extinction and civilization collapse has abounded for decades, there is still so much we do not know about our vulnerability and exposure to these risks, or how best to make humanity safe. In this panel, three CSER researchers from very different backgrounds will discuss how we can have frank, open, and vulnerable conversations about worst-case future scenarios that fully explore our biggest doubts, uncertainties, and confusions, without detracting from the importance of these risks.
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The 4th Industrial Revolution: Industry Trends Post COVID-19 // 10am - 11am EDT // Free
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost all industries globally. Strategically speaking, many organizations have been forced to go back to the drawing board and evaluate how they can sustain their operative leverage as well as a competitive advantage. The original pre-pandemic prediction that the fourth industrial revolution will focus on the expanded use of technology has also been influenced by the pandemic. This webinar will share insights on how the projections for the 4th Industrial revolution have changed, what changes are emerging in work practices, and how to prepare for the future.
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How the New Science of the Human Body Will Change the Way We Live // 1:30pm - 2:30pm EDT // £10.72 – £22.52
Recent and dramatic breakthroughs in our understanding of the body will profoundly change the experience of being human in the coming century. Already they are opening up boundary-breaking possibilities for intervention at every level, from our brains and genes to our microbiomes and immune systems. These will confer unprecedented powers over health, childhood development, our cognitive and physical abilities, and affect every aspect of how we live our lives and think about ourselves. As the secrets of our bodies are revealed, we all will face previously unthinkable choices with consequences we have yet to understand.
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The Art and Science of Bioinks for Tissue Engineering and 3D Bioprinting // 2pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
What is the secret sauce for successful bioprinting? It is well known that additive manufacturing biological materials, functional tissues, or even organs will rely heavily on the chemical and mechanical properties of the bioinks. While this is an area of active research, the perfect recipe to increase cell viability, biomimicry mechanical properties, and eventual tissue function is still elusive to many. Join us for this 90 minutes virtual event with world-class scientists and entrepreneurs to learn the basics and deep dive into the art and sciences of bioinks. 
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Friday, July 2

'Future Perfect; Future Imperfect' Hybrids, Scroungers or Just Phased Out? // 9am - 11am EDT // Free
This event is an opportunity to experience through performance, presentations, and a panel discussion with workstream leaders, the outcomes of research undertaken as part of D4D - Disability and Community, Dis/Engagement, Disparity, and Dissent. The online programme will include: filmed performance provocations from the New Vic Theatre, Stoke; filmed interviews and animations, poetry, and an opportunity to ask questions of the research team and respond to key questions.
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The Moon and Mars in the 21st century: humankind next frontier // 2pm EDT // Free
The 21st century will see humanity exploring and discovering like never before. Join our international team of expert panelists who will lead us in this exciting adventure that started decades ago with the Apollo project and has continued with the astonishing successes of imaginative robotic missions that have been paving the way for human explorers, future astronauts that have already been born.
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Saturday, July 3

Prof Massimo Riva Public Lecture // 12:30pm - 2pm EDT // Free
This event is hosted by Interdisciplinary Italy research team as part of its Second Summer School "The digital turn: When, why, and how to embrace it". This talk explores how the virtualization of everyday life has ironically made a giant leap during the real-life emergency caused by the pandemic. Among the effects of the lockdown, the closure of galleries and museums has stressed how crucial is the access to our heritage when the institutions meant to preserve it cannot function. This is particularly relevant for a country like Italy that in addition to possessing one of the largest artistic patrimonies in the world also counts on tourism as one of its main economic resources. Having just completed a digital monograph one of whose main topics is “virtual travel” in the pre-digital age (18-19th centuries), Prof Riva will offer some remarks about the challenge posed by simulating the past in digital culture, looking in particular at a peculiar class of analogue devices and popular forms of entertainment (the mondo nuovo or cosmorama, the magic lantern, the moving panorama, and the stereoscope) that provided dynamic, immersive experiences which propelled viewers to a “new world,” foreshadowing present-day VR, AR, and XR experiences.
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Sunday, July 4 🇺🇸 ⛱

Nothing to report! 👾

Monday, July 5

Panel: The Future of Creative AI // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
This evening’s event comprises a panel discussion chaired by Tracy Harwood, Professor of Digital Culture and director of the Art AI Festival. The panel comprises pioneering computational artist Ernest Edmonds, V&A digital arts curator Melanie Lenz, the first creative AI Lumen Prize winner, Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrom, and Eva Jäger, artist, researcher and assistant curator at Serpentine Galleries, London. The panelists will each provide a brief introduction on their perspective on the future of Creative AI, following by an open discussion with audience Q&A. This event has been co-organized with the Computer Arts Society’s annual international Electronic Visualisation & the Arts Conference and the Leicester Computer Arts Archive.
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Maker Monday at 6: Wiring the Internet of Things with Lucy Rogers // 1pm - 2pm EDT // Free
From a lamp that lights up when the International Space Station goes overhead, to robot dinosaurs, Lucy will take us on a journey through the projects she has made and how tinkering and playing can lead to commercial benefits.Professor Lucy Rogers PhD is an inventor with a sense of fun. She is a Royal Academy of Engineers Visiting Professor of Engineering Creativity and Communication at Brunel University, London, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. She is adept at bringing ideas to life, from robot dinosaurs to mini-mannequins and even a fartometer (or electronic canary) for IBM! She has developed her creativity and communication skills and shares her tricks and tools with others. She is the host of The DesignSpark Podcast - a comedy and tech podcast - and also The Engineering Edge Podcast, which looks at how people are using everyday technology to do extraordinary things.
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Neurodivergent artists and practitioners discuss how they work with digital // 6am - 7:30am EDT // Free
In this webinar we’ll hear from neurodivergent artists and practitioners who work with digital audiences in mind. They’ll discuss how they use digital to make work, what opportunities have opened up, and some of the challenges they’ve encountered. We’ll also discuss the extent to which digital arts and culture satisfy neurodiverse audiences. We will ask what needs to change, and talk about what the neurotypical world could do to adapt to become more inclusive to an ND thinker.
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WEEK 2 - Tuesday, July 6th - Monday, July 12th


Tuesday, July 6

Robotics for Good: From Industry to Homes and Outer Space // 12:30pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
Robotics has dramatically advanced over the past few decades. Since its first use in manufacturing, many key innovations have shaped today’s robotics industry. Now robots are used in a wide range of application areas – from manufacturing to outer space. In the future, robots would be easily accessible at home and to all. On this journey are three exceptional women: Dr. Kristina Wagner, Lioba Suchenwirth, and Dr. Teena Hassan. They will be speaking about their work, exchanging their experience, and sharing their vision for the future of robotics.
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When is a Farm not a Farm? // 1pm - 2pm EDT // Free
Join Dominic Gammon of The Aquaponics Garden and Gordy Wills of Intelligent Growth Solutions to explore how aquaponics and vertical farming could offer greener and more sustainable ways of producing food in the future. Dr Hannah Rudman of SRUC will chair, and audience attitudes towards new models of food production will be explored.
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Wednesday, July 7

Speculative Machines and Us: Genealogies of More-than-Human Intuition // 12:30pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
This talk foregrounds ‘intuition’ as a generative concept and lens to elucidate the affective genealogies, nature and possibilities of human-machine relations in post-war transatlantic cultures. As a transdisciplinary concept and embodied capacity, intuition brings together process of movement, sensing and cognition, which variously involve anticipation, speculation, recognition, decision-making, duration, and recursion. With intuition as my lens, I focus on three key historical moments which, I suggest, enable us to retrospectively glimpse an emerging condensation of interest and urgency concerning our changing relationships with ‘new’ technologies in Britain and North America.
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Playful wordlbuilding with purpose - experiments in blockchain storytelling // 2:30pm EDT // Free
We’ll be experimenting with decentralized storytelling. Over the course of the session we’ll explore our futures, digital and physical, by creating story blocks using the language of fairly tales and the blockchain. This is the first meetup in a series of events that will launch a new initiative exploring decentralized technology and storytelling from the Columbia DSL. We’ll be laying the foundation for what evolve into a copyleft massive collaborative experiment similar to previous DSL open projects like Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things and Frankenstein AI.
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In Conversation: Johnny Coleman, Antwoine Washington, and Kambui Olujimi // 6pm - 7pm EDT // Free
Join artists Johnny Coleman (Oberlin, Ohio), Antwoine Washington (Cleveland, Ohio), Kambui Olujimi (Queens, New York), and curator Nadiah Rivera Fellah on a virtual walk-through of the CMA exhibition New Histories, New Futures. Together, they discuss how contemporary artists both engage with concepts of the past, present, and future and create artworks to revise history, combat stereotypes, and give image to new political possibilities.
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PhotoIreland Festival Talk: Daniel Szalai and David Hunt // 8am - 9am EDT // Free
A conversation between artist Dániel Szalai and David Hunt, moderated by PhotoIreland Festival. We will talk about the complexities of the human-animal relationship, the role of technology within this relationship and our food systems. The conversation will be held in the context of Dániel’s project ‘Unleash Your Herd’s Potential’, which is exhibited as part of the group show Bite the Hand That Feeds You, and we will find out more about the photogrammetry technology behind it, while reflecting on surveillance and the future of agriculture.
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Homo ex Machina , now playable - Joshanne Dar // 1:30pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
During her artist residency, Joshanne Dar will explore the intersection of technology and art. Joshanne Dar is an Asian-Australian artist; her practice merges art direction, filmmaking, moving image, performance, sculpture and digital installation. Her interests incorporate science, math and psychology; attempting to create alternative discourses around social topics through deconstruction and experiments with atmosphere and subject matter.
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Uncertain knowledge(s) // 4:30am - 11am EDT // Free
An artist’s working process is a hidden yet significant journey because it is where ambiguous and uncertain knowledge(s) are given the opportunity to be discovered through materiality and encounter. The artist’s process itself is a highly valuable practice of research, actively enabling intuition, self-reflection, the synthesis of ideas and the unknown to be explored in flux. This one-day colloquium seeks to provoke dialogues across practices to examine the possibilities and unknowns of the processes and matter as a critical meeting point between thought, intention, and the expectance of what might transpire.
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Thursday, July 8

Introduction to ideation and speculative design thinking // 11am - 12pm EDT // Free
Got an idea but not sure how develop it? Look no further! Our introduction to ideation and speculative design thinking is here to help you get from point A to point B- even to point Z. Within this session we will be going over the various approaches to speculative design thinking and ideation, looking through examples to help demonstrate how these approaches take effect- with the hope of inspiring you to develop your own ideas. 
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Raucous Exchanges 2 - Ghosts in The Machine // 11am - 1:15pm EDT // Donation
Raucous is an ever-evolving collective of theatre makers, technologists and designers who investigate how theatre can be made more immediate, urgent and immersive for an audience. They designed workshops to be delivered with industry professionals, surveying how storytelling worlds might evolve when new tools are used to build narrative, evoking a more heightened and immediate experience for an audience. The sessions are part workshop, part masterclass and will enable you to consider your own practice/writing whilst engaging with international collaborators to openly share skills, challenges and knowledge.
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RETHINKING LIVING: The Future of Food and the Food of the Future // 8am - 9am EDT // Free
This session examines how technological advances and transdisciplinary scientific research can contribute to safeguarding the future of our food supply. What are some of the latest innovations in food science that may yield solutions to creating more resilient food systems? Are plant-based alternatives more sustainable? What if we could grow food in space?
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Friday, July 9

(PRIMER21 Workshop) Designing for More Than Human Futures: Design Research beyond Humanity // 10am - 1pm EDT // $65
Facilitated by Maja Dika and Juliana Schneider

(PRIMER21 Workshop) Sensemaking: Create collective meaning from micro-narratives to open new spaces of possibility in Education // 2pm - 6pm EDT // $65
Faciliated by Ángel Otero MacKinney

The New Solidarity: Art, Organizing & Radical Politics // 7/9, 12am - 7/10, 11:59pm EDT // Free
A provocative new film and two conversations about how artists and social movements are reshaping their work to meet this historical moment
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GAMERella Global 2021 // 7/9, 5pm - 7/11, 5pm EDT // Free
Hundreds of people have made their very first game at GAMERella, the world’s longest running inclusive game jam. Now it is time to level up! This GAMERella will help emerging game-makers get to the next level! Whether that is to make your next game, start your own indie studio, or get a job at a AAA - they are here for you! As always, GAMERella invites women (cis/trans), trans men, non-binary/genderqueer folks, BIPOC, and any others who feel they haven’t reached their potential in game-making, to join GAMERella Global in a weekend of fun game-making. 
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Saturday, July 10

(PRIMER21 Workshop) Immersive Future Crafting // 11am - 5pm EDT // $65
Facilitated by Katja Budinger, Abigail Golestanian, Rachel Nielsen

The Experimental Essay with Kristine Langley Mahler // 7/10, 2:30pm - 7/31, 4pm EDT // Free
The essay is arguably the most elastic form of literature, at times allowing journalism, personal recollection, biography, and current events to co-exist in a single space. But the essay needs containers to hold its matter which are as bendable and movable as its wide-ranging subjects. In this course, we will examine four types of experimental essays—the erasure essay, the visual essay, the constraint essay (also known as the hermit crab), and the speculative essay. Through readings, writing prompts, and take-home exercises, writers will stretch their own limits and explore new frontiers in nonfiction, finding that the methods to examine truth and facts are endless.
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Myco-cultivation: Grow Your Own Edible Mushrooms with Food Waste // 7/10, 11am - 7/11, 2:30pm EDT // Free
Mushrooms are repairers, recyclers, and regenerators of damaged environments. Through their mycelial networks, they protect neighboring species from parasites, decompose surrounding toxins, and send other species nutrients. Mushrooms are also very delicious and a high-nutrient food source for humans! Join us to discover the various DIY methods of growing edible mushrooms at home. 
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Sunday, July 11

(PRIMER21 Workshop) Demarcation Point and Your New Normal // 12am - 3am EDT // $65
Facilitated by Deepshikha Yadav

(PRIMER21 Workshop) Imagining Post-Growth Business Unmodels // 4am - 7am EDT // $65
Facilitated by Daniel Kaplan, Yoan Ollivier

(PRIMER21 Workshop) Campaign Fiction: Using Experiential Advertising to Create Desirable Futures // 8am - 11am // $65
Facilitated by Christian Grünwald and Max Irmer

(PRIMER21 Workshop) Imagining Preferable AI Futures // 12pm - 3pm EDT // $65
Facilitated by Erik Peters, Nadia Piet, Karolina Thakker

(PRIMER21 Workshop) Sci-fi Narrative Workshop // 4pm - 7pm EDT // $65
Facilitated by Matthew Bell and Lance Cassidy

Black Love: In Conversation with Black Imagination // 9pm - 11pm EDT // Free
Author, writer, educator Tanea Lunsford Lynx leads a conversation about Black Imagination, creativity, queerness, and the future of Black Literature.
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Algorithmic Rituals: July 10 // 4pm - 5:45pm EDT // Free
You’re invited to a participatory movement workshop for creating rituals that ponder how we can create space for ourselves in the context of worlds structured so largely by computers. From social media to search engines and healthcare to our jobs, computers are making so many decisions about all of us, and there’s often little say we have. In this 1:45 hour workshop, we’ll use movement and conversation prompts to think about how our lives and bodies relate to these systems. We’ll work from a flowchart based on our relationships to decision-making systems to generate movements, and combine them together to see what patterns emerge.
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Monday, July 12

Be Curious LATES: Terahertz Technology // 3pm - 4pm EDT // Free
For over 100 years, scientists and engineers have harnessed different types of electromagnetic radiation to produce technologies with societal benefit, but terahertz has not been as well exploited so far. So, what can it do? Learn about the exciting possibilities of terahertz and how in the future it could be useful in a wide range of fields – from medicine to arts and heritage. We’ll delve a little deeper into some of its possible uses, from allowing us to see more of our galaxy and improve our understanding of the Earth’s climate, to helping us better study materials, save energy and create the materials and electronics of the future.
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Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 

Black Panther and the Death of Sci-Fi Interfaces // Speculative Futures Milan // Tuesday, June 29th, 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
One of the most compelling conceits in the 2018 Marvel blockbuster Black Panther is the Wakandan ubiquity of brain-computer interfaces. What is this tech? How real is it? What will it mean for sci-fi if they become more popular in speculative media or the real world? Join Chris Noessel, keeper of, as he shares these interfaces and their broad-reaching implications.
About Chris Noessel - Christopher is an AI designer at IBM. He teaches, speaks about, and evangelizes design internationally. He is co-author of Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction (Rosenfeld Media, 2012), co-author of About Face, 4th Edition (Wiley, 2015), keeper of the blog, and author of Designing Agentive Technology: AI That Works for People (Rosenfeld Media, 2017). Recently he’s begun publishing sci-fi short stories.
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#4 — Zahra Davidson // Speculative Futures Glasgow // Wednesday, June 30th, 1pm - 2pm EDT // Free
Zahra Davidson will speak to us about Enrol Yourself, an organisation that promotes lifelong learning through the power of peer groups. They run the Learning Marathon - a peer-led learning programme where a dozen people come together over several months, and expand the way they see themselves, their capabilities and the world as they each explore a question that really matters to them.
We'll explore Enrol Yourself's unique ideology and vision for the future of learning, and will also learn about the way that futures thinking and futures methods are built into Enrol Yourself's strategy and direction.
The event will conclude with a brief open-mic segment, with the option for two members of the community to speak about something they feel is relevant to the group for up to 5 minutes. If you've got something you'd like to share, have a look at our Open Mic section below to find out more.
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Speculative Book Club: How to Future // Speculative Futures Seattle // Thurday, July 8th, 9:30pm - 10:30pm EDT // Free
For our first book club, we'll read "How to Future: Leading and Sense-making in an Age of Hyperchange" by Scott Smith & Madeline Ashby. We'll cover two chapters every other Thursday at 6:30 pm and combine discussion with practical application. If you attend all 4 sessions, you'll be entered to win a special prize!
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Speculative News & Resources 📰

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

This weird doughnut skyscraper is the future of architecture // FastCompany
The pandemic exposed a hulking problem in cities around the world. Last spring, when cities imposed lockdowns and companies were forced to send office workers home, office buildings were left unexpectedly empty. Built specifically for work and business, these massive buildings became essentially useless.  A radical new architectural concept offers a solution. Instead of designing buildings for specific purposes that may fade or disappear, architects and developers should create buildings that can accommodate a variety of uses, from offices to residential spaces to hotels to healthcare facilities...
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Is 'Weaponized Religion' a Threat to Democracy? // Futurity
In a newly published book Faith, Nationalism, and the Future of Liberal Democracy (Notre Dame Press, 2021), Elcott argues that religion is being “weaponized” by self-defined illiberal movements to justify restrictions on liberty and marginalization of minorities around the world.He and his co-researchers cite the Trump-era “Muslim ban” and the assaults on Middle Eastern refugees in Germany and France, among other examples. Festering since the Second World War, religion is increasingly fused to a xenophobic hyper-nationalism, he writes...
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New molecules could be used to treat autoimmune diseases in the future //
When something is awry with your immune system, your digestion or your endocrine systems, nuclear receptors, as they are called, may well be involved. If need be, the operation of these regulator proteins can be altered with medicinal drugs, but this carries the very real risk of unpleasant side effects. Doctoral candidate Femke Meijer looked for—and found—molecules that might well be used as medications for autoimmune diseases, but with fewer side effects...
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What is the future of children, technology, and privacy? Part two – I love you robot // Futurist
What is the future of children, technology, and privacy? ia a lecture delivered by Nikolas Badminton at the Googleplex in Mountainview, California at Google at the 2018 3Q Partner Conference. Are we choosing to put our children in a situation of voluntary surveillance and data submission? What can we do as parents, and what can the technology companies building the apps and platforms our kids use do? 
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The World's First Lab-Grown Meat Factory Just Opened Up // Futurism
Israeli biotech company Future Meat has opened what it claims to be the “world’s first industrial cultured meat facility,” a watershed moment in the development of futuristic meat alternative products. They say the facility is capable of producing 1,100 pounds of lab grown — rather than plant-based — meat products a day, or roughly the equivalent of 3,000 medium-sized hamburgers...
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Microsoft HoloLens 2 Brings Extinct Animals Back to Life at Paris National Museum // NextReality
Despite Microsoft's mostly business-focused push for the advanced AR device, there are still creative studios using it to expand the boundaries of entertainment. One of the latest is bringing us an immersive trip through time. This month, the National Museum of Natural History (Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle) in Paris launched a new immersive exhibit called Relive Extinct Animals In Augmented Reality (Revivre, Les Animaux Disparus En Réalité Augmentée)...
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How many varieties of capitalism? // Hinesight
I was reading a story about rainbow capitalism and it struck me that new varieties of capitalism seem to spring up rather regularly. I keep a library of After Capitalism scanning hits in Diigo with the help of futurist friends, so I thought it would be fun to look through the 426 hits and see how many varieties of capitalism are in there. Drum roll please….. 38!
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A $50,000 Helmet Can Read User's Mind. And It's Ready // NDTV
Over the next few weeks, a company called Kernel will begin sending dozens of customers across the U.S. a $50,000 helmet that can, crudely speaking, read their mind. Weighing a couple of pounds each, the helmets contain nests of sensors and other electronics that measure and analyze a brain's electrical impulses and blood flow at the speed of thought, providing a window into how the organ responds to the world...
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Behind China’s Push To Make Data A National Asset // Protocol
Beijing has spelled out its ambitions in policy documents. In China's 14th Five-Year Plan, which was released in March, the central government designated data as one of the national resources that form the backbone of the country's economy. The goal is to create digital governance and make everything from factories to cities "smart. An illustrative example: raw materials getting shipped and allocated using privately-owned autonomous vehicles connected to government mapping data and IoT devices that monitor supplies at smart manufacturing facilities...
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How YouTube’s rules are used to silence human rights activists // MIT Technology Review
For over a week now, a corner of YouTube frequented by Kazakh dissidents and close observers of human rights in Xinjiang has been only intermittently available. On June 15, the YouTube channel Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights went dark, its feed of videos replaced by a vague statement that the channel had been “terminated for violating YouTube’s community guidelines.” A few days later, it was reinstated without public explanation. Then, several days after that, 12 of the channel’s earliest videos disappeared from its public feed... 
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This magical portal connects people across two cities // FastCompany

What if you could visit somewhere without flying? What if you could meet someone face-to-face, without ever leaving your home town? That’s the idea behind Portal. It’s a sci-fi inspired sculpture developed by the Benediktas Gylys Foundation, a social innovation group, and Gediminas Technical University. As you approach the concrete and steel ring, you can see that it is actually a window to another place. The first Portals are set up connecting the Lithuanian capital Vilnius and the Polish city Lublin. As people look through the portal in Lublin, people in Vilnius are looking right back...
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Is It Time to Give Up on Consciousness as ‘the Ghost in the Machine’? // SingularityHub
As individuals, we feel that we know what consciousness is because we experience it daily. It’s that intimate sense of personal awareness we carry around with us, and the accompanying feeling of ownership and control over our thoughts, emotions, and memories. But science has not yet reached a consensus on the nature of consciousness, which has important implications for our belief in free will and our approach to the study of the human mind...
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The Materials Scientist Who Studies the Innards of Exoplanets // Quanta Magazine
Out in the vast universe, unknown billions of strange worlds drift around other stars. Many of them are quite unlike anything in our solar system. While astronomers hope to use immense upcoming observatories to get a better look at their outsides, Federica Coppari has been using the world’s largest laser to investigate their insides. Coppari compresses familiar substances, including rocks and water, into new forms. Her work has yielded insights into the inner workings of frozen giants such as Uranus and Neptune, as well as the potential habitability of super-Earths — rocky planets that dwarf our own...
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The future of US AI policy may hinge on a pretend war against a fictional China // TheNextWeb
US military leaders have increasingly come out in support of taking humans out of the loop when it comes to AI-controlled weapons. And there’s nothing in the current US policy to stop that from happening. The Army has a program called “Project Convergence.” It’s mission is to tie the various military data, information, command, and control domains together in order to facilitate a streamlined battlefield...
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The Joy and Liberation of Customizing Your Avatar // WIRED
The act of personalizing the character you'll play in a game is more than fun, it empowers you—and pulls you into the fantasy you're about to enjoy...
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Computers Predict People's Tastes in Art // Caltech
Do you like the thick brush strokes and soft color palettes of an impressionist painting such as those by Claude Monet? Or do you prefer the bold colors and abstract shapes of a Rothko? Individual art tastes have a certain mystique to them, but now a new Caltech study shows that a simple computer program can accurately predict which paintings a person will like...
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The Japanese Government is Strongly Encouraging Four-Day Work Weeks // Futurism

Japan’s government is now recommending that companies allow their staff to work for four rather than five days a week, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports. In newly released economic policy guidelines, the government is aiming at improving the country’s work-life balance by allowing workers to get a long weekend — every weekend. The government is also hoping to address the nation’s dropping birth rate with the policy, as fewer people are opting to have children...
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Your Brain Biology May Explain Doomscrolling // Futurity
The term “doomscrolling” describes the act of endlessly scrolling through bad news on social media and reading every worrisome tidbit that pops up, a habit that unfortunately seems to have become common during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers have identified specific areas and cells in the brain that become active when an individual is faced with the choice to learn or hide from information about an unwanted aversive event the individual likely has no power to prevent....
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Let’s build back beautifully, not just better // FastCompany
Architect Peter Ruggiero makes the case for using design excellence as a key component of President Biden’s infrastructure plan...
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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

Global Innovation Collaborative | Creative Cities Challenge // July 20th
The Creative Cities Challenge is an open innovation initiative of the Global Innovation Collaborative, a collaboration between Berlin, London, New York, and Paris to leverage our collective innovation and speed our recovery from Covid-19. The Creative Cities Challenge invites innovators from all sectors to submit novel solutions that help solve some part of the following core questions: Can we reimagine systems—which may include new technological platforms, digital tools, in-person or virtual gatherings, markets, or festivals, or some other structures or approaches—to ensure creative individuals, industries, and activities can be connected, made financially sustainable, and thrive as a critical part of each of our cities cultural landscape? Can we help the small and independent businesses that comprise the creative economy to be visible and to adapt quickly to changing community needs and consumer behavior, at all times of day and night, (including domestic and international tourists) to be ready to meet new demands?
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. 
The inherently discursive and provocative nature of the Speculative or Critical Design approach makes it potentially useful for both teaching practical design skills and for reflecting on theoretical positions and the implications of introducing designed objects and systems into the world. There are however tensions and unresolved issues, and there is much potential for further development that deserves examination, particularly in the context of education, such as practical questions around: how to develop and share sets of tools, techniques, and methods for concept creation; how to address aspects such as worldbuilding and the communication of narratives; and how best to apply criteria for assessment in educational domains as diverse as product and service design, architecture and urban studies, fashion design, media and communication, human-computer interaction, socio-technical studies, and other creative fields.
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Cool Projects

Doomsday is for Everyone // Journal of Future Studies
Assorted works by friendly neighborhood supervillain, ontological mechanic, and founder of Phantom Electrik Comics: Alan Clark. Phantom Electrik produces “the world’s most dangerous comics,” that infiltrate the mindscape of human people to farm out ontological devices in an undiscovered war against a multiverse of foes.
Check It Out

IFTF Equitable Futures Toolkit
Join Institute for the Future to imagine hundreds of new social fictions that light a pathway
toward more fair, just, and equitable societies in 2030. Social fictions are stories about the future
that are grounded in social issues.
Check It Out

When is Wakanda: A Multimedia Exhibition and Exploration of Afrofuturism and Dark Speculative Futurity // Journal of Future Studies
As Kodwo Eshun phrased it in his article “Further Considerations on Afrofuturism” (2003), we need to deepen our Afrofutures toolkit. An Afrofutures toolkit is a manner of thinking “developed for and by Afrodiasporic intellectuals” with the imperative “to code, adopt, adapt, translate, misread, rework, and revise” visions of Black aspiration and imagination.
Check It Out

Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

Popular ‘Valheim’ VR mod now supports motion controls – includes ability to wave // NME
VHVR allows players to play Valheim with “native Open VR support in full stereoscopic 3D”, according to the mod page on Nexus Mods. The mod supports motion controls for Oculus Touch and Valve index, with Vive bindings usable but currently untested. It also adds motion tracking to multiplayer, meaning you can “wave hello at your friends”. VHVR supports motion-controlled melee combat and bow and arrow controls, among plenty of other features.
Check It Out

How Assassin’s Creed is bolstering tourism in Ireland, Italy, and beyond // FastCompany
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the newest addition to the long-running Ubisoft gaming franchise. Released in 2020, it takes place in 872 to 878 AD and revolves around a fictional story set during the Viking invasion of Britain. Players control Eivor Varinsdottir, a Viking raider who becomes involved in a conflict between the Assassin Brotherhood and the Templar Order. So far, the series has crisscrossed the Crusades, the American Revolution, pirate ships, Victorian London, and more. Now, it’s also a tourism ad for Ireland...
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A Fascinating Design History of the Filing abinet // FastCompany
The new paper storage system was part of a reimagining of office space, emphasizing the order and productivity of American capitalism. Just like the skyscraper...
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What I'm Reading

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

Winds of Fury
Mercedes Lackey

In the Matter of Color: Race and the American Legal Process: The Colonial Period
A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. 

Our New Postracial Myth
Ibram X. Kendi

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