SciFly // 165 // Remote Speculations Week 76/77 [Long Weekend Vibez  🏖]

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 9/7

Hey Scifly Readers!

I am heading out in a couple of hours (its Saturday night as I write this) to hang out with my friends (and by that I mean my D&D crew) to have some fun in the sun and FINALLY play our campaign in person. The lovely Sir Sasha Sans Serif will be accompanying us on his first big trip as well, in fact I'm pretty sure my friends are way more interested in hanging out with my kitten  than me, or even Kev, my incorrigible bard persona for our campaign.

With that said, I'm going to wrap this up and get some sleep for our drive. 

Also, since I have gotten a lot of concern/questions from friends in other parts of the world/country - yes, we are completely fine after the remnants of Hurricane Ida passed over Brooklyn flooding many parts of it in a way I have NEVER seen before (crazy times). Luckily our neighborhood is high up (hence the 'heights') and our building, built in the 1800s has big solid stone walls and is raised off that ground, so - for now - we haven't been flooded out. 

With that, hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday weekend!
Enjoy a couple of pictures of Sasha in lieu of intro ramblings. He is getting so big!!!

Also, don't forget to check out my chat with Jaques as part of the IFTF Foresight talks on Tuesday, September 14th!
Info and registration here!

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, September 7th - Monday, September 13th


Tuesday, September 7

Design + Technology Cloud Salon // 7pm - 8pm EDT // Free
The Design + Technology Cloud Salon series continues with Holly Bass (she/her), a multidisciplinary performance and visual artist, writer and director. Her visual art work spans photography, installation, video and performance and can be found in the collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the DC Art Bank, as well as private collections. She is currently the national director for Turnaround Arts at the Kennedy Center, a program which uses the arts strategically to transform schools facing severe inequities.  
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Wednesday, September 8

🔥Ars Electronica Festival 2021 - A New Digital Deal // 9/8, 4am - 9/12, 4:30pm EDT // €0 – €9
New deals are being called for everywhere these days, which speaks to a growing awareness of the inevitability of change. However, it is probably also a sign of our longing for easy solutions, of the ultimately naive hope that a few negotiations and agreements will be enough to put things back in balance.So what might a new deal look like, and what do we mean by “deal” in this context? Nothing will come of the new digital deal if we see it only as a quick horse-trading exercise, if we are only out to negotiate a few benefits for ourselves. Nor is it a deal that anyone can negotiate for us, because a crucial aspect of the “New Digital Deal” is the question of “how are we going to deal with it?” – in other words, the question of options for action and the ability to act. How can we “fix” the digital world, get a grip on our problems, and at the same time prevent the increasingly obvious advances of powerful political forces? What skills and expertise would that require? Where and how would we gain those skills and where and how train the necessary experts? What roles will we play in the process?
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Ars Electronica Garden Aotearoa 2021 // 9/8, 1am - 9/12, 1am EDT // Free
Ars Electronica is the world’s largest media festival, which is held annually in Linz, Austria. The festival consists of symposia, exhibitions, performances, concerts and interventions spanning a broad arc from speculative futuristic scenarios to analytical considerations, from provocative actionism to philosophical debates. For the second time, the arc/sec Lab at the University of Auckland and the Digital Architecture Research Alliance at the Victoria University of Wellington are proud to contribute the Ars Electronica Garden AOTEAROA to the global Festival 2021. Our Garden showcases projects from New Zealand’s artists, musicians, scientists and researchers in the form of prototypical installations, performances and talks.
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Futures of the Past Panel Discussion // 10am - 12pm EDT // Free (in Spanish)
In this second panel event, members of the international research training group “Temporalities of Future” will present research on Latin American futures formulated in the past. The Temporalities of Future group writes: “Our focus on the aspirations and anticipations of various actors who produce new temporalities of the future through constant interaction represents a novel approach which adds a much-needed perspective on subaltern and non-Western agency with regard to the future.”  This echoes the 2084 Imagined Futures from the South program’s call to action:  “the future belongs to those who imagine it… Let’s Occupy the Future!” 
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CHM Live | System Error: Rebooting Our Tech Future // 2pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free

Big tech's relentless focus on optimization is driving a future that reinforces discrimination, erodes privacy, displaces workers, and pollutes the information we get. It doesn't need to be this way. Armed with an understanding of how technologists think and exercise their power, three Stanford professors--a philosopher, a political scientist, and a computer scientist--reveal how we can hold that power to account.Troubled by the values that permeate the university's student body and its culture, they worked together to chart a new path forward, creating a popular course to transform how tomorrow's technologists approach their profession. Now, as the dominance of big tech becomes an explosive societal conundrum, they share their provocative insights and concrete solutions to help everyone understand what is happening, what is at stake, and what we can do to control technology instead of letting it control us.
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Art AI Festival Online Programme // 6pm - 7:30pm EDT // Free
This evening’s event comprises an artist talk by Ben Bogart and a robot orchestral performance led by Craig Vear. Ben’s work, which comprises two film classics re-imagined by AI (2001: A Space Odyssey & Blade Runner), is currently being showcased at the Art AI Festival.
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The Sinking Ship: Alexis Rockman and Trevor Smith on Art & The Environment // 6pm - 7pm EDT // Free
The Art Students League is pleased to host renowned artist and League alum Alexis Rockman. For three decades, Rockman has produced oil paintings and watercolors that reckon with the impact of climate change and environmental catastrophe, creating startling images of our near future as a result. His recent series Shipwrecks was exhibited this year to great acclaim in the historical East India Marine Hall at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA and at the Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York. The talk will explore this catalytic intersection of representation and speculation in Rockman’s work, the history of artists addressing environmental concerns, and the depiction of environmental disasters more broadly.
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Human-Nature Intra-actions Through a Multispecies Lens:An Art-Science World // 8:30am - 10am EDT // Free
Sonia Mehra Chawla will talk about her art-science engagement project and ongoing research in Scotland on the North Sea/Atlantic Ocean, while exploring her engagement with climate change and sustainability in India, through two major bodies of works, ‘Critical Membrane’ and ‘Salt Lab’, created between 2012 and 2019. Sonia is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher based in New Delhi, India. Sonia works at the intersection of art and science, exploring themes of ecology, sustainability and conservation. She works in a variety of media, ranging from photography, and printmaking to painting, video, and the trans-media installation. Sonia’s practice is inextricably linked to an ethic, even a politics of multispecies co-existence and co-habitation. Her research can be seen as a political act, in which she collaborates with climate-change scientists, ecologists, microbiologists, as well as fishermen, farmers and indigenous people who speak from the deep reserves of their traditional wisdom. 
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Reclaiming Disability in Co-creation // 1:30pm - 3pm EDT // Free
Some technologies that now receive widespread attention, such as audio books and AI assistants, have roots in disability communities. Yet, mainstream audiences are not called upon to recognise the often ongoing role of disability communities in building these technologies, let alone how to champion their perspectives. Drawing on different critical and creative encounters with disability, Kelsie Acton and Harsha Balasubramanian will explore co-creative strategies for reclaiming knowledge contributed by disability communities. How can we reassociate these tools with disability history and culture, transforming their significance in society at large?
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Eternal Forest Conversation with Foresta Collective // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Donation
In this conversation where the two Forests meet, Foresta Collective will share their approach to ecosystems thinking, and will invite participants into a practice of attunement to what they describe as personal ecologies, where sensuous knowledge is just as important as rational knowledge and imagination. Foresta Collective will share with you the practice of attunement to personal ecologies through connecting with embodied sensuous knowledge, imagination and critical discernment. They will also touch upon the notion of the holobiont, as described by Lynn Margulis, as well as on why healing within personal ecologies is vital for healing the vast relational spaces within intra-human and more-than-human ecologies.
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Thursday, September 9

Speculative Futures and the Warm Stream of Marxism: Seminar on Ernst Bloch // 8pm - 10pm EDT // Donation
Join us for four study seminar sessions on the thought of Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch. Session 1: Introduction to Bloch’s thought and his confrontation with fascism. This session will look at three significant concepts within Bloch’s thought: non-synchronicity, expressionism, and utopianism. We will also discuss the concept of ‘educated hope’ and its place within the historical context of 20th century fascism.
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The Unravelling Time Showcase // 1:30pm - 4pm EDT // £0 – £4.90
Each member of the Unravelling Time peer group will showcase their explorations of time and collectively attendees will create their own time related creation for use in the future. The Unravelling Time group is a collective of peers exploring questions related to time and growing together through the process.
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Maker Monday x Ars Electronica: Digital Empowerment, designing with empathy // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
In this interactive session, our amazing special guests Sharon Brunt and Kelly Vero will explore what empathy is and how to use it to design everything from apps, tool and games that are sensitive to users needs, and uplift their lives. You will have the opportunity to gauge your own empathy, and go away with a deeper understanding of how you can use it to fuel your creativity.
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The Alternative Limb Project: A Talk by Sophie de Oliveira Barata // 2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
Merging the latest technology with traditional crafts, Sophie’s creations explore themes of body image, modification, evolution and transhumanism, whilst promoting positive conversations around disability and celebrating body diversity. Drawing on her own specialist skills in making ultra realistic looking limbs, Sophie collaborates with specialists in fields such as 3D modelling, electronics and cutting edge technology, and works in conjunction with in-house prosthetist Chris Parsons at Design Prosthetics. Clients have included Paralympic athletes, musicians, models, performing artists and video game companies.
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Republic of Learning: Atmospheric Commons Workshop // 11am - 1:30pm EDT // Free
The workshop will explore our past and present impacts on the Earth’s atmosphere – personally, locally and globally. We then seek to imagine whatever comes next… making artistic/craft based responses that combine scientific data with our own questions and stories about the future. We will focus on what was normal, whatever comes next and the possibility that somewhere in between these two states sits grief, hope, resilience and some kind of awakening. These workshops aim to plant the seeds for building an informal community with a unique approach to shared learning. Republic of Learning combines artistic and craft making with co-operative thinking – slowing down debate to sideline confrontations and argument in favour of a more gentle form of learning and collaboration.
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Virtual Talks with Video Activists: Steve Beck // 7pm - 8pm EDT // Free
Media Burn will host electronic "polymediast" Steve Beck for a screening and discussion of a selection of his electronic art works, including Video Weavings (1975), which was the first digital video synthesizer designed, built, and performed by Steve Beck. His Video Weavings have been displayed on screens ranging from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to Shea Stadium. The event will be moderated by media scholar Jason Nebergall. Steve Beck has been sculpting video and multimedia works with electrons since the pre-digital era in 1967. Jason Nebergall is in his sixth year at Northwestern University, writing his dissertation on experimental Chicago television. 
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Friday, September 10

Parlamento // 8am - 12pm EDT // Free
Design Diplomacy is constituted by a series of international embedded on-site workshops, investigates design practices and customs that exist outside of international environmental conventions in order to report on and disseminate off-the-shelf and non-speculative practices. Emphasising and brokering an expanded interdisciplinary and collaborative dialogue between experts, governmental institutions, indigenous knowledges and practitioners, and diverse communities, this research project seeks to empower civil society and especially aims to offer to the new emerging generations of practitioners in the built environment, a richer knowledge of the opportunities offered by the expanded landscape economy – a demonstration of ways of doing things differently.
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Transforming Our Future With Regenerative Design // 9pm - 9:45pm EDT // Free
Sustainability has been a watchword for several generations now, yet we seem to have only gone in the wrong direction. Should we accept fate? Or should we change our collective destiny? It is already too late to simply “sustain” practices that can mitigate the deleterious effects of human-kind on the biosphere. In this talk, Designer and Innovator Joshua English will provide a primer on the emergence of a new way of thinking about our future that seeks to reverse the anthropogenic degradation of the living planet and lead to transformative change in how we design and build our environment.
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Ecological Perception and Decentralised Human Body // 11am - 12pm EDT // Free
How can technology change the way we perceive the environment? Working through practices of environmental storytelling, artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen uses immersive art installations to rethink the ways in which we are situated within the natural world. From 3D animation, augmented reality, virtual reality and sound installations, technology forms the basis of this artistic inquiry as its audience is transported to, and embedded within, multiple environments. In this talk, Kudsk Steensen will be in conversation with art historian Amanda Boetzkes, to discuss the role of vision within artistic practices seeking to examine modes of ecological perception. With Boetzkes offering a specialist focus on the visualisation of Arctic landscapes, they will explore the potential and challenges of vision, technologically mediated or otherwise, for art addressing today’s ecological crisis.
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Archives Public Programs 2021 - 22 // 10pm - 11pm EDT // Free
E.A.T. or Experiments in Art and Technology was an organised collective of artists, engineers and scientists founded by Billy Klüver, Fred Waldhauer, Robert Whitman and Robert Rauschenberg in 1966 to forge a space of creative exchange and dialogue between experimental art practices and technological innovation. The inaugural chapter of the NID Archives' Public Programmes 2021-22 tunes into this period of the E.A.T. happenings in India, retracing the historical trajectories and residues of the exchanges that took place then. Each session will invite artists and scholars who have been investigating the E.A.T archives from various critical perspectives to share their work, concerns and reflections. 
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CODE NL-D: Reclaiming Digital Agency // 10am - 12pm EDT // Free
As our lives are taking more and more place online, digital rights are important. But what are our online rights? How can we influence policies? CODE brings together artists, non-artists, politicians and policy-makers in a dialogue that is aimed at the implementation of laws and legislation that will protect our rights as digital citizens and online consumers. For 5 months we worked closely together in a series of workshops, a social hackathon and a symposium about issues of privacy and freedom in our digital public sphere. At Ars Electronica 2021 we present the results of the programme, with a presentation by Frederike Kaltheuner, tech policy analyst, researcher and data-justice advocate.
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Saturday, September 11

Sonic Trails: Lockdown // Theatres of Archimagination // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
Sonic Trails is an immersive multimedia polyphony, layering sights, sounds, echoes and rhythms of a city in lockdown. Though seemingly devoid of people, this world is not without pulse. This immersive installation awakens an ambient social imaginary within the persistent sensorium of music and architecture. What is the pulse of a city when citizens go silent? What are the scenes of a city when society recedes? What qualities and processes remain when everyday activities are abandoned?
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Antiuniversity 2021: Left Frame, a contemporary art club - da Silva/Neuman // 10am - 11:30am EDT // Free
Left Frame is a space for social interaction and collective thinking about contemporary art from a leftist perspective. It works in a similar fashion to a book club: before each gathering, we watch (individually) a work of art that we'll discuss during our (online) get together. This time, we will be chatting about Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman's film 4 Waters-Deep Implicacy (2018) 30min, which articulates ideas about planetary relationships, coloniality, and borders, among other things.
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Sensing The Present // 10am - 5pm EDT // €5.00 
Take part in our 1st-anniversary event! "Sensing The Present" is a mini-festival organised by the community and aimed at exploring the complex topics of learning & doing and their intricate relationship (praxis) through reflection of the past year.
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Sunday, September 12

Speculative Sundays Poetry Reading Series Presents Jean-Paul L. Garnier
Jean-Paul L. Garnier lives and writes in Joshua Tree, CA where he is the owner of Space Cowboy Books, a science fiction bookstore, independent publisher, and producer of Simultaneous Times podcast. His short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in many anthologies and webzines. He is a two time Elgin Nominee and was nominated for the 2020 Dwarf Stars. His poetry collections include: In Iudicio (Cholla Needles Press 2017), Future Anthropology (currently being translated into Portuguese), and Odes to Scientists (audiobook – Space Cowboy Books 2019) and Betelgeuse Dimming, (2020 ) available as a free download audiobook / ebook at He is a regular contributor to Canada’s Warp Speed Odyssey blog.
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Monday, September 13

The Alternate Future Summit // 9/13, 3:30am - 9/17, 3pm EDT // Free
The Alternate Future Summit is a one-week long Summit that brings together the major players involved on people development: corporate thought leaders, education visionaries and ecosystem builders. Together, they will discuss how emerging technologies will shape up and assist in changing organizational processes and human behaviour to impact work and life routines.
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Mountain Minds Monday: Art, Technology, and Emotion: Techspressionism // 8pm - 10pm EDT // Free
In March of 2021, digital art made the news when an NFT (non-fungible token) sold for over $69 million dollars, all while digital art has been making an impact on the art world since the 1980’s. Please join Tahoe Silicon Mountain, a local network of entrepreneurs and professionals, on Monday, September 13th, where artist Colin Goldberg will present on Techspressionism, “an artistic approach in which technology is utilized as a means to express emotional experience.” In this presentation, Goldberg will give a brief introduction to Techspressionism and how it relates to artistic movements of the past. Goldberg will also discuss Techspressionism’s evolution through the pandemic and its relationship to the concept of Social Sculpture as developed by German artist Joseph Beuys in the 1970's. 
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Algorithmic transformations, new audiences and changing newsrooms // 10am - 11am EDT // Free
Journalism is still coming to terms with the transformations that new technologies have brought to the newsrooms. Journalists are not only struggling with changes regarding the temporalities of news production, the novel infrastructures of technology and materialities, or the new platforms that they are now being constantly pressured to use. News makers are further encountering, precisely as a consequence of these distortions, morphing professional roles and identities. In this workshop, we will address questions such as: How has the inclusion of new technologies in the newsroom changed the journalistic routine? How have the new temporalities and rhythms, product of new digital platforms, changed the relationship between journalists and their sources?
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Urban Future Summit 2021 // 1pm - 4:30pm EDT // Free
The Urban Future Lab at NYU Tandon School of Engineering is excited to host the Urban Future Summit, the culminating event of the Urban Future Prize Competition, which brings together climate entrepreneurs, technologists, government officials, business leaders, investors, and innovators from the clean technology world. Join us virtually, on the afternoon of September 13th, to watch the eight finalists of the Future Environments and Future Vision Prize Tracks pitch for their chance to win one of two $50,000 prizes.
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WEEK 2 - Tuesday, September 14th - Monday, September 20th

Tuesday, September 14

The Launch of Future Tuesdays with Paul Moore and Cathy Craig of INCISIV // 7am - 8am EDT // Free
Professor Paul Moore, Director of Future Screens NI and Professor Cathy Craig founder of INCISIV Sport will share insights and examples of leadership and innovation within the creative industries based upon their knowledge and expertise. Professor Cathy Craig is a Professor of Experimental Psychology at Ulster University. Cathy founded INCISIV in 2018 and has emerged as the lead in neuro-technology, machine learning and brain decision making. Professor Paul Moore is a Professor of Creative Technology and Director of Future Screens NI. Future Screens NI is a multi-million creative cluster programme investing in the creative industries. 
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Wednesday, September 15

Craft+Wikipedia Roundtables // 12pm - 1pm EDT // Free
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia crafted by millions of editors, working together around the globe, to create a common resource. Craft also has a long history of skilled, cooperative making—hot shops, community woodshops, and foundries rely on cooperation in real time, while quilting bees and kiln firings punctuate individual practices with social gatherings and skill-sharing. By crafting Wikipedia article by article, we participate in making our digital commons together.
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Reading Group | Engage Exchange Session Three: Unfinished Findings: Subaltern Forms and Methods of Knowing, Being, and Creating // 10pm - 12am // Free
Published posthumously, Gloria Anzaldúa’s Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro is a bright and shining beacon for scholars, activists, and practitioners searching for a comprehensive philosophy of personal and social transformation. Reminiscent of conversations in continental philosophy surrounding new materialisms, speculative realism, and object-oriented ontology, Anzaldúa’s contributions move beyond binary thinking, mind–body splits, and linear conceptualizations of theory, practice, and politics. 
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Launching Sustainable Futures: A Manifesto for Transformative Investment // 8am - 9am EDT // Free
A conversation with James Anderson from Baillie Gifford and Professor Johan Schot of the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges on the rationale, planned impact and urgent need for the Deep Transitions Futures project. Investing for system change and sustainable societies
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Access-ing Hybrid Events // 1:30pm - 3pm EDT // Free
Today the word hybrid is increasingly associated with events that can be simultaneously experienced online and offline. This integration of distinct, transformative influences from different contexts is widely practised in access work. In this workshop, we will explore how access, as a creative, community-building tool, can drive the artistic response to hybridity and hybrid events. Together with Kevin Gotkin, a scholar, activist, and DJ, we will be planning an accessible hybrid night life event. 
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Thursday, September 16

🔥Enacting the future, now // 9am - 10:30am EDT // Free
Trying to make systemic change is really hard work. How do you escape the dominant structures of the moment? How do you navigate the tension between striving for a future that is different and addressing the urgent issues of the moment? How can you resource work that is inherently challenging to the status quo? What do you do when you make mistakes? This panel invites people that are trying to put change into action to share their stories. Panel discussion with Melz Owusu, Cameron Tonkinwise and Zahra Ash-Harper.
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Digitizing Materiality: On the Fabric of Human Bodies // 12pm- 1pm EDT // Free
The first workshop will feature items from the special collections of the Science History Institute and University College London. We will explore the body and materiality of scientific collections, moving from 2-D to 3-D representations and objects. Traversing time and space, you will encounter collection highlights from 16th-century anatomical texts to a 20th-century implant. How can we read the materiality of these objects, and what can they tell us about changing concepts of the body, science, and medicine? How do digital methods enhance our understanding of these objects?
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Making Futures 2021 // 4am - 1pm EDT // Free
Now in its seventh edition, Making Futures 2021 investigates contemporary craft and maker movements as ‘change agents’ in 21st century society, particularly in relation to global sustainability agendas, social entrepreneurialism and community regeneration. This free, one-day international conference, hosted online, will feature over 20 presentations from academic researchers, makers and craftspersons, and organisations in the crafts and art fields.
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Anton Vidokle: Citizens of the Cosmos // 9:30am - 11am EDT // Free
Russian Cosmism is a constellation of theories and projects—philosophical, artistic, scientific—informed by the writings of the Russian philosopher Nikolai Fedorov (1829–1903). It brings together discourses of Marxism, Russian Orthodox Christianity, Enlightenment, and Eastern philosophy. Furthermore, it involves conceptions of technological immortality, resurrection, and space travel, and speculates on how these might be materialized through artistic, social, and scientific means. The films form “tableaux vivants” situated between fact and fiction, reality and otherness, poetics and ideology. They mix voice-over narration, soundtracks (original scores and ambient sound), dialogue, quotes from essays by Fedorov and other thinkers, and intellectual and aesthetic references ranging from Russian Constructivism to science fiction as well as from historic understandings of death and immortality to speculative interactions between natural phenomena and societal transformations.
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Subverting Expectations in Art and Immersive Gaming // 3pm - 4pm EDT // $20
The space between game-making and art practices shrinks every year as more artists integrate game software and mechanics into their practices. The result: a boom of new exhibitions that showcase artists using these tools and a growing public interested in seeing the integration of games and art. Colombian-American artist Leo Casteñada is one such practitioner. In recent years, he has worked to create a set of work that reflects the language and rules of gaming in art. In this post-mortem review, the Miami-based creator goes over the development of his piece in Radical Gaming-Immersion Simulation Subversion, an upcoming exhibition at Basel’s HeK Museum Leo will also glance back at the process of developing games for the art world.
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Science Fiction and the Future of AI in China // 7:30pm - 8:30pm EDT // $30 - $60
How will artificial intelligence change our world? On September 14, join Kai-Fu Lee, former president of Google China and bestselling author of AI Superpowers, and celebrated novelist Chen Qiufan, author of sci-fi sensation Waste Tide, for the launch of their new book AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future. The authors will discuss AI’s advances in China and how the technology is poised to burst into our daily lives on an unimaginable scale. According to the authors, AI will generate unprecedented wealth, revolutionize medicine and education, and create brand new forms of communication and entertainment. But in liberating us from routine work, AI will also challenge the organizing principles of our economic and social order—and bring new risks in the form of autonomous weapons and smart technology that inherits human bias.
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Future of housebuilding: how gaming technology will change how we buy homes // 5am - 6am EDT // Free
See how Unreal Engine 5 gaming technology is being leveraged by Asumma Homes to transform the home-building process, eventually enabling people to real-time configure their dream home in a 3D-immersive, photorealistic environment.
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Friday, September 17

SloMoCo Practice Works: Loss(y) Media and Finding Futures // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
Early pioneers of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) like Vannavar Bush or Douglas Engelbart evidence a techno-optimism spirit that would carry much of digital culture through the new millennium. In the last two decades, however, that optimism has been dissipated by new winds bringing calls for critical reevaluation of the ubiquity of unchecked applications of digital technology. Interdisciplinary media art was a sometimes high visibility source of criticism questioning investments in techno-optimism and creative practice work critiquing and problematizing digital technology’s myriad social, environmental, or geopolitical implications.
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The Future of Alternative Proteins // 1pm - 2pm EDT // Free
Many consumers have begun to reconsider their diet for their own health and the health of the planet. As a result, interest and investment in alternative proteins has skyrocketed. With varying forms of alternative proteins arriving on the scene, –plant based, cultivated, fermented— many questions still remain unanswered related to the health benefits of alternative proteins, their sustainability for people and planet, policies around their labeling and sale, and affordability for all. Join Discovery Partners Institute as we discuss how technology is shaping this field and what the future holds for alternative proteins.
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Coffee & Viz: Visualizing the “Invisible”: Methods for Trans Digital Spaces // 9:30am - 10:30am EDT // Free
How do marginalized people carve out and stitch together spaces, knowledge, and cultures of their own, while navigating political economies of oppression? Specifically, how do digital environments afford and limit trans people in their production of culture, access to accurate medical knowledge, and their sense of self? How do trans youth act to define the meaning of trans identities for the larger trans community in the US and abroad, and how do concerns around privacy and data ethics structure the possibilities for building on their seemingly private worlds? In sharing visualizations including text analyses and social network analyses of one million-plus dataset of Tumblr hashtags spanning 2014-2021, Dr. Jen Jack Gieseking will present his latest research exploring these questions. 
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Friday Future: The Future of AI in the Workplace // 8am - 9am EDT // Free
Join Parmy Olson (Wall Street Journal) and Paul Armstrong (Here/Forth) as they discuss the future of AI as it pertains to the workplace. From being hired to fired (and beyond), how is AI being created now that will impact the future. Expect candid chat and honest answers from one of the most powerful journalists in the world live, only on Twitter Spaces.
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Saturday, September 18

Nothing to Report 👾

Sunday, September 19

Minding Niimi / Imagination / Imaging // 1:30pm - 3pm EDT // Donation
Diverse films and artworks where Trees and Humans interweave. An Indigenous Dancer, an Indian Dancer, an International Group of Collaborators ... Bespoke tech will enable you to watch diverse Eco-Art films and dance, with their creators on screen in the round - breaking out of the rectangular live streaming framework we're all so used to! They'll each discuss the works, inviting Q&A at the end. // Navigating through an Indigenous land, an Urban Park, a Concrete Environment... Looking at suchness through Human Eyes, a Handheld Camera, a Smartphone Camera, a GoPro camera, a Drone Camera, Human Ears, the Sound of Physics...
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Monday, September 20

The Exquisite Machine 5 Week Class // 9/20, 2pm - 10/18, 4pm EDT // €220.89 – €321.32
With each new AI and ML related paper the field is making significant advancements, while leaving a trace of shimmering examples and goodies behind, that tell tales of great futures. But, with such developments at this rate, it can be difficult to make sense of this creative ally/muse/friend, and how we can function together. Think of this program as an artistic exploration of the multiple fields that current developments touch upon, and an opportunity to weld them together into a collaborative art piece. We’ll not only learn how words, vocals and visuals can be generated but discuss why. In the end, artificial intelligence is very much designed by us, and dependent on our direct and indirect input.
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Portal-time and wander lines // 7am - 7:45am EDT // Free
We feel the Coronavirus perform its agency in ways that are imperceptible but palpably sensed - in our everyday lives as early childhood scholars, teachers, grand/mothers, aunties - we encounter childhood in the Capitalocene in new, troubling, and yet hopeful ways. We ask, what does virusing-with make possible? What is its potential to disrupt and reformulate how wander lines take shape? Might it be creative of ‘a knowing that must always remain out of bounds’? We wonder how ‘normal’ has been (i.e. kindergartens and universities) are forced to produce other ways of becoming? In order to wrestle with these questions we work in the speculative mode by presenting a series of extraordinary events.
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Hopeful Apocalypse: Climate Fiction for the Cautious Optimist // 5pm - 6pm EDT // Free
‘Apocalypse’ doesn’t always mean devastating disaster; the word also means an awakening or a reckoning. What can we learn about individual resilience and community care from stories at the end of the world? How does our changing environment change us? If our old world is gone for good, how do we go about inventing and imagining a new one? Celebrate the stories that connect us at The Word On The Street Toronto’s 2021 virtual festival of storytelling, ideas and imagination.
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Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 

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

I Want My Daughter to Live in a Better Metaverse // Wired
What would prompt my daughter to ask questions about important societal concerns like homelessness and empathize with those experiencing it if, in her world, she never sees it? What if others, who prefer an “idealized” world, also choose these settings in their AR glasses? How can we have meaningful conversations on how to address these challenges if large portions of the population are oblivious to the true conditions of our community? We’re closer to dealing with these kinds of moral issues than you might think. Facebook now plans to pursue Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of transforming from a social media company into a “metaverse company”–and we’ve already seen a glimpse of what it could look like with Workrooms bringing a sense of presence and select gestures. 
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Seven Siblings to Explore Plausible Futures // Journal of Futures Studies

A recent exhibition at MOD. in Adelaide South Australia allowed visitors to explore the trajectories of multiple drivers of change from both interior and exterior perspectives. Through the experience of the SEVEN SIBLINGS FROM THE FUTURE exhibition, and meeting a range of characters grappling with living in 2050, visitors were able to gain a richer understanding of plausible futures and leave feeling empowered about their capacity to make a difference...
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Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest wild bet on living forever // MIT Tech Review
Last October, a large group of scientists made their way to Yuri Milner’s super-mansion in the Los Altos Hills above Palo Alto. They were tested for covid-19 and wore masks as they assembled in theater on the property for a two-day scientific conference. Others joined by teleconference. The topic: how biotechnology might be used to make people younger. That meeting has now led to the formation of an ambitious new anti-aging company called Altos Labs, according to people familiar with the plans. Altos is pursuing biological reprogramming technology, a way to rejuvenate cells in the lab that some scientists think could be extended to revitalize entire animal bodies, ultimately prolonging human life...
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The High Priest of Cryptopia Regrets Nothing // NY Mag | Intelligencer
On the last Sunday in May, ten days after posting a $200,000 bond and getting out of jail, the house’s primary occupant, Ian Freeman, sits down in a recording studio on the first floor to host an episode of “Free Talk Live,” the radio call-in show he founded two decades ago. At 41, dressed in a softball shirt, blue jeans, and an ankle monitor, he resembles Novak Djokovic, with short black hair, skeletal features, and the complexion of a white paper. The show begins, as it does seven nights a week, with a barrage of churning guitars — in contrast to Freeman himself, a serene presence who describes his life’s work as “advocating for peace.”
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Creepy Conspiracy Theory Claimed the Internet "Died" Years Ago // Futurism
In between the anti-vaccine and flat Earth diatriabes, conspiracy theorists occasionally come up with interesting and provocative ideas. A good example of a recent one is the “Dead Internet Theory.” This theory states that the Internet as we know it actually died sometime between 2016 and 2017, according to The Atlantic. However, this doesn’t mean that the Internet is gone necessarily. Rather, most of the “people” we see online doing things like publishing content, posting social media updates, and commenting are actually bots...
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Dystopian or necessary? This company can stop dangerous e-scooters remotely // FastCompany
Tracking and taking control of e-scooters remotely while people are riding them may sound like valid safety measures, but to some they also sound like the overreaching powers of a central, autonomous system imposing its desires at will. Link and its parent company are well aware of the authoritarian leanings of this type of technology, but argue that actually taking control of vehicles will be rare, and will be backed up by abundantly clear evidence of unsafe riding...
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Foresight Forensics: Using Scenarios to Demonstrate Unintended Consequences // IFTF Blog
Foresight professionals typically don’t use scenarios as stand-alone forecasts. In most cases, we use scenarios as a way to give some emotional or visceral weight to an otherwise information-driven report. Sometimes, a set of scenarios will be accompanied by not just the core forecast but also elements like illustrations and artifacts, representations of the scenario world that can provide their own novel insights...
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This Room Can Wirelessly Charge Devices Anywhere Within Its Walls // SingularityHub
Researchers have devised a way to wirelessly power small electronic devices anywhere in a room. It requires a pretty hefty retrofit of the room itself, but the team says it could eventually be used to power everything from mobile robots in factories to medical implants in people. “This really ups the power of the ubiquitous computing world,” Alanson Sample, from the University of Michigan, said in a press release. “You could put a computer in anything without ever having to worry about charging or plugging in.”...
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Internet shutdowns: The new authoritarian weapon of choice // Protocol
Over the last decade, governments worldwide have intentionally shut down the internet at least 850 times, with a whopping 90% of those shutdowns taking place over just the last five years. What's behind this troubling trend? "More people are getting online and getting access to the internet," said Marianne Díaz Hernández, a lawyer in Venezuela and a fellow with the nonprofit Access Now. "As governments see this as a threat, they start thinking the internet is something they need to control."
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How foresight strengthens strategic planning // Hinesight Blog
Can foresight help strategic planning? You betcha. We designed Framework Foresight to “feed” strategy, innovation, policy, design, etc. The first half of the process maps the future, in order to help the client influence the future in the second half. The beauty is that the scenario landscape map (and all the supporting scanning and research) informs and helps the team to develop much more robust and resilient strategies...
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New Brain Implant Restores Sense of Touch on Fingertips // InterestingEngineering
Imagine not being able to feel the warmth of a hand holding yours, or the buttons of your shirt as you try and do it up. Millions of people live with paralysis and peripheral neuropathy — when nerves in the body's extremities, such as hands and feet, are damaged — and aren't able to feel sensations through their fingertips and toes.  But that might all be about to change. Researchers at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research managed to evoke the sense of touch in fingers using a minimally invasive electrode brain implant. The study, a first-in-human one, offers the potential to change the lives of millions of people around the world...
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The Co-founder of One of Gaming’s Most Lauded Studios Believes XR is the Future // RoadtoVR
“AR is gonna be the thing that displaces mobile [phones]. I’m so sure of that. I’m so sure we’re all going to be wearing [AR] glasses. And all the TVs are gonna go in a landfill. All those [TV] companies are going to go out of business. All the cracks in our ceiling are going to get fixed in our glasses. So many people are going to end up with virtual pets and [AR] windows out to the Taj Mahal or the Eiffel Tower,” Jones said. “Maybe it’ll be… 20 years? I think it’s gonna be a lot sooner than that, and I think it’s going to be really interesting.”...
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Experiment shows groups of laypeople reliably rate stories as effectively as fact-checkers do //
In the face of grave concerns about misinformation, social media networks and news organizations often employ fact-checkers to sort the real from the false. But fact-checkers can only assess a small portion of the stories floating around online. A new study by MIT researchers suggests an alternate approach: Crowdsourced accuracy judgements from groups of normal readers can be virtually as effective as the work of professional fact-checkers...
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Apple Is Clearing a Huge Homeless Encampment on Its Property // Vice
Apple has begun clearing a large homeless encampment on a chunk of its undeveloped property in North San Jose, spending millions of dollars to move unhoused people living there into motel rooms and other forms of temporary housing for several months. The sprawling camp, which had become home to dumpsters, porta-potties, tents, RVs, beaten-up vehicles, and handmade structures over the past several months, had cropped on 64 acres of Apple-owned land near PayPal’s corporate headquarters...
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How Politics, Generation, News Use, and Time Online Play Into Attitudes About Anonymity // UT Austin Center for Media Engagement
Anonymity has become an increasingly common aspect of everyday society, appearing in the form of anonymous leaks and unnamed media sources, anonymous chat rooms, undisclosed political donors, and even groups like “QAnon” and “Anonymous.” Use of anonymous communication can be controversial amid tensions between the desire to hold people accountable for their communicative behaviors and the desire to protect people from unjust retaliation when they do speak...
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Is Hacker News a Good Predictor of Future Tech Trends? // James Spotter
There's a general belief in the tech circles I inhabit that Hacker News is a useful indicator for up-and-coming technologies that will hit the mainstream within the next few years. So I picked some of the major tech topics of the past fifteen years to see if that's really true...
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Dust-sized supercapacitor packs the same voltage as a AAA battery // NewAtlas
By combining miniaturized electronics with some origami-inspired fabrication, scientists in Germany have developed what they say is the smallest microsupercapacitor in existence. Smaller than a speck of a dust but with a similar voltage to a AAA battery, the groundbreaking energy storage device is not only safe for use in the human body, but actually makes use of key ingredients in the blood to supercharge its performance...
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Climate Change Is Bankrupting America's Small Towns // NY Times
Climate shocks are pushing small rural communities like Fair Bluff, many of which were already struggling economically, to the brink of insolvency. Rather than bouncing back, places hit repeatedly by hurricanes, floods and wildfires are unraveling; residents and employers leave, the tax base shrinks, and it becomes even harder to fund basic services...
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Inside NASA’s vision to control space stations with autonomous robots // TheNextWeb
“What would happen if an astronaut were to lose a sock inside an air vent?” you may wonder. Well wonder no further, as an Astrobee robot named Bumble solved that very test aboard the International Space Station in April 2021. Engineers provided the small, cube-shaped robotic attendant with a (fictional) warning of a buildup of carbon dioxide aboard the station. (Such an event in real life could quickly prove dangerous for humans aboard the orbiting outpost)...
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Facebook says its AI mislabeling a video of Black men as “primates” was “unacceptable” // The Verge
Facebook is apologizing for an incident where its AI mislabeled a video of Black men with a “primates” label, calling it an “unacceptable error” that it was examining to prevent it from happening again. As reported by the New York Times, users who watched a June 27th video posted by the UK tabloid Daily Mail received an auto-prompt asking whether they wanted to “keep seeing videos about Primates.” Facebook disabled the entire topic recommendation feature as soon as it realized what was happening, a spokesperson said in an email to The Verge on Saturday...
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I’m a Lyft Driver. My Passengers Act Like I’m Part of the App // Wired
In the future, ride-hailing passengers may conjure autonomous vehicles to their doorsteps with a few taps in an app. Currently, the vehicles come equipped with drivers. Some passengers, however, seem to have moved beyond our technological limitations to a conceptual world where human drivers have fallen into desuetude. In these riders’ minds, we are already in an era of autonomous vehicles...
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OnlyFans and the Myth of Owning Your Hustle // VanityFair
When OnlyFans, a social platform with over 130 million users, announced what essentially was a change in the company’s content guidelines last week, the backlash was swift. What separated the website from other late 2010s tech properties chasing their piece of the creator-economy pie, after all, was that OnlyFans famously allowed users to monetize sexually explicit content. That made it possible for sex workers to parlay exclusive access and online content for income, like any other influencer on the internet, and to formally benefit from the newly cool economics of transactional creator-fan relationships that your faves from The Office found on Cameo or indie artists on Patreon...
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A visit to a Chinese "detox" center for video game addicts [video]

One of the methods China is using as part of its crackdown on video game use is a rehab center for kids who are addicted to gaming. Ramy Inocencio reports...
Watch Video

Hurricanes, Solar Storms, and the Fight to Keep the Power On // Wired [podcast]
Earlier this week, Hurricane Ida swept through the southern US, hitting Louisiana and parts of Mississippi especially hard. The storm disabled the power grid across Louisiana, including heavily populated areas like New Orleans, and officials say it could be weeks before power is fully restored. It's not the first disaster to reveal how woefully unprepared our infrastructure is for weathering disasters—and it won't be the last...

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

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

Speculative and Critical Design approaches and related Design Fiction practices are increasingly finding their place within interaction design and technology design educational programs. The guest editors of this special issue are partners in the SpeculativeEdu project (Speculative Design – Educational Resource Toolkit), funded by the European Union, to explore novel educational skills and practices for the 21st century, especially those focused on the critical relations between technology and people. 
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Environmental Justice (EJ) Movement Fellowship // Deadline 9/26
In coordination with Environmental Justice (EJ) leaders from across the country, The New School is launching Ripe for Creative Disruption: An Environmental Justice Movement Fellowship (EJMF). The unprecedented speed, magnitude, and impact of climate change requires redesigning our global economic, social, and political systems. Incremental, reformist climate change responses have been ineffective. What the world needs now are solutions that transform the extractive systems that cause environmental harm. The EJ Movement’s critique of political, social, and economic systems and focus on frontline solutions for those most vulnerable to climate change make it prime to disrupt the status quo and advance transformative climate solutions.
Learn More & Apply

Processing 20th Anniversary Community Catalog | Call for Submissions // Deadline - October 1st
What does being a part of the Processing community mean to you? We’re creating a community catalog to celebrate all we’ve done together with Processing for the last 20 years! We hope you will consider contributing a page that represents how you’ve been a part of the community. You can share art you’ve made, code you’ve written, an event you organized, a workshop you taught, or anything else! Your page can be anything—a sketch, some writing, a photo, a screenshot, a collage, a poster, a mini-zine, etc! We hope to receive 1000s of pages! We’re excited to see what you share, and please share this call with your friends.
Learn More & Submit

Entelechy Experiment 001 | Alentejo Portugal (10/16 - 10/31) 
This is the flagship experiment so you will be the experiment of the experiment. Be open to iteration and innovation on the fly. You will be plucked out of your comfort zone and dropped in a former abandoned chicken farm that’s being converted into a Traditional Dream Factory - a co-living imagination institute in rural Portugal. You will be quickly asked to question yourself and your worldview and apply those questions to multiple layers of our human experience. You will be taught introspection, community design and systems thinking tools.
Learn More & Apply

Cool Projects

The Time Travel Agency
The Time Travel Agency is a speculative design studio based in the Nordics. We create participatory experiences that enable people to imagine the future differently. Our specialization is in combining speculative design, world-imagining, and prototyping. We develop experimental tools that challenge the imagination to speculate on possible futures, and help people reach those futures before envisioning, ‘futures thinking’, and strategy activities. 
Check It Out

Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

The brutal sci-fi film Zone 414 takes all its cues from Blade Runner // Polygon
If mimicry is flattery, then Ridley Scott and Denis Villeneuve should be honored by Zone 414, an indie science fiction movie that takes so much from Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 that it’s surprising director Andrew Baird and screenwriter Bryan Edward Hill avoided legal action. The Blade Runner films have cast an impenetrable shadow across sci-fi, and it would be silly to deny their visual and narrative impact. But the ways Zone 414 lifts from its predecessors, borrowing elements from character development to costuming to questions about the utilitarianism of our physical bodies, denies it identifiable or entertaining qualities of its own...
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Getting Back Into Hackerspaces // Hackaday
Last week, I got my first chance to get out and about among the hackers in what feels like forever. Hackerspaces here in Germany are finally able to re-open for business-as-almost-usual, allowing access to reasonable numbers of people providing they’re immunized or tested, and wearing masks of course. And that meant that I got to take up [Andreas’] invitation to come see his Stereo Ninja inspection microscope project in person....
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17 major sci-fi and fantasy books arriving in fall 2021 // Polygon
The next couple of months bring both to shelves: there’s the opportunity to jump into some familiar — but maybe not so familiar — worlds with some new Alien and Star Wars books, the rise and fall of empires with some new fantasy adventures, and some tales about the coming futures that might be in front of us before we know it...
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Dive Into A Murder Mystery On This Creepy, Cyberpunk Wikipedia // Kotaku
Neurocracy is a browser-based cyberpunk murder mystery story told over the course of 10 real-world weeks and 10 in-game days, through the hypothetical successor to Wikipedia, Omnipedia. It presents a dystopian future in which escalating pandemics have driven the global community to abandon individual privacy in favor of pursuing total “bio-security.” The game has interesting things to say about emerging trends around pandemics, public health, and state sovereignty. I am not, however, here to talk to you about those aspects today I am here to tell you about the worst part of its corporatized, surveillance-state hellworld: The future is very boring...
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How game-makers are catering to disabled players // ArsTechnica
According to a recent study, more than 2 percent of the US population can't play video games due to poor accessibility options. This same study suggests more than 9 percent are unable to enjoy the traditional gaming experience because of visual, cognitive, or physical impairments. Additional research suggests 20 percent of the casual gaming audience is disabled in some fashion. That amounts to millions of disabled players who are locked out of games because of a lack of support. But after decades in which accessibility options were absent or an afterthought, game developers in recent years have shown an increasing willingness to cater to this audience explicitly...
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What I'm Reading

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

Persephone Station
Stina Leicht

The Jasmine Throne
Tasha Suri

The Decision Book: 50 Models for Strategic Thinking
Jonathan Gottschall

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