SciFly // 168 // Remote Speculations Week 82/83

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 10/18

Hey Scifly Readers!

So... weird sidebar... During COVID-19, my Mom was super nice and has let me borrow our old family car since public transit in NYC hit some low points, and we wanted to be able to get out of town to visit family and escape the city. However, now that she has moved out of state, I have to get it registered in my name, which is definitely a whole new process for me. Long story short, I found out today that I had to take a 6 hour Safe Driving course by midnight tonight (as in Sunday) in order to kind of mitigate the insane NYC auto insurance that I'm going to have to now pick up. 😭

So for the majority of today, I have been taking a class comprised of a strange mash-up of (as far as I can tell) of videos from the 80s, 90s, and 00s, interspersed with strange synth music and the content creators digitally animated avatars of bobble-head ornaments trying to be humorous, but coming across kind of low-key sexist/overall weird manner.

As you can imagine, after that super interesting/long experience, and then writing this week's SciFly issue, I am so very done with screens for the day.

So for an introduction this week, please instead enjoy some super cute photos of our kitten Sasha who will be turning 6 months old this week! If you have been following for a bit, you will have seen pictures of him, and now you get to see how big he is getting! 😻

So enjoy your next fortnight and Happy Halloween if you celebrate! 🎃
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, 19th - Monday, October 25th


Tuesday, October 19

Decolonising Fictional Worlds with Katalina Watt // 2pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
In this interactive intermediate craft seminar, you will be invited to build an inclusive and representative world from the ground up. Using free writing exercises including open questions and prompts to stimulate creativity, we'll layer up world-building so participants can go as detailed as they would like/feel comfortable. There will be opportunities between each level of layering to feedback and share world-building choices and elements as a group.
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HKDI Master Lecture Series Day 4 // 4am EDT // Free
As part of our international knowledge exchange endeavour, Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) has invited some global creative wizards who are keen to shed light on what the future may bring to your life, work and study. Prepare some mind-blowing, nerve-wracking design sprints that can be incorporated into any scenarios to unlock your creativity and innovative thinking. Day 4 - The Future of Brand Identity Design. Influential brand and graphic designer / Co-founder of Bo Linnemann and Kontrapunkt, Denmark
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Welcome to BioNet by Shu Lea Cheang| // 2pm - 3:15pm EDT // Free
Enter a world saturated by corporate power, digital systems and waste where the biological, technical and sexual are deeply interwoven. Welcome to BioNet, can we interest you in joining? Join us for the launch of Welcome to BioNet a new digital artwork created by Shu Lea Cheang and commissioned by UP Projects for This Is Public Space. Marking Cheang’s return to net art, this event will offer insight into Welcome to BioNet and the wider alternative reality in which it is situated by artist and filmmaker, Shu Lea Cheang followed by a conversation between Cheang and long-term collaborator and Professor of Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, Matthew Fuller. The event will conclude with an exclusive preview and live play of Welcome to BioNet with Cheang, Fuller and other members of the audience.
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DT Cloud Salon: Jefferson Pinder // 7pm EDT // Free
This time we are hosting Jefferson Pinder, an interdisciplinary performance artist whose work provokes commentary about race and struggle. Working primarily with neon, found objects, and video, Pinder investigates identity through the most dynamic circumstances and materials. Jefferson will give a 20 minutes presentation, followed by a 40 minutes conversation with the participants moderated by DT faculty Ayo Okunseinde. Come to learn about Jefferson's creative process and ask questions about their practice in a friendly and intimate setting.
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Digital Dances: Analysing Rhythmic Experience in Interaction Design // 11pm - 12:30am EDT // Free
This talk explores the rhythms of action and response to all human-computer interactions as we click, swipe, tap and sway. Perhaps they synchronize, perhaps they disrupt each other or maybe they dance together. Whatever their impact, our experience of these rhythms will colour our experience of an interaction design. Developing an understanding of rhythmic experience within an interaction design, requires a focus on methods that foreground temporal relationships, rhythmic flow, and rhythmic performance. These methods involve iterative cycles of first-person experience and third person observation. They also involve the production and analysis of representations of rhythm across multiple sensory domains. Like rhythm itself, the focus is on change and continuity, on the cyclic and the linear, and on the patterns of their movement across time.
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Negotiating Agency // School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe // 10/19, 12pm - 11/16, 2pm EST (5 Week Class, Tuesdays) // €187.64 – €321.32
The market is overflowing with "smart" products making their way into our homes. Humans interact with these technologies countless times throughout the day and all of these interactions take part in forming our relationship with the devices and services we use. Yet, many amateur users are not aware of their digital footprint or their everyday encounters with machine learning algorithms. Despite unaware users and black box issues, more and more products pre-trained on enormous datasets (and possibly even our own interactions) end up in our daily spaces, including our most private one - home. In this course, we will explore the concept of Negotiated Agency, a process of interactive dialogue with a service or artefact in which its agency is established through a series of hands-on experiments with technology. Each week we will have a mini-workshop & participants will have a chance to build their own prototypes, sketch out concepts or work on shared experiments.
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Wednesday, October 20

Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley: Archiving what was left out // 1pm - 3pm EDT // Free
In this talk, the artist Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley will evaluate archiving as a process of trust in the context of Black Trans people’s experiences. By exploring Danielle’s practice, we will consider the historical context of erasure of Black Trans people’s existence, the role of contemporary archives in storing histories for the future and producing new narratives. Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley uses the forms and imagery of video games to create works that consider "what archives have left out and how we can archive now.” Danielle works predominantly in animation, sound, performance and Video Games to communicate the experiences of being a Black Trans person.
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HKDI Master Lecture Series Day 5 // 4:30am - 5:30am EDT // Free
(Two sessions & Panel) As part of our international knowledge exchange endeavour, Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) has invited some global creative wizards who are keen to shed light on what the future may bring to your life, work and study. Prepare some mind-blowing, nerve-wracking design sprints that can be incorporated into any scenarios to unlock your creativity and innovative thinking. Day 5 - Session 1 - Designing for the Future: Diverse and Inclusive Typeface Design by Default with Prof Gerry Leonidas. Session 2 - Speculative Fiction for Anti-Capitalist and Decolonial Futures with Cassandra Troyan. Panel discussion with both to follow.
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‘Being Human’ keynote: Professor Lucy Orta and Professor Ramia Mazé // 8am - 9:15am EDT // Free
There are an expanding range of ways to engage creatively with ecology and with transitions to more just and sustainable ways of living. Professor Ramia Mazé will discuss some examples of critical and participatory design approaches that provide opportunities to prototype and publicly deliberate radical alternatives. In terms of ‘Being Human’, Professor Lucy Orta’s visual arts practice investigates the interrelations between the individual body and community structures, exploring their diverse identities and means of cohabitation. She will present on her project ‘Nexus Architecture’, and also refer to ‘Antarctica World Passport’, her collaboration with her partner the Argentine artist Jorge Orta (Studio Orta). 
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ASK A FUTURIST: Technology Forecasting with Brad Kreit // 1pm - 2pm EDT // Free
Brad Kreit is the Director of research for IFTF Vantage. IFTF's approach to technology-related forecasting combines a deep understanding of both technology and societal forces to identify and evaluate discontinuities and innovations in the decade or more. For more than 30 years, IFTF's approach to technology forecasting has been and remains unique—we put people at the center of our forecasts. Understanding humans as consumers, workers, householders, and community members allows IFTF to help companies look beyond technical feasibility to identify the value in new technologies, forecast adoption and diffusion patterns, and discover new market opportunities and threats.
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DEI4EAI Workshop: Embodied AI & Ableism // 8am - 11:30am EDT // Free
In this hybrid workshop, we are going to learn more about ableism in embodied AI. We will use methods from critical design to 1) create a hands-on understanding of our current practices and narrative 2) compile a concrete, desirable future scenario, providing practical pointers to implement design processes with diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind.
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Thursday, October 21

(Re-)thinking the future: speculation, learnings and long-term visioning // 4am - 5:30am EDT // Free
How we think about, and relate to, the future is framed by the narratives that shape our society. In this event, we explore how futures thinking can help us to navigate the spaces between presents, futures, fictions and realities -- providing a space for speculation, learnings and long-term visioning. Speakers: Dr Wendy Schultz is the Director of Infinite Futures: Foresight Research and Training. Wendy has over twenty-five years of foresight practice all around the world. Dr Ligia (Licho) López López is a Caribbean, Queer, and Brown scholar of Indigenous background who's research is located at the intersection of curriculum studies, Indigenous and race studies in education, and youth studies in the digital. Gioconda Coello is a doctoral candidate from Ecuador in the department of Curriculum and Instruction. Her research is interdisciplinary and looks at the history of ideas in education and their relation to the politics of being, Indigenous, Brown and Black lives, and environmental education and religion in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Dr Olivier Cotsaftis is a post-disciplinary designer navigating the spaces between presents, futures, fictions and realities. At RMIT University School of Design, his research addresses climate resilience and social innovation in urban heterotopias. 
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Beyond the Walls: Tech/Know/Future/ From Slang to Structure // 4pm - 5pm EDT // Free
Tech/Know/Future/ From Slang to Structure is a critical response to technological systems within art addressing the issues of identity, history and abstraction, placing the viewer at the intersection of the past, present and future. Eleven diverse cross-disciplinary artists will use their creative practices to establish new relationships among technology, knowledge and time through augmented reality, artificial intelligence, sound, video, textiles and works on paper. Nancy Baker Cahill is a new media artist based in Los Angeles, California. Her work explores power, resistance, selfhood, and embodied consciousness through drawing and shared immersive space.
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From Wayback to Way Forward: The Internet Archive turns 25 (Virtual ) // 9pm - 10:30pm EDT // Free
In 1996, a young computer scientist named Brewster Kahle dreamed of building a Library of Everything on the Internet. He called it the Internet Archive. This year, the Internet Archive is turning 25. Come on a virtual journey with us through time. First, we'll go way back with Brewster Kahle to the early days of the Internet, when computers promised to put the published works of humankind at our fingertips. Next author Cory Doctorow takes us way forward to 2046. This science fiction writer conjures the future: how can we overcome the great forces of history to forge a society of pluralism and solidarity? Then national speech champion Anneteke Adoga shares a Gen Z perspective on Internet culture. In 2046, Anneteke will be 42-years-old. What kind of Internet does Anneteke and her generation want and deserve? With a special performance by the San Francisco Symphony's Principal Trumpet, Mark Inouye, in a virtuosic duet of trumpet and the Internet Archive's grand pipe organ.
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Co-Ordination: On Time Between Worlds // 12pm EDT // Free
When imagining interplanetary life and human civilization in space, it's always a matter of time. Philosophers and physicists from Aristotle to Carlo Rovelli have deeply considered the nature of time. Given the scale of the social-technical systems required for any off-Earth endeavor, however, this age-old discussion requires broader input. Complex systems emerge from a multitude of time-scales, clocks, arrows of time, and therefore a multitude of rates at which things come together and fall apart. But our experience of time seems to vary with the perspective we take on a subject: the lifespan of an organism seems to be the result of constraints of mass and energy; a firm, the flows and stocks of capital and labor; a state, the developments of its people and their political economy. How do these different time-scales interrelate and inform one another on Earth today? What might a reconsideration of the complexity of time add to our collective effort to sustain life on and with other planets? And how can we create scalable yet adaptable social-technical systems that work together to achieve our interplanetary futures? This panel will bring together researchers, scientists and theorists to attempt an answer to these questions. 
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Decentraland Metaverse Festival // 10/21 - 10/24 // Free
On October 21, Decentraland plays host to four days of music, culture and portable toilets in a virtual world first. The Metaverse Festival will see a diverse mix of music stars perform across five stages, specially created by community development teams for the event. With a central theme of Evolution the festival will transform over the four days, commencing with Water on Day 1, followed by Earth, Space and Metaverse. This metamorphosis will be visible in the main Evolution stage, presented by Kraken, and surrounds. In addition to the music, the festival also features a fun fair and games, merchandise stands, Metakey VIP area and a Psychedelic Sculpture Garden.
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Inclusive Artificial Intelligence (For Indigenous learners) // 1pm - 4pm EDT // Free
Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to reshape virtually every industry, the workforce and, ultimately, the entire economy. The rapid evolution of AI brings new buzzwords – machine learning, deep learning, neural networks – and many questions about how best to understand and implement these new technologies. Machine learning offers new opportunities and creates risks, particularly for Indigenous communities. This half-day workshop is designed to build your understanding of AI – its terms, tools and solutions – and the importance of Indigenous people being included in this new era of big data and machine learning.
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2021 Lumen Prize Awards Ceremony // 1:15pm EDT // Free
Who will carry off this year's awards for making the best art created with technology in categories including Still Image, Futures, 3D/Interactive, Moving Image and Immersive Environments? You'll be joining us at an IRL event at London's iconic Barbican Centre to see awards presented by Lumen Jury Panel members and other major figures in the Art + Tech world. Be part of the excitement as artists who work with technology from all over the world collect awards worth a total of US$11,500, including the Student Prize, Nordic and Global South Awards and the coveted Lumen Prize Gold Award.
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Subverting Expectations in Art and Immersive Gaming // 3pm - 4pm EDT // Donation
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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Ben Grosser talks with Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Matthew Fuller and Joana Moll // 2:30pm - 4pm EDT // Free
This event aims to discuss software as culture, the politics of interface, and the power (im)balance between user and corporation within today’s digital technologies and social media platforms. Ben Grosser creates interactive experiences, machines, and systems that examine the cultural, social, and political effects of software. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun is a writer and professor at Simon Fraser University. Her scholarly work investigates the relationship between cultural formations and technological artifacts, between theoretical concepts in the humanistic and technological disciplines, and between popular perceptions of technology and technological protocols.
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Enriching collections with immersive technology // 4pm - 5:30pm EDT // Free
In this webinar we’ll share case studies from cultural organisations who have used immersive technologies to create rich experiences for their audiences. Our speakers will discuss the thinking behind the work, what was created, and what they’ve learned. We’re encouraged to think ‘story first, tech second’ but practically, how does that work? How do you deliver content to audiences in a way that works for them? If museums, galleries, and collections are experience-driven organisations, what are some of the ways digital tech can provide those experiences?
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Making with AI // 6pm - 8pm EDT // $54.06
Getting started with AI as a creator can feel overwhelming. The hype and explosion in platforms and services around AI make it very difficult to figure out how to organize and produce a project. What does prototyping for AI look like? What makes for a compelling work? How do you organize (and re-organize) as the project evolves? Noah Levenson will share lessons he has learned across a number of projects in both television and AI and support creators interested in exploring this emerging field to figure out what is possible and what you need to know before you begin. Noah is an American computer programmer and the creator of Stealing Ur Feelings, an interactive project that won Mozilla's $50,000 prize for art and advocacy exploring artificial intelligence. Stealing Ur Feelings also won the 2020 Webby Award in the category of Immersive And Mixed Reality
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Friday, October 22

Artist Talk: Işıl Eğrikavuk and Nahum // 11am EDT // Free
Moderated by RAISIN Curator Asha Iman Veal and SAIC Curating in the Expanded Field Class Işıl Eğrikavuk and Nahum discuss structures of exile and place—as well as their respective investigations of Christmas trees left in city gutters, and starry piñatas floating in outer space. Eğrikavuk is the winner of Turkey’s first contemporary art prize, Full Art Prize (2012). Nahum is the first artist to receive the Young Space Leader Award, for contributions to astronautics and space exploration.
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Disability Atlantic Arts Symposium // 6pm EDT // Free
Taking place on October 22, 23 and 24, DAAS will consist of three panel discussions: “Funding Access: Where’s the Money?”, “A Conversation with Funders” and “Strange Avenues”. DAAS will close the event with an exciting Cabaret line-up of drag, burlesque, spoken word, poetry, performance art, comedy and a circus act!
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Saturday, October 23

Appearance & Reality: Quantum Physics meets Buddhist Philosophy // 8am - 4pm EDT // £0 – £22.15
Three Talks: 1 - Reality and the Nature of Mind: Can the Views of Science, Philosophy and the Buddhist Tradition Come Together? Discusses interpretations of quantum physics and the issue of realism, the topic of appearance vs reality, the relationship between the nature of reality and mind from the perspectives of science (especially physics), philosophy and the Buddhist tradition. Talk 2 - Interdependence in Physics and Buddhist Philosophy - How can the insights arising from meditation and contemplation complement our scientific understanding of reality?  Talk 3 - How Things Exist: Experiential Meditation Workshop - This workshop guides us in meditation to analyze the objects around us according to the Buddhist logic of dependent origination, showing us the interdependence of objects’ myriad parts, the causes that bring them together, and our minds that label these collections of parts as singular objects.
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Launch of Fossil III fictiõnella artist's book by Perdita Phillips // 3:20am - 4am EDT // Free
Explore deep and shallow time and speculative futures through the limestone landscapes of Lake Clifton, the Swan Coastal Plain, the caves of Margaret River and the chalks of Gingin in the not-quite-fiction travels of environmental artist Perdita Phillips. The black-and-white illustrated 96-page limited edition fictiõnella meshes fragmentary tales from the Western Australian archives with real and not-so-real fossils in an exploration of local places, lost histories, chance combinations and curiosity.
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Sunday, October 24

Nonhuman photography for a better planet // Joanna Zylinska // 11am EDT // Donation
Joanna's work is concerned with rethinking the human at a time when life on our planet finds itself in a uniquely precarious condition. The figuration of “nonhuman photography” allows her to address this condition by looking at different ways of imaging and imagining the world. Yet the primary goal of this talk won’t be to offer an aesthetic analysis of the world in crisis but rather to raise ethico-political questions about our human future, in all its nonhuman entanglements. The talk will be illustrated with examples from Joanna's image-based practice. 
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Monday, October 25

John Gero: Design and Artificial Intelligence: Past, Present and Future // 8:30am EDT // Free
John Gero has been a professor of design science, architecture, artificial intelligence, computer science, cognitive psychology, civil engineering and mechanical engineering at Sydney University, MIT, CMU, Columbia, UC-Berkeley, UCLA, EPFL and University of Provence, amongst others. He has published over 800 research articles and books. He is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Advancement of the Arts. This event is organized by The Design AI Group, an inter-institutional team dedicated to researching novel ways to use artificial intelligence methods in design. Technical University of Munich, MRTL lab at Technion, Carnegie Mellon University and Cornell Tech.
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Reflecting on 19 Years of Playful Studio Practice // 12pm EDT // Donation
The knowledge that comes from a long-standing art practice is highly sought after by emerging artists. Particularly at the intersection of art and play, where knowledge is still getting started, anyone who has explored and created using these concepts becomes a valuable voice in their communities. Artist team Thukral and Tagra lend their 19-years of experience and knowledge to the audience in this post-mortem lecture on their practice, which revolves around contemporary art, art to impact, knowledge dissemination, and social and game design. They will discuss the trajectory of their practice and how they explore new innovative avenues to address society's current issues by using a multi/ interdisciplinary approach, which includes paintings and communication design.
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SingularityU Australia Chapters: Co-creating the roadmap to AGI with Awaken // 11:30pm - 1am EDT // Free
In 2019, leaders at OpenAI presented an altruistic and eloquent vision for the future of artificial general intelligence (AGI): “AGI will be a system capable of mastering a field of study to the world-expert level, and mastering more fields than any one human — like a tool which combines the skills of Curie, Turing, and Bach. An AGI working on a problem would be able to see connections across disciplines that no human could. We want AGI to work with people to solve currently intractable multi-disciplinary problems, including global challenges such as climate change, affordable and high-quality healthcare, and personalized education. We think its impact should be to give everyone economic freedom to pursue what they find most fulfilling, creating new opportunities for all of our lives that are unimaginable today.”  Now, in 2021, this meetup of leaders will focus on the co-creation of a roadmap to AGI using awakened intelligence, beyond artificial intelligence.
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WEEK 2 - Tuesday, October 26th - Monday, November 1st

Tuesday, October 26

Ministries for the Future in Environmental Law // 1pm - 2pm EDT // Free
In The Ministry for the Future, science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson envisioned a new UN agency charged with advocating for future generations. The book is described as a masterpiece of the imagination, though elements of it are not speculative at all. One aspect that can already be observed is the international rise of new futures-focused institutions, aimed at bringing future interests into present-day governance processes. This lecture will examine recent efforts to institutionalize future-oriented practices, powers and responsibilities worldwide, before focusing on initiatives in the UK – such as the pioneering work of Wales’s independent Future Generations Commissioner.
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Hello From the Year 2050: A hopeful future for the planet // 8pm - 9pm EDT // Free
To tackle the seemingly impossible challenge of climate change we must learn to balance optimism and hope that we can make transformational change, while remaining clear-eyed and intellectually honest that there will be setbacks, curveballs, and outright failures along the way. We must accept that innovation is always messy and non-linear. We have to fight the urge to stick with “good enough and incremental” and have the courage to walk away and make room for “bolder and 10X better.” Come along to hear Sally-Ann and Courtney share advice and stories about how past and present entrepreneurs at Cicada and X live in these tensions, because it’s never obvious or easy.
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The Sea We Swim In: How Stories Work in a Data-Driven World // Columbia DSL // 2pm - 4pm EDT // Free
In THE SEA WE SWIM IN, Frank Rose leads us to a new understanding of stories — how they work, how they can manipulate us, how we can use them in our lives.Psychologists, economists, advertising and marketing executives — for decades, the experts failed to register the power of narrative. Scientists thought stories were too frivolous to study. Economists were knee-deep in theory. Marketers just wanted to cut to the sales pitch. Yet stories, not reasoning, are the key to persuasion. At our next meetup, Frank and Columbia DSL director Lance Weiler will discuss how leading brands and top entertainment professionals are using this mode of thought. From Warby Parker to Mailchimp to The Walking Dead, we’ll discuss how they use stories to establish their identity and turn ordinary people into fans — and how you can do the same.
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A Glossary of Water: arts-humanities-science conversations on water // 6:15pm - 12am // Free
Rivers, wetlands and other salt and freshwater ecosystems feature in the 23rd Biennale of Sydney (2022), titled rīvus, as dynamic living systems with varying degrees of political agency. Indigenous knowledges have long understood non-human entities as living ancestral beings with a right to life that must be protected. But only recently have animals, plants, mountains and bodies of water been granted legal personhood. If we can recognise them as individual beings, what might they say? rīvus invites several aqueous beings into a dialogue with artists, architects, designers, scientists, and communities, entangling multiple voices and other modes of communication to ask unlikely questions: Can a river sue us over psychoactive sewage? Will oysters grow teeth in aquatic revenge? What do the eels think? Are the swamp oracles speaking in tongues? Do algae reminisce about the days of primordial soup? Are waves the ocean’s desire?
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AI to the Future: Why African Leaders Matter // 12pm - 1pm EDT // Free
In an increasingly digital world, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a growing influence on our everyday lives. From social media monitoring to mapping the coronavirus pandemic, to self-driving cars, AI has defined our recent past and will continue to be central to our collective, global future. AI to the Future: Why African Leaders Matter will explore how Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora are contributing to the field and building a pipeline of talent of people of African descent. The conversation will also discuss how these leaders are addressing the political and ethical intersections of justice and technology as well as taking action on the inherent bias of artificial intelligence and its ramifications on our past, present, and future. Speakers will include Mutale Nkonde (Founder of AI to the People), Jackie Mwaniki (Fraym), and Vukosi Marivate (University of Pretoria). The conversation will be moderated by The Africa Center’s CEO, Uzodinma Iweala.
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The Sublime 3.0: Fear and Awe // 1pm - 4:30pm EDT // Free
That feeling of being at once frightened and in awe, insignificant but at the same time invincible, eternal but also very finite and ephemeral – that’s the paradoxical sensation of the sublime! And as we enter ever more uncertain times, both technologically and existentially, the feeling of the sublime casts a shadow on our future, making us both wonder in anticipation and worry in trepidation. What scary frontiers are ahead of us in this ever-digital world? And what fascinations await? Embark on a journey in the pursuit of the transcendent and shake, disrupt and re-invent with the presented artists who give a new meaning to grandiosity, beauty and the sublime. Join us for a party in that created and designed our VR Exhibit.
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Horizons of the Metaverse // 10/26, 9pm - 11/17, 12am EST (4 sessions, Tuesdays) // $200
In this course students will alternate between working in virtual and non-virtual spaces, using knowledge and concepts from drawing, sculpture and performance art. Students will learn the basics of drawing in a VR space and reflect on the aesthetic, philosophical and social implications of such a practice. The course culminates with the creation of a social VR space (in Mozilla Hubs) by each student and gathering together in a critical Show & Tell, blending their productions and explorations in the virtual and embodied activities throughout the class.
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Wednesday, October 27

Confluence Conversation // CCA // 8pm - 9:30pm EDT // Free
A conversation with architecture faculty involved in the Confluence Parks project featuring work from Thom Faulders, Mark Donohue, Clark Thenhaus, Ryan Keerns and Kristen Smith. A recent competition provided the framework in which five CCA Architecture Division faculty members linked teaching & research interests at CCA with their private practices. Through explorations in ecology (KS), phenomenology (TF), legibility (CT), and the line (MD), these proposals situate speculative architecture as a model for praxis. Confluence Conversation showcases four short presentations and a discussion on these proposals and their broader themes connecting teaching, research, and practice at CCA Architecture.
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Fusing Technology and Biology: is this our next nature? // 6am - 8am EDT // Free
This STEAM Lab is all about exploring the concept of Next Nature - what does it entail and how do you relate to this concept? Next Nature Network will showcase a selection of their speculative projects as a starting point for participants to reflect, discuss and work with the Next Nature concept during the workshop. Next Nature Network explores the future of nature driven by the idea that we’re so surrounded by technology that it becomes our next nature. They want to explore the impact of technology on our lives and the planet as a whole to understand we’ll survive as humans. Their work positions possible futures in their speculative projects, expos, publications, training programs and talks. Next Nature is an international network of designers, scientists, artists, philosophers and other professionals, they’re based in the Netherlands (Amsterdam and Eindhoven).
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Coded Biophilia // School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe // 10/27 - 11/24, 12pm - 2pm EDT (5 week course) // From €70.44
Coded Biophilia is a workshop designed to learn basics of soft wearables and the exploration of biological textiles. During the workshop, students will explore the potential of bacterial cellulose for textile futures in terms of growing living materials and creating speculative scenarios for second skins, sensors, and adaptive responsive structures. Learning new methods of making sensory surfaces for wearables and to envision how biotechnology and new materials will shape our environment. At the end of the workshop, students will be able to identify state-of-the-art soft wearable and bio-textiles applications.
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A Future By Design - The Future of Identity at Work // 7pm - 8pm // Free
Imagine waking up in the year 2041, what do you see? What do you want to see? A Future by Design webinar series is all about creating a vision of what we would like the world to look like in the next 20 years. In this episode, Lisa and Matt will discuss the Future of Identity at Work. Matt Smith. During his time as a Site Engineer and GM of a large maintenance services company, Matt could see significant waste and inefficiencies in traditional workforce compliance management processes. This was when he started MyPass Global- with a mandate to help companies in highly-regulated asset intensive industries to reduce their risk and cost of operations.
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Ecosensibility // 8am - 9am EDT // Free
Zheng Bo will discuss his practice and thinking on cultivating ecological wisdom in the age of Anthropocene extinction. He has been drawing plant neighbors daily on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. He engaged in conversations with scientists during his residency in Berlin in 2020 and made an experimental film titled "The Political Life of Plants." He has been collecting and designing "Ecosensibility Exercises." He continues to organize workshops to collectively envision more-than-human futures. ZHENG Bo lives and works on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Committed to more-than-human vibrancy, he investigates the past and imagines the future from the perspectives of marginalized communities and marginalized plants. He grows weedy gardens, living slogans, eco-queer films, and wanwu workshops to cultivate ecological wisdom beyond the Anthropocene extinction.
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In Defense of Life: Beekeeping & Sustainable Farming // CCA // Free
​​Join us for a forum on agroecology, food sovereignty, traditional Indigenous knowledge, sustainability, and the importance of apiculture featuring two beekeepers and farmers, Metz Andrade from the Bay Area and Ana Elisa Pérez Quintero from Puerto Rico. Music provided by Kj, the Pied Piper of the Bay, an independent recording artist, entrepreneur, flautist, vocalist, producer and composer, living and working in the Bay Area for the past 26 years.
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Digifest: Online Cracking Code // 9am - 11am EDT // Free
Code is poetry for a machine to live by. Do you sometimes look at that glassy screen while scrolling and wish you knew what was really going on in there? Do you wish you could pry it apart and peek inside - not just at the metal and wires but at how it is thinking and behaving? Dig about in your hopes and fears around digital technology, in its own language, with this introductory workshop. We'll be hands-on with visual coding, a powerful way to explore how code works by building it one brick at a time. This is a practical, resolutely non-patronising afternoon for artists of all disciplines who know your own stuff but are new to digital. Maybe you want to try some digital work yourself, or maybe you just want to know more, to confidently position your non-digital work in a world of increasing digital expectations.
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Jan Nikolai Nelles: Technoheritage and the Politics of Digital Preservation // 12pm - 2pm EDT // Free
What do Queen Nefertiti's bust, dinosaur skeletons, and the culturally fracked Buddha's head have in common? In a version of an artist's talk, Berlin-based artist and technologist Jan Nikolai Nelles asks: Do digital versions of these objects exist separately from the physical artifacts and their disputed histories? Relegated to temperature-controlled museum spaces, prehistoric life-forms and colonial objects are dying a second death. For example, religious artifacts collected largely by Western museums often spend their afterlives in warehouses, justified under the guise of "scientific" preservation practices that mandate finely controlled environments. The advent of 3D printing and scanning has enabled institutions to create digital copies of these objects, which often replicates fraught colonial relationships of ownership and belonging. With these technologies now widely available via discrete hand-held devices and more advanced scanning instruments, this talk asks how the dynamics of ownership and control are made digital and what this might have to do with the use of computing as an artistic medium.
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Thursday, October 28

HYBRID COSS talk: "Space Cannot Be the Place": a Black Nihilist Critique // 2pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
Florence Okoye presents a Black nihilist critique of the 100 Year Spaceship Project and materialising the spectacular. The liberatory potential of space has long been recognised within Black fictive, post-colonial social, political and speculative thought. However, when considered in socio-political and economic terms, this potential has always been couched in Political Hope, whose ‘subjugating strategies’ work, following the Black nihilist critique as described by Warren in ‘Black Nihilism and the Politics of Hope’, to appropriate and undermine efforts to destroy anti-blackness, thus revealing a contradiction in any initiative (social, national, political or otherwise), that seeks to use ‘space’ (be it in terms of technological, national or individual progress) as a means for liberation.
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Co-Emerging Futures // 10am - 12pm EDT // €0 – €21.33
We talk about THE FUTURE endlessly, and about how we should act upon it; as an individual, businesses, politics or educational institution. Therefore it seems very relevant to think thoroughly about what potential futures might emerge? We can do this if we look closely at undercurrents and zoom in on underlying mindsets, beliefs and interests. That is exactly what Principal Designer Reon Brand (Philips Design) did with his highly relevant study on Co-Emerging Futures (2019). The impact of the Anthropocene, climate change, the loss of biodiversity, but also the enormous influence of technology on our thinking and our 'being', are considered major drivers of (irreversible) change - where do these developments lead to?
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One Cell At A Time: Exhibition Preview // 12pm EDT // Free
Join us as we reflect upon the role we can all play in scientific discovery. Experience the interplay between gut microbiology, the immune system and the links between our biomedical and environmental health. Immersive yourself in cinematic, experimental film and imagined futures and speculative worlds that are transformed by our understanding of our cellular body through sensory guided meditations. Travel with us from the cosmic to the cellular, from flesh to data through film, live scores and CGI imagery. Find out how we might help contribute to a collective source of knowledge for humanity through an Augmented Reality (AR) journey that uses sound and 3D visuals to spark debates about donating our organs, tissue and body data.
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Global Art Futures Seminar 3: From Where I Stand: Alternate Perspectives, Re-imagining Sources and Other Histories // 2pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
This event is the last of three seminars on the critical and creative place and value of art, artists and art education. Colonial power, postcolonial theory, feminism and ecology are the meeting points for this discussion. The roles of artistic, curatorial and educational practices offer a framework to consider these intersecting themes, which have been chosen on the basis of their relevance to current students in art schools, while reflecting larger national and global concerns. This talk provides an opportunity to address and reflect on the key issues, voices and stories in ecological, indigenous and feminist narratives. What makes a socially responsible practitioner? How can we bring alternate narratives to the fore through open dialogue in educational settings and art institutions? How can we prepare the ground to tell the relevant stories to make the future more equitable? This seminar will unpack these questions with artists Roshini Kempadoo and Grace Ndritu
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HKDI Master Lecture Series Day 6 // 4:30am - 5:30am EDT // Free
As part of our international knowledge exchange endeavour, Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) has invited some global creative wizards who are keen to shed light on what the future may bring to your life, work and study. Prepare some mind-blowing, nerve-wracking design sprints that can be incorporated into any scenarios to unlock your creativity and innovative thinking. Day 6 Fashion for the Future - (2 session & panel). Session 1 - Subtraction Cutting 1998-now with Julian Roberts. In a volatile and ever-changing landscape, how can young creatives find solutions to the problems of the next decade? with Nabil El-Nayal. Panel to follow.
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Feeding the Future: New Possibles Toward an Ecological Civilization // 5pm - 6:30pm EDT // Free
There are a few fundamentals that everyone needs to live. One of those is food. Yet the number of undernourished people globally continues to grow. Between 720-811 million people were undernourished in 2020--a number was exacerbated by the Covid pandemic. Meanwhile, nearly 35 million children under the age of 5 are overweight. Our modern narrative says we’re producing more food than ever thanks to scientific advancements in farming. So why are so many people still hungry? Moreover, these modern practices are proving unsustainable, contributing to biodiversity loss and depletion of healthy soil needed to grow food for future generations. We need to transform our food systems--the policies, practices, ethics, and priorities--that guide the production and distribution of food. Join us for a dialogue with a panel of experts that will bring together issues like agriculture policy, permaculture, food justice, and farming education as we discuss solutions for food and farming.
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Friday, October 29

Poster Talks #2 by Rikke Hansen / Denmark // 2pm - 3pm EDt // Free
UCLA Design Media Arts invited 3 amazing graphic artists to be our guest lectures for a new course "Social and Environmental Poster. Zone of Experiment.".  Poster Talks #2 by Rikke Hansen, Denmark. Rikke Hansen is a Danish Graphic Designer and Educator. She works and teaches in the intersection between language, culture and space. For several years she has been working with product development, branding and consulting for companies and organisations, and as Head of Department at Design School Kolding she played a significant role in developing new educational programmes for the future.
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Queer Freedom Dreams: Abolition Now (Session 1) // 7pm - 8:30pm EDT // Free
HomeGrown Visions arts Collaborative in partnership with the 1919 Abolition Arts and Writing Program invites you to dream with us, as we imagine a world free of carceral punishment. A world that centers and cares for Black Queer people and their dreams. The workshops are open to all people interested and engaged in the liberation of Black Queer people. Each session will be framed by a Black abolitionist who will help strengthen our understandings of abolitionist frameworks. This session will be framed by Maya Pendleton. Then participants will be guided by TJ Chester in exercises designed to tap into our freedom imagination. Participants will begin developing works that demonstrate a new world is possible and demands abolition now. 
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Technologies of Hope | Workshop // 8am - 9:30am EDT // Free
'Technologies of Hope: 100 Responses to the Pandemic' is an artistic and research project that takes viewers on a journey through the world of one hundred such companies. Paying attention to their visual and verbal language, it sheds light on the costs of proposed ‘back to normal’ scenarios and a ‘no touch future.’ Based on the project, this workshop will examine how the specific technologies being promoted to combat the pandemic around the world – now and in the future – seek to observe, screen, enforce, and attempt to modify humans and the spaces they move within, mediating the relationship between body, architecture, and geography. Through the introductory talk and following workshop the facilitators will ask: What can we learn about the current collective neurosis from the technologies that we accept into our lives? When have we gone too far, and how far are we willing to go? Is it possible that in our efforts to contain the virus, we succeeded instead in containing the host?
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Zombies, Necro-Power, and Fear in the Time of a Pandemic // 12pm - 2pm EDT // Free
The zombie as metaphor for the mechanism of political control is highly relevant in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic and the real-life reactions of the general public to biological “threat”. In times of unprecedented emergency the public require assurances of safety and maintained quality of health. However, exploitative bio-politics can often manifest under the guise of public health and safety. Achille Mbembé argues that state sovereignty, founded on colonialism, includes the power over death as much as over life, which he deems necropower. In more contemporary parameters, necropower can also be the basis for the bio-political process of controlling the living by instilling an unreasonable fear of death.
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Saturday, October 30

Queer Frontiers: James Knott Artist Talk // 3pm EDT // Free
LOMAA's Queer Frontiers series presents a talk by Toronto-based artist James Knott! This talk is presented in conjunction with an online screening of Knott’s “The Apocalypse In Your Bedroom” The Movie, from Sunday 10/24 to Sunday 10/31. This film adaptation of the award-winning, self-mythologized facade of a rock show incorporates life-sized video projection, original music, gestural choreography and on-the-go stage props to coalesce into a black-box style theatrical spectacle meets dirty diary, exploring the elusive and dichotomous nature of queer identity. With a reliance on the grimy mustard-coloured lights and sequins of 70s glam rock aesthetics, the protagonist travels the mental collapse of a dark night of the soul, searching for purpose in a world that doesn’t care to be purposeful. Themes include rejection, broken promises, wishes on a star, deals with the devil and packing up to leave with no intention of return… leaving behind the ghost of glitter’s past.
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Queer Freedom Dreams: Abolition Now // 7pm - 8:30pm EDT // Free
HomeGrown Visions arts Collaborative in partnership with the 1919 Abolition Arts and Writing Program invites you to dream with us, as we imagine a world free of carceral punishment. A world that centers and cares for Black Queer people and their dreams. The workshops are open to all people interested and engaged in the liberation of Black Queer people. Each session will be framed by a Black abolitionist who will help strengthen our understandings of abolitionist frameworks. This session will be framed by Kei Williams. Then participants will be guided by TJ Chester in exercises designed to tap into our freedom imagination. Participants will begin developing works that demonstrate a new world is possible and demands abolition now. 
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Sunday, October 31 🎃👻

Nothing to Report! Happy Halloween!

Monday, November 1

Timescales and Contours of Extinctions: Past and Future // 7:30pm - 9pm EDT // $0 - $5
The geologic record documents five periods when Earth’s biodiversity fell rapidly and dramatically. These mass extinction events highlight the interconnectedness between the geological and biological Earth. Most of us are familiar with the dramatic end to the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, when a 10 km meteorite hit the Earth, creating the Chicxulub crater. But few of us realize that the biggest mass extinction in Earth’s history actually occurred more than 250 million years ago. In a timeframe of roughly 1 million years (an instant in geologic timescales), enormous quantities of lava poured out of the Earth, creating the basalt formation known as the Siberian Traps and releasing massive volumes of CO2. Could the rapid, continuing increases in atmospheric carbon in the current era, and the resulting sixth mass extinction, have a similar trajectory? Andy Knoll is an expert on the intertwined histories of Earth’s geology and the evolution of life, and he has been directly involved in research on the extinction event that accompanied the Siberian Traps. In his view, the contours of the deep time geologic record of that event provides a useful mirror for understanding the global disruptions to expect in the coming age.
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ArtNOW: Performance, Art, and Technology: Sam Cusumano // 3pm EDT // Free
Sam Cusumano is an Engineer for the Arts living in Philadelphia working with students, artists, musicians, and curators to create educational interactive electronic devices and installations. As part of his creative practice, he has connected plants and fungi with synthesizers to make music. Biodata Sonification is the process of representing invisible changes in plants to create music. By detecting microcurrent fluctuations across the surface of a plant's leaf, these changes are used to generate MIDI notes which can be played through a synthesizer or computer to create sound. In this virtual presentation Sam Cusumano will explain methods used to tap into the secret life of plants, showing how to translate data for making music, and discuss the implications of interpreting biodata. Audio examples of Biodata Sonification will be performed live using analog synthesizers, digital audio workstations, and synth apps along with a Snake Plant, large Monstera, and various Cacti.
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Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 

Futures Literacy – An essential skill to imagine the future // Speculative Futures Zurich // Monday, October 25, 12:30pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
We are thrilled to have Anna De Mezzo as the speaker for our next Meetup. Anna, as a member of the UNESCO futures literacy team, will introduce us to the work that UNESCO is doing to disseminate futures literacy across organizations, communities, and countries all over the world.
Futures Literacy is a capability that fosters the human capacity to imagine the future, by training creativity and imagination. It is a capability that helps to better understand the role of the future, how to use the future to initiate change, to prepare and invent as changes occur.
The mandate of UNESCO futures literacy, as a global laboratory of ideas, is to train and spread the skill of futures literacy and to include and diversify ideas from people and communities all over the world, to democratize the origins of people’s images of the future.
After Anna’s talk, there will be time for Q&A and a discussion based on participants' thoughts and experiences.
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Futurs, modes d'emploi // Speculative Futures Paris (In French) // Monday, October 25, 12:30pm - 2pm EDT // Free

Au croisement du design, de la fiction et de la prospective s'inventent de nouvelles approches et pratiques pour mettre en débat les représentations individuelles et collectives du futur et éclairer nos choix et actions dans le présent. À quoi sert de jouer ainsi avec les futurs dans un monde en mutation ?
Table-ronde en ligne: À l’occasion de son lancement, Speculative Futures Paris, invite toutes celles et ceux qui s'intéressent aux futurs et à leurs usages pour accompagner les mutations actuelles de nos sociétés et organisations à rejoindre le temps d'une table-ronde en ligne Bastien Kerspern (Design Friction), Max Mollon (Design Fiction Club) et Julien Tauvel (Imprudence) pour explorer la pluralité des approches du design spéculatif, du design critique et de la prospective et identifier leur contribution singulière à la transformation de nos sociétés et des organisations.
plus After (future) work: Et si nous en profitions pour faire connaissance et poursuivre la conversation ? Prolongez la table-ronde, rencontrez les autres participants et participantes, partagez en petits groupes vos pépites, ressentis et visions du futur.
What is the point of playing with futures in a changing world? A round table with Bastien Kerspern, Max Mollon and Julien Tauvel.
About this event: At the crossroads of design, fiction and foresight, new approaches and practices are being invented to debate individual and collective representations of the future and to inform our choices and actions in the present. What is the point of playing with futures in a changing world?
Online roundtable: On the occasion of its launch, Speculative Futures Paris invites all those interested in futures and their uses to support the current changes in our societies and organizations to join the time of an online roundtable Bastien Kerspern (Design Friction), Max Mollon (Design Fiction Club) and Julien Tauvel (Imprudence) to explore the plurality of approaches to speculative design, critical design and foresight and identify their unique contribution to the transformation of our societies and organizations .
More After (future) work: What if we took the opportunity to get to know each other and continue the conversation ? Extend the round table, meet the other participants, share in small groups your nuggets, feelings and visions of the future.

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Spectacular Futures: Fear the Future (Vortrag) // Speculative Futures Frankfurt // Thursday, October 28, 1:30pm - 2:45PM EDT // Free (In German)
Keine Angst vor der Zukunft – oder vielleicht doch?
Vortrag! Gespräch! Denkanstoß! Und womöglich euer Abend-Edutainment! Als Zukunftsenthusiast:innen beschäftigen wir uns leidenschaftlich gerne mit Zukunft. Und wollen bei unseren Meetups auch andere Menschen, also euch 😉, dazu ermutigen, sich mehr mit Zukünften zu beschäftigen. Manche Zukunftsvorstellungen sind aber eher gruselig 👹. Was wäre ein besserer Zeitpunkt, sich damit auseinanderzusetzen, als (kurz vor) 🎃 Halloween?
Am 28. Oktober berichten wir in unserer Vortragsreihe Spectacular Futures von vergangenen Apokalypsen und möglichen Weltuntergängen🌋. Wir tauchen in eklige Utopien 🕷 ein und wagen uns an wilde Visionen 🛸. Erleben Frankenstein-Futures und konfrontieren zähe Prophezeiungen 🧟, die sich einfach nicht begraben lassen.
Diese Veranstaltung ist Teil unserer Vortragsreihe Spectacular Futures, bei der wir jedes Mal einen anderen Blick auf Diskurse rund um Speculative Futures werfen 🔮.
Im Kontrast zu unseren interaktiven, experimentellen Imaginations-Meetups könnt ihr hier einfach zuhören – aber natürlich auch gerne mit uns diskutieren 💬. Also: Bequem machen, reinzoomen und in spektakuläre Zukünfte eintauchen – wir freuen uns auf euch! (🎃 Kürbis und 👻Kostüm optional)
Not afraid of the future - or maybe you?
Speech! Conversation! Food for thought! And maybe your evening edutainment! As a future enthusiast, we are passionate about the future. And at our meetups we want to encourage other people, i.e. you 😉, to deal more with the future. But some visions of the future are rather scary 👹. What better time to grapple with it than (just before) 🎃 Halloween?
On October 28th, we will report on past apocalypses and possible worlds in our lecture series Spectacular Futures🌋. We dive into disgusting utopias 🕷 and venture into wild visions 🛸. Experience Frankenstein futures and confront tenacious prophecies 🧟 that simply cannot be buried.
This event is part of our Spectacular Futures lecture series, in which we take a different look at discourses about speculative futures every time 🔮.
In contrast to our interactive, experimental imagination meetups, you can simply listen here - but of course you are also welcome to discuss with us 💬. So: Make it comfortable, zoom in and immerse yourself in spectacular futures - we look forward to seeing you! (🎃 pumpkin and 👻 costume optional)

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Speculative News & Resources 📰

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

The Pawn That Roars, Selfies And Amusement Parks, Or Localism And Soft Islam: The Futures Of Afghanistan // Journal of Futures Studies
While there is considerably commentary on the current situation in Afghanistan the literature on the futures of the nation is sparse. We seek to address this by developing scenarios on the futures of Afghanistan. The first scenario derives from the work of Pitirim Sorokin and is titled, “the Endless Pendulum.” The second derives from the works of P.R Sarkar and is titled “Money Wins Over Text and Sword.” The third is from the historical narrative of the nation and is titled, “The Pawn that Roars.” The fourth is from the linear and cultural narrative of technological and informational globalization and titled, “Selfies and Amusement Cars.” The final is from a mixture of visions of progressive forces within and outside the Islamic world and is titled, “Localism, Soft Islam, and a Regional Confederation.” It is the most transformative, and we argue provides a vision out of the current abyss...
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Steam quietly bans games that feature crypto/NFT exchanges // Geekwire
Games and other applications that involve minting or trading cryptocurrency or non-fungible tokens are no longer allowed on Steam. The company behind Steam, Bellevue, Wash.-based Valve Software, quietly updated its content rules and guidelines for studio partners at some point in the last couple of months. They now specifically disallow programs “built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs.”...
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With NASA partnership, Orlando begins planning for air taxis, flying cars // Daily Republic
Orlando is preparing for when flying cars are an option for those who want to soar over congested highways or between nearby cities. And they may arrive far sooner than 2062, as “The Jetsons” predicted. The city has signed onto a partnership with NASA to develop strategies for welcoming electric oversized drones, which take off vertically from landing pads called vertiports. The city’s first vertiport, to be built by the German company Lillium, is planned for the Lake Nona area...
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How Slack and Discord became tools for worker revolt // Protocol
Tech workers are organizing with tools designed for other purposes, like work and socializing. Here's how it happened. In August 2018, a couple of certified Apple repair technicians (not directly employed by the company) launched a Discord server called AppleConnect to help each other solve Apple tech issues. It wasn't secret, and it wasn't breaking Apple rules. It was just ... unsponsored. Apple is notoriously close-mouthed about how its technology works and how to fix it, even to the elite few allowed to crack open an iPhone and put it back together. The server was just a simple way to skirt the company...
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The Future of Apple Augmented Reality Wearables Through the Lens of Steve Jobs & His Legacy // Next Reality
Today is the 10-year anniversary of the death of Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs. To commemorate the occasion, Apple has posted a message and a mini-documentary on its website. But beyond Jobs' visionary accomplishments, this anniversary is also an opportunity to peer into the possible future of what Apple has in store in the first decade after the passing of its passionate, trailblazing leader. In this area, there's really only one direction in which to look: augmented reality. Specifically, smartglasses. So the question is, would Steve Jobs have been as focused on AR and a future smartglasses wearable as Tim Cook and his team have been?
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Carbon-Capturing Sunglasses Offer a View of Fashion's Future // Wired
A new biomaterial created by methane-munching marine organisms can be molded into eyeglass frames or formed into leather-like sheets...
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Hollywood workers are ready to strike over the future of how movies and TV shows are made // Polygon
Though the various unions representing writers, actors, and directors have all gone on strike or come close to it, this is the first time IATSE has even come close to striking since World War II. The problem, as everything in the industry seemingly comes down to these days, is the future of the streaming market. Streaming has become a boom for Hollywood, as there is more production occurring throughout the industry, which should translate to more jobs. But for IATSE members, this has often meant that the general work load times that rise and fall throughout the year, usually dependent on television’s fall and spring premiere basis, have now become steady enough to feel like a full-time position. It is often hard to say no to work, so members are finding themselves overworked...
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New Study Finds Ridesharing Actually Increases Pollution, Congestion // Slashdot
The companies have long insisted their services are a boon to the environment in part because they reduce the need for short trips, can pool riders heading in roughly the same direction and cut unnecessary miles by, for instance, eliminating the need to look for street parking. It turns out that Uber rides do spare the air from the high amount of pollutants emitted from starting up a cold vehicle, when it is operating less efficiently, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found. But that gain is wiped out by the need for drivers to circle around waiting for or fetching their next passenger, known as deadheading. Deadheading, Lyft and Uber estimated in 2019, is equal to about 40 percent of rideshare miles driven in six American cities...
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Archivists Create a Searchable Index of 107 Million Science Articles // Vice
The General Index is here to serve as your map to human knowledge. Pulled from 107,233,728 journal articles, The General Index is a searchable collection of keywords and short sentences from published papers that can serve as a map to the paywalled domains of scientific knowledge. In full, The General Index is a massive 38 terabyte archive of searchable terms. Compressed, it comes to 8.5 terabytes. It can be pulled directly from, which can be a difficult and lengthy process. People on the /r/DataHoarder subreddit have uploaded the data to a remote server and are spreading it across BitTorrent...
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Honda is working on small rockets, electric aircraft and robots for the Moon // AutoBlog
Honda builds a surprisingly diverse selection of products that includes cars, motorcycles, generators, lawn mowers and planes. It will branch out into even more sectors over the coming years by adding robots, small rockets, and a second plane. The expansion is part of Honda's 2030 Vision of serving people worldwide with what it calls "the joy of expanding their life's potential" — even if that means putting down the snowblower (built by Honda, of course) and taking a quick jaunt to outer space...
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The World’s Electronic Waste This Year Will Weigh More Than the Great Wall of China // SingularityHub
It’s widely known that the world has a plastics problem. From landfills to the ocean, the stuff is everywhere, and our conscientious efforts to recycle don’t do nearly as much good as we think. What’s less widely known is that we have a similar problem with another kind of waste: electronics. A report published this week on WEEE Forum revealed that the total waste electronic and electrical equipment from 2021 will weigh an estimated 57.4 million tons. That’s heavier than China’s Great Wall, which is the heaviest man-made object on Earth...
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Connectivity in Space: the Moon Will Soon Have Its Own Internet // AutoEvolution
Before NASA begins shuttling people to our natural satellite, it has to build a network there. That will go beyond Earth's low orbit and connect space to Earth in a sort of Internet connection. The space agency's response to that is LunaNet. This vast network, which is designed to provide connectivity and services to lunar missions, started its journey at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The proposal for an internet-like architecture was initially suggested in 2019 in response to a request for communications and navigation solutions for small satellite constellations around the Moon...
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DIY 'Smart' White Cane Works Like a Self-Driving Car // Futurity
A new, affordable smart cane guides people with visual impairments safely and efficiently through their environments, say researchers. Most know the white cane as a simple but crucial tool that assists people with visual impairments in making their way through the world. Using tools from autonomous vehicles, the research team built the augmented cane, which helps people detect and identify obstacles, move easily around those objects, and follow routes both indoors and out...
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AI-Powered Brain Implant Eases Severe Depression With a Zap of Electricity // SingularityHub
A “brain pacemaker” can stealthily tap into, decipher, and alter a person’s mood and introspection based on their own unique electrical brain signatures. And while those implants have achieved stunning medical miracles in other areas—such as allowing people with paralysis to walk again—Sarah’s recovery is some of the strongest evidence yet that a computer chip, in a brain, powered by AI, can fundamentally alter our perception of life. It’s the closest to reading and repairing a troubled mind that we’ve ever gotten...
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World’s Smallest Brain-Inspired Computer – So Small That It Can Harvest Its Energy Itself // SciTechDaily

The energy consumption of the device will be so small that it can harvest its energy itself, directly from its surroundings. The project has received funding from the Villum Experiment program. Artificial intelligence (AI) has seen explosive growth in recent years, but despite major progress, the power required to run AI algorithms continues to increase. In stark contrast to this, the human brain only requires around 20W to perform more than 10 quadrillions (10,000,000,000,000,000) operations. This is 12 orders of magnitude better than modern supercomputer technologies...
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The college campus is the model for return to office // Protocol
College campuses have spaces that foster collaboration, community and culture — labs, open areas, cafes, not to mention auditoriums and arenas for events, sports and other rituals. But these are opt-in — no one forces you to go to the basketball game. You choose to go. So too companies will want to use their space to foster collaboration and culture for employees to opt into...
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Pentagon Wants AI to Predict Events Before They Occur Haven’t we seen this film before? // IEEE Spectrum
What if by leveraging today's artificial intelligence to predict events several days in advance, countries like the United States could simply avoid warfare in the first place? It sounds like the ultimate form of deterrence, a strategy that would save everyone all sorts of trouble and it's the type of visionary thinking that is driving U.S. military commanders and senior defense policymakers toward the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled situational awareness platforms...
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New York’s 50-Mile UAS Corridor to Test 5G Network for Drones // InsideTowers

5G is coming to the New York State 50-mile unmanned aircraft systems corridor between Syracuse and Rome, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced last week. What is said to be the first FAA-designated UAS test site with a bespoke 5G network will be installed by the MITRE Engenuity Open Generation 5G Consortium, which is a collaborative effort to accelerate 5G use cases for Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) programs, public safety, remote healthcare, smart cities, and autonomous vehicles...
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Why look at reality when you can edit what you see in real time? // The Verge
The adoption of augmented reality is happening slowly but surely, and it’s easy to see one possible future for the technology: hardware that lets you edit what you see in real time, replacing objects around you with virtual overlays. Call it mixed reality, to be more precise. Recent research from academics at the University of Duisburg-Essen and ETH Zurich, along with the AI team at Porsche (yes, the carmakers — we’ll get to that in a bit), shows how this might work. The team has built an AI system dubbed TransforMR that detects objects like cars and people, removes them, then replaces them with CGI alternatives in real-time. The end results are hardly flawless (edits are haphazard and the CGI models look like they were borrowed from 3D Movie Maker) but the concept is striking. It’s not hard to imagine applications like this becoming commonplace in decades to come...
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Solar-powered aircraft could spend six months in the stratosphere at a time // SkyNews
Airbus has flown a solar-powered aircraft on two 18-day trips, and says the Zephyr could soon spend six months in the air at a time. The skinny plane, which resembles an unmanned glider although it has two small propellers, has had two test flights in civilian airspace. It operates in the stratosphere, higher than planes but lower than satellites, and the company hopes it could help bring internet connectivity to billions of people around the world...
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Fun Stuff 🚀

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

Open Calls/Submissions/Opportunities & Cool Projects

Open Calls, Submissions & Other Opportunities

DigiMyths @ Soft Residency Looking for Applicants! // Deadline 10/22
Soft Residency is a 3-month residency project at Soft Surplus. Compare it to a “test kitchen” or “design-your-own-residency program" where emerging creatives can test out project ideas and explore. This residency is split into two sessions in partnership with Hyperlink Press and DigiMyths. The DigiMyths Portion would run from January 10th — February 28th, 2022. Third-culture kids, or individuals who were raised in a culture other than that of their parents and family or their ethnic background, often have a deeply complex sense of who they are and where they belong; i.e. in a place that exists in concept only. Deepened by the impact of COVID-19, this place fades as connecting with family in-person and trips to visit their familial lands become sporadic or inaccessible, and holding on to one’s heritage becomes harder. What is DigiMyths? This project emerged out of a desire to support and explore this place as a means of reconnecting with that heritage through contextualizing customs and stories and expanding understanding without geo-physicality.
Learn More & Apply

Contribute to CfP: The Automated Condition. Manifestations and Narratives in Art, Literature and Culture // Deadline 11/15
This interdisciplinary graduate conference wishes to both connect and cross-pollinate historical case studies on automation with theoretical perspectives on the conditions it produces. Collectively, literature, art, and culture can provide vital points of entry into the interrogation of life in the automated condition, question whether it is truly a fatal form of passivity, and offer a nuanced and holistic understanding of its promises and its possibilities. This workshop, held in English, is a collaboration between graduate students of the Department of German, Princeton University and the FWF-project “Co-operative Art Techniques” at the Center for Cultural Studies, University of Graz. The first workshop will take place in Princeton on May 12-13, 2021. A second conference is envisioned to take place in Graz in the Winter Semester 2022/2023. To apply, please send an abstract of no more than 300 words with a provisionary paper title, and a short bio in English to Dennis Schäfer ( and Mona Schubert ( by November 15. Presenters will be notified by December 15.
Learn More & Apply

Cool Projects

Future Wake
An art project about future fatal encounters with the police. Future Wake is an art project that intends to stir discussions around predictive policing and police-related fatal encounters.  The ‘Wakes’ are generated using statistics and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and are based on 20 years of historical data. The generated victims and stories are not real.
Check It Out

Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

Turn Your Smart Home Into a Haunted House With Spooky Tech // Wired
It’s time to put up decorations and turn your boring, everyday house into a spectacular, seasonal haunted house. Skeletons, gravestones, and giant spiders crawling out of the attic and basement all help create a creepy atmosphere. But if you really want to lift your Halloween spirits, you need to add lights, sounds, and eerie projections.  We are going to show you how your tech devices can deliver more chills and thrills...
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The Largely Untold Story Of How One Guy In California Keeps The World’s Computers Running On The Right Time Zone. (Well, Sort Of) // OneZero
Down the rabbit hole: my brief odyssey into the esoteric world of the tight-knit time zone data maintenance community who quietly keep the world’s computers from avoiding DST-related-meltdowns..
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The Every: When Big Tech rules all, don’t say Dave Eggers didn’t warn us // ArsTechnica
The Every, a new near-future tech dystopia novel from author Dave Eggers, marks the first time the famed writer has penned a sequel in his two-decades-plus career. In the seven years after Eggers published his tech-obsessed bestseller The Circle, the author found himself still taking notes on things that could take place in that world. He soon understood why some of the writers he admires most (Margaret Atwood, Colson Whitehead, Philip Roth, etc.) revisit worlds, characters, and ideas they've already built. The evolution, he told Ars Technica, can be fascinating...
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What I'm Reading

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

She Who Became The Sun
Shelley Parker-Chan

Archeology From Space
Sarah Parcak

Confessions of the Fox
Jordy Rosenberg

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