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SciFly NYC // 118 // Safely Speculating in a Pandemic

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 3/16

Hey SciFly Readers!

Just...What a week...
Seriously. What. a. Week.

As you can imagine, I like everyone else in NYC am living day to day, news update to news update, trying to make sense of how life has changed so completely so quickly and trying to stay safe and sound while cooped up at home.

If you have been following for awhile, you know that SciFly has always been a curated list of NYC's best speculative events, but for now, given COVID-19 related shut-downs, precautions, and efforts at social distancing, I will be changing the content in the weeks to come.

Until further notice, I will be using SciFly to share speculative news, resources, projects, online events, and other fun content to help relieve some of the minutiae so many of us feel stuck at home.

You should also know that the global Speculative Futures community is working together with the DFI board to brainstorm ways we can take Meetups virtual, and perhaps expand to new audiences, projects, and efforts that can be undertaken virtually, ways to connect and collaborate in new formats, etc. etc.

I highly encourage you to join us on our slack using the invitation below. That will be our hub of communication between chapters in weeks/months to come, and the best place to find information.

Join Speculative Futures Slack Here!!!

Make sure you join the #NewYork channel (if you are from NYC) to stay up to date on thins the NYC Speculative Futures chapter will be doing to host remote meetups, events, and activities in the meantime.

Wishing you all the best from Brooklyn where I will be holed up until further notice, and I truly hope to use this opportunity to connect with many of you online and get to know one another as we re-imagine how we might speculate collective impact in a time of social isolation.

Next week I will try to gather more resources, ideas for collaborating remotely, and cool things to keep you distracted!!!


PS - Before the lockdown went into full swing, I got caught by a reporter at a figure drawing class geeking out about the potential for blockchain virtual worlds for artists.

Check out the article here!

"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.

News, Resources, Events, Fun Things to Keep You Occupied

Speculative News, Articles, Resources (General)

Cool news and articles about emerging technology, speculative practice, and futures design. Will try to put nothing about COVID-19 here to give you a break, see below for news/resources on that topic.

This Virtual Library in Minecraft Gives a Voice to Censored Journalists // Natalie Coleman (Futurism)
As governments around the globe crack down on journalistic freedom and censor their national press, Reporters Without Borders is working to deliver uncensored news to the public through an unlikely channel: an enormous library housed inside the popular block-building video game Minecraft.
Read More

It's Not You: Scientists Confirm Days Are Actually Getting Longer // Dan Robitzski (Futurism)
It’s not just your exhaustion talking — the days here on Earth actually have grown longer and longer. It’s just that the change has been happening over tens of millions of years.
Read More

Online Events

Running list of online events that I will update weekly. These won't all be taking place this week, rather I'll add things as I find them so you have some time to plan!

Digital Conference with Futurists Anton Musgrave and Gerd Leonhard // March 26, 1pm EST // Free but Limited Seats
We are living in an age of perpetual VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) – and given that we are also moving at an exponential pace, FORESIGHT is now mission-critical. Being ‘future-ready’ is everyone’s job now, and it requires more than good data, sharp analysis, and domain expertise. To ‘have a gut feel’ for what’s coming is probably more of an art than a science – imagination, and intuition are just as important as experience and knowledge: EQ AND IQ.

This session will focus on PRACTICAL WISDOM, i.e. panelists will share insights and foresight about the next decade and apply them to the here and now. They present for 15 minutes each and then take questions and have live discussions with the audience.

Learn more Here
Sign Up Here

COVID-19 | The State & Future of Pandemics // Singularity University // March 16th - 18th // 
Singularity University is fortunate to have access to the world’s leading experts in health and medicine, technology, society, and impact. They're hosting a three-day virtual summit that will leverage this brain trust to share facts, facilitate discussion, answer questions, and address your concerns around COVID-19—as well as the impact of outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics—in a measured and thoughtful way.

This event is free and open to everyone.

They will humanize what is happening, share practical steps you can take to manage fear and uncertainty surrounding your health and work, and uncover strategies for adapting to future challenges like COVID-19, as well as the long-term impacts they have on society.

Learn More Here
Sign Up Here

Livestream Panel: Artists in a Time of Global Pandemic (ASL & Captioned) // Howlround Theatre Commons // March 16th, 8pm EST
Join HowlRound plus a group of artists, arts administrators, and others from around to discuss how COVID-19 is impacting freelance artists (those who identify as independent contractors) from all disciplines and where artists can look for support in this complicated moment. The conversation will focus on shared resources (legal, advocacy, how to take your work virtual, finding emergency funding, and financial best practices in crisis) and building and grounding our national community.

Speakers and facilitators include Nicole Brewer (Anti-Racist Theatre Facilitator), Viviana Vargas (Advancing Arts Forward), Vijay Mathew (HowlRound), Ann Marie Lonsdale (Network of Ensemble Theaters and GhostBoat Consulting), Claudia Alick (CALLING UP Justice), Hannah Fenlon (Network of Ensemble Theaters, formerly Theatre Communications Group), Carl Atiya Swanson (Associate Director, Springboard for the Arts), Carrie Cleveland (Education & Outreach Manager, CERF+), Amy Smith (Dance and theater artist, educator, facilitator), Laurie Baskin (Director of Research, Policy & Collective Action, Theatre Communications Group), Avita Delerme, Esq (Senior Counsel, Legal Affairs at The Public Theater), Ouida Maedel, (Musical Theater/Theater Specialist, National Endowment for the Arts), Mark Rossier  (Director of NYFA Grants, New York Foundation for the Arts), Brian Eugenio Herrera (Associate Professor of Theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University), and more (to be announced as confirmed).

This virtual convening is inspired by and connected to a multi-disciplinary resource list shared widely among individual artist communities over the past several days.
Learn More Here

Accelerate Global Good 2020 | Virtual Edition // March 17th, 11am - 9pm EST // Free

Accelerate Good Global is a sector-defining event, uniting tech nonprofit entrepreneurs, technology leaders, and philanthropists who believe in leveraging tech for good.

Diverse tech nonprofit entrepreneurs around the globe are building tech to solve social issues ranging from education to healthcare, to human rights. Brought to you by Fast Forward, Accelerate Good Global: Virtual Edition convenes all players in the tech nonprofit ecosystem to spark meaningful conversations around how we can apply the best technology to our biggest social problems.

This year, the sector-defining AGG is going virtual. We’re bringing the magic of AGG to anyone, anywhere. From incredible main stage content featuring tech nonprofit founders and tech philanthropy leaders to networking opportunities to interactive meet-and-greets with our partner companies, don’t miss this gathering of the tech for good community. 
Learn More & Register

[BROADCASTED LIVE] Designing Out Waste // Urban-X // March 17th , 7PM EST // Free
How can players at each link in the food value chain work to design out waste while creating value for their business and stakeholders? What other roles can zero waste advocates play within their own communities or organizations? Where are there still major opportunities?

Circular City Week is a yearly event that aims to transform industries and redesign urban living through different topics and mediums. This panel hosted by URBAN-X, The Grid, Just Salad, and Agritecture will explore how startups and existing businesses across the food value chain have evolved to create zero-waste solutions. Speakers will go in-depth on what cost, operational, and cultural barriers they ran into while attempting to innovate.

This event is now completely virtual and will be broadcasted live at 7:00 PM EST on Facebook and Youtube. Live chat with us during the panel discussion for the chance to have your questions answered during the Q&A session following the event. Please note this event is now CLOSED to the public and guests will not be allowed to view the panel in person.
Learn More
Watch on Facebook
Watch on Youtube

Boma COVID-19 Virtual Summit // Boma Global // March 23rd
Beginning on Monday, March 23rd, Boma will be hosting a 24-hour virtual global summit — Boma COVID-19 — in partnership with the video-conferencing platform Zoom. As fears of the coronavirus pandemic continue to spread around the world, Boma’s global network will host an unprecedented online summit to illuminate the early lessons we can learn about this epidemic and explore specific plans of action to address it.
Learn More & Register Here

Cool Stuff to Learn/Watch/Read/Play/Know About

News, Articles & Cool Projects

Building a Cyberpunk-Themed Diorama // YouTube

In a nice follow-up to his Mandalorian diorama, Jeremy of Black Magic Craft has created a really lovely cyberpunk diorama using three 3D-printed minis and other parts from Titan Forge.
Watch on Youtube

Blade Runner Game from the 90’s Getting Remastered #SciFiSaturday // Adafruit
Blade Runner is, of course, awesome. Synths. Replicants. Rutger Hauer. The greatest quasi-improvised screen monologue of all time. The classic tech-noir has had many video games over the years, but 1997’s Blade Runner PC Game may be the most beloved, and it’s going to be remastered. The story of how the Blade Runner game came to be available for an update is as wild as the famously troubled production of the movie.
Read More

A UX Researcher Reviews Final Fantasy VII Demo // Culture of Gaming
When gamers review a game such as Final Fantasy VII, there is a template by which they record our findings: narrative, aesthetic, gameplay, sound quality, and replay-ability, etc. This isn’t groundbreaking, it’s a tried and tested method. Which is often the best way to give gamers who will potentially purchase a title the info they need. With this information, they can make a reasonably informed decision. However, when a UX researcher looks at a game, they do so through a different lens.
Read More

N O R M A L S is a collection of works lying right at the intersection of design and fiction. Sometimes visual, sometimes literary, video-based, musical, prototypical and functional, each element here is a gateway to a single universe — an anticipated future. Desirable to some, distressing to others, the society at its core runs on dreams of ubiquitous 3D printing and some algorithmic superstitions. Take some time to visit. Come back once in a while. You’ll see imaginary artifacts and their imaginary users become hyperlinked by a story.
Check it Out

PRIMER19 Talks
If you have some free time, check out all of the awesome content we recorded last year at PRIMER19 in NYC. All free on DFI Vimeo!
Watch on Vimeo

Shows Doc is Currently Binging

Altered Carbon // Netflix // Season 2 Now Available!
Altered Carbon is an American cyberpunk web television series created by Laeta Kalogridis and based on the 2002 novel of the same title by English author Richard K. Morgan. In a world where consciousness can be transferred to different bodies, Takeshi Kovacs, a former soldier turned investigator, must solve a murder. 
Watch on NetFlix

The Expanse
The Expanse is an American science fiction television series developed by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, based on the series of novels of the same name by James S. A. Corey. The series is set in a future where humanity has colonized the Solar System. It follows a disparate band of antiheroes – United Nations Security Council member Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), police detective Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane), ship's officer James Holden (Steven Strait) and his crew – as they unwittingly unravel and place themselves at the center of a conspiracy which threatens the system's fragile state of Cold War-like peace, the class balance, and the survival of humanity.
Watch on Amazon Prime


Devs is an American drama thriller television miniseries created, written, and directed by Alex Garland that premiered on March 5, 2020, on Hulu. It is centered on Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno), a computer engineer investigating a quantum computing company called Amaya, run by Forest (Nick Offerman). She believes this company is responsible for the disappearance of her boyfriend.
Watch on Hulu


Decentraland // Desktop/Browser
You have heard me geek out about it over and over, but lots of cool stuff happening as people get caught at home! Don't forget to check out the Speculative Futures gallery I built here.

Decentraland is a decentralized virtual reality platform powered by the Ethereum blockchain. Within the Decentraland platform, users will be able to create, experience, and monetize their content and applications.
Learn More

No Man's Sky // PS4/Steam/XboxOne
No Man’s Sky is a game about exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated galaxy, available on PS4, PC, and Xbox One. Whether a distant mountain or a planet hanging low on the horizon, you can go there. You can fly seamlessly from the surface of a planet to another, and every star in the sky is a sun that you can visit.

Where you’ll go and how fast you’ll make your way through this universe is up to you. It’s yours for the taking.
Learn More

Final Fantasy VII Re-Make (Coming Soon!!!) // PS4 Only
Final Fantasy VII Remake retells the story of the original Final Fantasy VII. Players control Cloud Strife, a former Shinra soldier who joins the AVALANCHE eco-terrorist group as a mercenary to fight the Shinra Corporation, who have been draining the planet's life energy.
You can now try the demo free from the PS4 Store!!!!

Learn More

Coronavirus roundup: EGX Rezzed, Pokemon Go, and using MMOs to learn from home // Bree Royce // MassivelyOP
We’re capping off an odd week of coverage here in our little corner of the online gaming world, as even those of us who’ve been following coronavirus coverage obsessively since January didn’t entirely expect it to consume the digital landscape, but here we are. Let’s peek at some of the new developments relevant to MMO players.
Read More

Links to Previous Compilations of Speculative Articles, Fiction, Design, Theory, etc. from Past Issues of SciFly

SciFly 111 / Searching for Speculative Signals // Doc's Speculative Signals Sources
I share my process for scanning for speculative signals and generally publications I follow for news & updates.
Check It Out

SciFly 103 // Stuffed full of Speculation // Presentation on Post Gender Futures
I share my presentation on Post-Gender Futures that I gave in New Orleans in November 2019.
Check It Out

SciFly 87 // Speculative Download Summer Edition 2019 | SciFi, Prediction, Futures, Punk & Imagination

I share some of the great articles, publications, and books I've been checking out. Many of them are looking at the intersection of speculative/science fiction, design, art, and technology as it relates to finding 'practical' uses for speculation. I like to call this the 'so what' part of Speculative Design, and I've been really interested in better answering that question lately, as you could probably tell from my last few posts.
Check It Out

SciFly 82 // Rainbow Speculations / Queer Speculative Resources
In honor of World Pride, I shared some of my favorite queer-themed fiction, podcasts, authors, bloggers, games, and research. 
Check It Out

SciFly 73 // Speculative Download Spring 2019 Edition
Quick Speculative Download of some of the podcasts, articles, books, publications, films etc. that others recommended to me, or are on my to-read list at the moment.
Check It Out

SciFly 67 // Fuel for Speculation
I share a list of some of the stuff I was reading, listening to and watching, or excited about checking out in the immediate future in March of 2019.
Check It Out

SciFly 64 // Using Fiction to Speculate Queer Futures
I share some really great resources that I came across while researching a presentation "Far Out: What's So Queer About Speculative Fiction?
Check It Out

SciFly 56 // Doc's Guide to Holiday Speculation
I share a couple of books, articles, movies/shows, games etc. I have come across around December 2019.
Check It Out

Speculative News, Articles, Resources (COVID-19 Related)

News, articles, and other writing on signals and trends regarding how the world around us is changing due to COVID-19 and speculations on how the future might be different as a result.

Skip this section if you don't want to hear any more about this right now or focus on something else.


🔥Coronavirus offers "a blank page for a new beginning," says Li Edelkoort // Dezeen
The coronavirus epidemic will lead to "a global recession of a magnitude that has not been experienced before" but will eventually allow humanity to reset its values, according to trend forecaster Li Edelkoort.
Read More

America is a Sham // Slate
Policy changes in reaction to the coronavirus reveal how absurd so many of our rules are to begin with.
Read More

Japanese People Are Reviving a 1,000-Year-Old Dish Because of Coronavirus
Due to a surplus of milk due to panic-buying, Japanese residents are making a milk-based food that hasn't been eaten in the country for the past 1,000 years or so.
Read More

10 Remote Collaboration Apps for HoloLens, Magic Leap, & Mobile That Can Substitute for in-Person Meetings // Tommy Palladino // Next Reality
For enterprise augmented reality platform makers, remote assistance apps represent one of the greatest opportunities to show off the power of immersive computing. These apps enable experts to guide front-line workers or customers with AR prompts and other content in the field of view of their smartphones or smartglasses.
Read More

Facebook Language Changes Before a Trip to the ER // Gregory Filiano (Futurity)
Language posted on Facebook becomes subtly more formal before people go to hospital emergency rooms, a new study shows.
Read More

VR Was Supposed to Help Us Work Remotely. So Where Is It? // Molly Wood // Wired
Shuttered offices and social isolation. Working from home was supposed to be great, but the only thing worse than conference rooms is conference calls.
Read More

Around the World, People are Grocery Shopping in Hazmat Suits // Jon Christian (Futurism)
In a grim new trend, people around the world are wearing hazmat suits in public — an apparent bid to avoid catching the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the sometimes-deadly disease COVID-19.
Read More


NYC United Against Cornavirus - Resources
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a global pandemic virus currently prevalent throughout NYC. This document contains information and resources to help New Yorkers respond to the coronavirus.
Learn More

Coronavirus Resource Kit
A collectivized document that will be updated as more mutual aid projects and resources appear online. The compilation features resources from disabled, queer, elderly, Asian, and indigenous people. 
Learn More

COVID-19 Mutual Advocacy Resources
This editable document is meant to be a resource for people looking out for themselves and their communities through personal preparation, collective care, mutual aid, and advocacy.

You are welcome to add to and edit this document or copy these resources for sharing elsewhere, as long as it’s done with the intention of helping communities come together and support each other and with attention to vulnerable and marginalized people’s specific needs.
Learn More

Don’t Panic: The comprehensive Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus
More than 162,600 people have been infected with a new coronavirus that has spread widely from its origin in China over the past few months. Over 6,000 have already died. Our comprehensive guide for understanding and navigating this global public health threat is below. This is a rapidly developing epidemic, and we will update this guide every day at 3pm EDT to keep you as prepared and informed as possible.
Check It Out

COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources
This list is specifically designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community. This includes, but is not limited to, actors, designers, producers, technicians, stage managers, musicians, composers, choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, craft artists, teaching artists, dancers, writers & playwrights, photographers, etc.
Learn More

Coronavirus/Covid-19 Resources for Artists // Springboard for the Arts
In the current Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, artists as independent workers, arts organizations dependent on gathering groups together, and creative people engaged in travel and exchange may be especially affected. Springboard for the Arts is committed to creating, amplifying, and sharing resources to support artists and communities, always as part of our mission, and at this time especially.
Read More

How to Keep Kids Excited to learn During COVID-19 School Closures (Futurity)
As K-12 schools across the country announce temporary closures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, there are things teachers and parents can do to keep students interested in learning at home, experts say.
Read More


Join the Fight Against Coronavirus COVID-19 with Folding@Home

NVIDIA is rallying gamers around the world to donate unused GPU and CPU cycles to Coranavirus COVID-19 research with Stanford’s Folding@Home project. For 20+ years, the community processed over 15-million Work Units and sits at #5 in the world rankings.

After the first announcement by F@H Director, Dr. Greg Bowman, everyone at Folding@home's laboratories has been working tirelessly to get these projects up and running so that you, me and everyone with a PC can help fight against this pandemic.

Join and donate your unused GPU and CPU computing power to fight against Coronavirus (and several other illnesses, like Cancer, Parkinson's, etc).
Download Here
Learn More Here

What I'm Reading

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

The Accidental Taxonomist
by Heather Hedden

Suddenly working at home? We’ve done it for 22 years—and have advice
by Ars Staff

Scientists Are Building a Quantum Teleporter Based on Black Holes
By Dan Robitzski

Thanks for Subscribing

Thank you for reading! We hope you have enjoyed this weekly dose of NYC's best speculative design, fiction, art, and technology events.

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

You can also learn more about my work at


Want More Speculation?

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