Future Fabulators – Third Culture in Porto

xCoAx – a forum for the exchange of ideas and the discovery of new and valuable synergies – as the organizers describe it – is an event exploring the frontiers of digital arts with the participation of a diverse confluence of computer scientists, media practitioners and theoreticians, with a focus on the relations between what can and cannot be computed, what can and cannot be communicated, what is beautiful and how humans and computational systems intersect in the development of new directions in aesthetics.

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Within this context as well as the fact, that xCoAx being an associated partner from Future Fabulators, all Future Fabulators have been invited to participate. It has been FoAM developing a concept for a workshop, running for a day. “The title of the workshop was “X-factor Futures”. By the X-factor, we mean the “X” in xCoAX“ (not the TV talent show): the link between computation, art and communication. It is a phenomenon that is hard to put in words, but becomes clear through experience, for example in transdisciplinary collaborations. The x-factor is related to something called the ”Third Culture“, a term coined by C.P. Snow (1962) and popularised by John Brockman (1995) of the Edge Foundation.”

xFactor / Third Culture Workshop

The central question, “What does The Third Culture look like?”, was explored along different approaches, methods and practices, which eventually led to the creation of several scenarios which have been “pre-enacted” two days after the workshop was held. Details in how it was lined out, planned and implemented can be found on the X Factor Futures page on the Libarynth.


As known from former Scenario Building sessions within the last months it was again an intense and fast paced process, starting with asking ourselves (as in all participants) what is known, what is assumed and what is unknown to us at the moment about the Third Culture. The following step focussed on the question about possible drives, which change art, computation, communication and “the other” (or x in xCoAx) in the future. Based on these findings, we speculated what might be probable, possible and even preferred futures for the Third Culture, and indeed ended up with the creation of three scenarios of a speculated Third Culture. Humanalia, Springfield
and Annbonny-Ark have been the outcomes.


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