Everyday Life in decelerated future societies

Here is a first, quick attempt to summarise what made the past few days so special. Days in which we had the pleasure and honour to work with highly inspiring and enthusiastic students of Interaction Design at the ZHdK. Several days of workshop in which Futures Thinking combined with Interaction Design took centre stage. It was made possible and supported by Karmen Franinović and Rasa Weber from the ZHdK and with outstanding support from Eva-Maria Spreitzer. Thematically circulating around future societies and their pace: Slowciety – Speculative design scenarios for lowering the work ethic.

We are still on the train. We have not yet put the inspiring feedback round into a shape – but we will do so as soon as we have the muse. But first we would like to summarise – albeit briefly – what has emerged. We are looking forward to the moment when the documentation and the students’ reflections will arrive. 

Four scenarios were developed, based on the question of which current developments would influence, shape or form the pace of societies in 30 years. 

The participants nominated the uncertain change of social norms and forms as central critical uncertainties, which were the basis for the definition of the axes of the four scenarios. The defined extremes of the first axis thus encompass extremely dogmatic to extremely fluidly organised societies. Those of the second axis ran between societies exclusively dedicated to the collective and those whose members adhere to sheer individualism. 

Along these axes, the following four scenario were fleshed out and titled as following:
Identity Travel Agency, Eight Billion Dictators, Liquid Society & Total Totality 

Artefacts were created for Eight Billion Dictators and for Liquid Society.

The group of students who focused on the Eight Billion Dictators created a manifesto, written in secret language, with an invitation to a meeting of the authors – who essentially see themselves as the legitimate elite of a society that has lost all its members over a certain age to a deadly virus.

The members of the Liquid Society, on the other hand, propagate the implementation of a “mixed-multiverse”, located in a world beyond the currently known one, in order to counteract an impending overpopulation and invite all interested parties to participate in the design in general as well as in the settlement of this mixed-multiverse in particular.

There is no doubt that these were intensive, exciting and insightful days – which is partly due to the fact that our notepads already contain an extensive collection of “What can we / do we want to do differently next time” – fed both by a stimulating (above mentioned) feedback round with the students and the possibility (Futuring Exercises lasting several days are a gift in this respect!) to integrate moments for process reflection in between. While we will primarily enjoy the passing landscape during the remaining train journey, we are already looking forward to a next, further developed process development to intertwine Futures Thinking and Interactive Design.

This Futuring Exercise is part of Curiouser and Curiouser, cried Alice: Rebuilding Janus from Cassandra and Pollyanna (CCA), an art-based research project of Design Investigations (ID2) at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and Time’s Up, supported by the Programme for Arts-based Research (PEEK) on the part of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): AR561. All Time’s Up activities are also kindly supported by Bundesministerium Kunst, Kultur, öffentlicher Dienst und Sport BMKOESLinz KulturLand OÖ & Linz AG.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s