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  • Feb 25 / 2015
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Events

Berlin Workshop: Community Futures

Julian’s workshop at the ‘Community Now’ symposium in Berlin, titled ‘Community Then? Mapping Future Scenarios in the Community’, challenged participants to explore alternative futures of the Mehringplatz neighbourhood through a collaborative design game. The Thing From The Future was designed in 2014 by Situation Lab, initially for use in a speculative design jam with Extrapolation Factory. The gameplay generates four different variables – arc, mood, terrain, and object – in each prompt, for an estimated 3.7 million possible prompts and an almost infinite number of possible futures. (An online ‘shuffler’ version was just launched here.

For the purpose of this workshop, which dealt specifically with community futures, the deck was modified with the addition of new cards. These included ‘Community Centre’, ‘Park’, ‘Café’, ‘Museum’, and the larger neighbourhood that includes Mehringplatz, ‘Kreuzberg’. Gameplay was also modified, with groups of players given set prompts instead of randomly generated ones. So players competitively designed objects from various futures, which in turn told stories about the futures they came from, using the customized card prompts. The result was a series of location-based future scenarios mapped onto specific neighbourhood features: the local park, community centre, etc.

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During the workshop, each group of 3-5 players sat at a different table. Tables were equipped with coloured pens and customized game sheets. Each player was given ten minutes to design a ‘thing’ based on the prompt, after which the group voted to decide who ‘won’ the round with their design. Then they moved on to the next prompt: there were three groups in all, and each group completed four prompts, so at the end of four rounds each group had four different winning ‘things’ (out of 12 to 20 in all).

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Once all the rounds were played, Julian ‘commissioned’ each group to make a short performance around one ‘thing’, for a total of three performances. Twenty minutes later, the groups performed their skits for an audience, with each performance ending in a tableau vivant. With hours of brainstorming and creative discussion involved, the workshop was a fun and productive way for participants to get to know Mehringplatz and to generate possible community futures and ideas for present change.

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  • Feb 25 / 2015
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Events, Projects, Yasmine Adventures

Future Fabulators @M-iti participation in Community Now?

Future Fabulators @M-ITI recently participated in the symposium Community Now? The Politics of Participatory Design, which took place from 19-21 February at the Jewish Museum, Berlin. You can read more about the initiative here.

A few months ago the Fabulators were invited by Bianca from Design Research Lab – UdK to take part in the event with an interactive neighborhood walk, a workshop about possible futures for the community, and a final presentation.

Researchers Mara Dionisio and Luis Ferreira, assisted by Paulo Bala and Rui Trindade under the guidance of Valentina Nisi and Julian Hanna, developed Yasmine’s Adventures, a series of interactive vignettes tailored specifically to the Mehringplatz neighborhood near the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

The story relates the experiences of a free-spirited and adventurous local girl named Yasmine following her escape from a school tour as she tries to find her way home. The locations depicted in the narrative were chosen by community members during the RDL/UdK-led ‘Pinpointing Mehringplatz’ workshop, and they hold specific positive or negative values for the inhabitants.

The audience on our walk viewed the neighborhood through Yasmine’s eyes and by extension through the eyes of the community: the most beloved spaces, areas that require change, and spaces that are disliked by the community. In the workshop led by Julian participants explored alternative futures for the local community using a collaborative design game.

Here are some images from those moments:

  • Nov 17 / 2014
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Events

Narrative Strategies Symposium

During the 8th and 9th of November, around 30 experts with varied kinds of expertise, from HCI, to art, design, computer science, linguistics, literature and more, gathered in the village of Ponta do Sol on the island of Madeira for the Narrative Strategies Symposium 2014. A series of speakers presented their work our assumptions and open new avenues for to think about the theme of Prototyping what is not tangible, and discussions sparked from the participants in questioning such practices, and challenging the status quo of research in the different fields represented by the speakers backgrounds and expertise. The discussions and exchanges that followed the guest lectures where often continued over coffee breaks and meals at the Estalagem Ponta do Sol, where everyone was based for the rest of the day, and nights. The days were packed and the atmosphere vibrant. We hope that by gathering such a variety of experts for two days in such an contained and charming place we have establish a basis for connection among different disciplines and dialogue about how to prototype intangible objects, atmospheres, and future situations. More details about the presentations and events are available by clicking here.

  • Nov 12 / 2014
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Events, Projects

Laurisilva Futures Workshop: Process and Results

Future Fab M-ITI organised a two-day workshop where all the Fabulators would come together with various experts in order to understand and imagine the past, present, and future of the laurisilva forest, especially in the context of the transmedia story in the making.
On the morning of the first day an experience prototype of the story was deployed and experienced by the whole group.Twelve people walked through the village of Ponta do Sol encountering characters, settings, plants, and natural remedies that are part of the life of our heroine Laura and that led to the creation of Laura’s fabled herbarium.

ExperiencePrototypeWebsite

In the afternoon a group of researchers and experts (including biologists and ethnobotanists) took the group on an educational walk in the heart of the Madeiran laurisilva, describing the plants, climates, and remedies that form such a wealth of heritage on the island.

collageLevadaWalk_Website

On the second day of the workshop, FoAM led a future scenario session based on four generic images of the future as defined by Jim Dator, Director of the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The  future scenario session process can be consulted here

collage_WebsiteFutureScenario

 

These four alternative futures were labelled: ‘grow’, ‘collapse’, ‘discipline’, and ‘transform’.

The ‘grow’ scenario imagines a future in which society continues to grow and develop according to its present trajectory. The ‘collapse’ scenario, meanwhile, has been gaining popularity in recent years as more and more people worry about the unsustainable state of the environment, the economy, and so on. In order to avoid ‘collapse’ many people favour a ‘disciplined’ vision of the future, in which people’s lives are governed by a set of values (e.g. natural, spiritual, or cultural) rather than by endless economic growth. The fourth alternative is ‘transformation’, in which for example many technologies converge rapidly to transform society from its present state into a new post-human world. The one thing that people still do better than machines in this radically transformed future is to be creative.
After discussing and highlighting the major drivers of change with regard to the future of the laurisilva forest, we discussed these drivers in relation to three of the four futures mentioned above. We explored possible scenarios that could develop from such drivers and what the future might be like for our character Laura and the herbarium in each of these three alternative futures.

Discipline

The ‘discipline’ scenario envisioned a future for Madeira ruled by an academic, eco-conscious elite. The ruling party, alternately described as a ‘botanocracy’ by adherents and ‘Botanistan’ by reactionary critics, swept to power on a wave of support following the collapse of the island’s longstanding human-centric, pro-development party, which in turn was brought about by a series of natural disasters including floods and fires. Concepts and keywords forming the basis of this scenario included rewilding, quarantine, sensing and monitoring, re-education, maximum biodiversity, living lab, seed and gene banks, botanic music, migration control, and economy of PhDs.

Madeira’s governing slogans in this scenario were ‘discipline and flourish’ and ‘maximum eco-discipline, minimum eco-footprint’. The island advertised itself as ‘the ultimate eco-conference destination’ and offered access via an airshaft lift to an unspoilt conference venue in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage protected laurisilva forest. Under the new government, the island also claimed to be ‘the world’s leading evidence-based, double-blind peer reviewed political system’.

In the most extreme part of the scenario, projected fifty years into the future, Madeira’s ‘scholarocracy’ took as its foundational text the vast herbarium compiled by Laura Silva, the pioneering botanist turned eco-goddess of the island. The herbarium was discovered some years earlier in a cave in an isolated valley, clutched to the breast of the mummified corpse of Laura herself. A climate-controlled, high-security library room overlooking a prime expanse of virgin forest was purpose built to house the book. The herbarium was used by the ruling party to build a genetic time machine, to return Madeira to a pre-settlement landscape comprised almost entirely of lush forests with a minimum of human interference.

 

Collapse

The ‘collapse’ scenario explored what would happen to Madeira’s laurisilva forest if a natural or social disaster caused the collapse of the status quo. In the end we identified two main collapse scenarios: one led by nature, the other led by social factors.

In the first, drivers related to social systems would be affected and their collapse would lead to a different human organization on the island, which in its turn would affect the development of the forest and its ecosystem. Humans would eventually disappear and the forest would revert to its original state, significantly healthier and less endangered than ever before.

In the second scenario we looked at what would happen to the forest in case of a large-scale natural disaster. According to present scientific hypotheses, a large chunk of the Canary Islands is expected to break off and fall into the ocean. Such an event would cause an enormous tsunami, which would affect Madeira, the coast of Africa, and would eventually reach South America. Such a huge wave of seawater would change the face of the Madeiran coastline forever. In Madeira waters would surge by two or three hundred metres, destroying most human settlements along the coast, including the main cities of Funchal, Machico, Canical, Sao Jorge, Porto Moniz, and Calheta. Water channels would also be compromised: levada (irrigation) water would be polluted by salt and mud. Most of the population would likely perish. Many of the remaining survivors would emigrate; only a few would stay and try to rebuild their lives on the island.

In this scenario aid and rescue efforts from the mainland were limited, as they had also been affected by the disaster. Islanders retreated into the laurel forest and after some time they adapted to life there, learning to respect nature and eventually living in harmony with it. This allowed the forest to gradually expand and reach its natural boundaries, as they were before humans settled on the island and modified the ecosystem. Respecting the forest enabled humans to live better and survive longer, and in return humans and nature developed a healthier, more symbiotic relationship.

People in this scenario reorganized themselves into tribes and used the barter system as their main economic model. The laurisilva forest was given its proper respect and Laura became a sort of god, and her remedies were considered sacred. A special group of monks became dedicated to watching over what was left of the herbarium Laura had compiled centuries before.

A few adventurous visitors were curious about the island. They heard about its strange system of tribes living in harmony with nature and wanted to visit. However, a number of the relatively few tourists that now came to visit the very changed island of Madeira were reported lost and never returned. Human bones were sometimes found washed up on the beach near the rivers that came down from the forests.

Transform

In the ‘transform’ scenario we imagined what might happen to Madeira’s laurisilva forest in a far more distant future (in 1000 years). We imagined the forest embracing mutations. These mutations were the result of climate change, natural disasters, and direct human interventions. New ecosystems emerged and the laurisilva adapted with species that could for example filter, desalinate, and depollute seawater. But plants and animals of the laurisilva were not the only ones who suffered mutations – many humans did as well. There were amphibians living in the levadas (irrigation canals), and humans borrowed features from the forest itself, including the ability to filter water and qualities of the laurisilva’s fauna (e.g. bats and butterflies).

Madeira became a ‘living lab’, and was placed under the protection of UGESCO (United Galaxies Education Science and Culture Organization). This was made possible by a deep study of the seeds and DNA encountered in Laura Silva’s herbarium, which captured the laurisilva forest in its purest form. Laura was revered as one of the first and most revolutionary natural scientists. The laurel oil first distilled by Laura was still studied, and new properties were still being discovered from it. One of the trees belonging to the ‘new laurisilva’ was the Cacooum Laurel. Laurels were crossed with cacao trees and as a result laurel berries were chocolate flavoured.

In the future scenario, the laurisilva forest was replicated in miniature in many biodomes across the world. It was discovered that this particular ecosystem had the power to increase happiness levels in humans who were in contact with it. Those who could not experience the laurisilva forest in a biodome or in Madeira directly could access this happiness through a specially engineered pill. The pill, itself a direct product of the forest, enabled people to experience the laurisilva and all the happiness it could bring through vivid but pleasing hallucinations.

  • Oct 05 / 2014
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Events, Lucid Peninsula, Projects

Lucid Peninsula @ Cluj-Napoca

We are happy to announce that the Lucid Peninsula exhibition is currently running in Cluj-Napoca, it’s opening was on the 3rd of October and it will be running until the 9th of October in FSPAC (fostul Hotel Topaz), str Septimiu Albini 10.

This exhibition is an initiative of AltArt Fundation one of the future fabulators partners.

Here are some images from the exhibition opening!




The ffab team at M-iti would like to thank AltArt and Time's Up for the great times spent in Hainburg and Cluj!

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We will see you again soon in Madeira for the Narrative Strategies Symposium!!

  • Sep 28 / 2014
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Events, Lucid Peninsula, Projects

Lucid Peninsula @ Intime Raume 2014

In October M-ITI, in an initiative of its FFab partner Time’s Up, showcased for the first time the Lucid Peninsula Storyworld at Intime Raume 2014 organized by the Institut fur Medianarchaologie (IMA) in Hainburg, Austria.

Time’s Up built a physical narrative set in the room of a Lucid Peninsula character. In this room you could see several aspects related to the Lucid Dreaming Storyworld including the air purifying machine, the dreamnet machine, and GIN bottles.

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M-ITI contributed to this physical narrative with a viewer into the outside world of the Lucid Peninsula. The DreamScope Viewer allows the audience to see into different buildings of the Lucid Peninsula (GIN Distillery Nests, Library, etc.), analyze the air and weather conditions, and monitor the dream activity in these locations.

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Moreover, after exploring the physical narrative the visitors could explore characters’ dreams with the DreamScope Catcher. This is a location-aware mobile application where users, by going to three locations outside the exhibition room (a library, a restaurant, and a garden), could find lucid peninsula dreams related to these locations.

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Also in October, we will exhibit the Lucid Peninsula in Cluj, Romania  in an initiative organized by the FFab partner AltArt – stay tuned for more updates! We will be updating these pages with more details and adding better quality images soon of the Lucid Peninsula and DreamScope.

  • Sep 24 / 2014
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Events, Lucid Peninsula

Festival Intimate Spaces | On the Reality of Dreaming and the Nightmare of Reality

DreamScape Viewer and DreamScape Catcher are about to go live, as part of theTime’s Up  Lucid Peninsula Physical Narrative, at IMA, in Hainburg. Lucid Peninsula is the result of an experimental exploration of scenario planning and building exercises undertaken by FoAM and Time’s Up in June 2014. Subsequently M-ITI worked closely with Time’s Up to realise an interactive addition to the Lucid Peninsula installation. Lucid Peninsula is a part of Future Fabulators, an EU Culture funded collaboration with FoAM (BE), M-ITI (PT) and AltArt (RO), exploring experienceable futures strategies in the cultural sector.

Place: Hainburg, AT
Site: Hotel Altes Kloster
Date: 26.09.2014 – 28.09.2014
Time: 20:00
more info at:http://ima.or.at/intime-raeume-2014/?lang=en
http://www.timesup.org/ffab/lp_hainburg
  • Jun 03 / 2014
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Events

Attersee Book Sprint | 26-29 May 2014, Lake Attersee, Austria

Following directly on from the success and constructive energy of Data Ecologies 2014, Time’s Up hosted a four-day ‘book sprint’ – a collaborative approach in which the aim is to write a complete book in 3-5 days – on the shores of beautiful Lake Attersee. The sprinters included Julian Hanna (M-ITI), Tina Auer, Tim Boykett, and Luis Wohlmuther (Time’s Up), Nik Gaffney, Maja Kuzmanovic, and Alkan Chipperfield (FoAM), Istvan Szakats (AltArt), as well as Trevor Haldenby, Marta Peirano, and Peter von Stackelberg. The purpose of the book was to distil and immediately record the thoughts and debates that came out of Data Ecologies 14; the eventual title of the book was Futurish.

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In just four (very long) days, with the help of facilitator and co-creator Barbara Rühling, the sprinters managed to put together a fresh and provocative book that might, for example, be used as a guide to the state of the art of futures studies. Some of the many themes and practices covered in the book include worldbuilding, transmedia storytelling, everyday futures, experience design, foresight, engagement, guerrilla futures, and uncertainty. Crossing the finish line on the evening of the 29th, the sprinters celebrated with a glass of schnapps and, in the case of our own Julian Hanna and three other participants, jumped into the freezing waters of Lake Attersee.

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On the last evening the group was joined by Adam Hyde, who has been a pioneer in the emerging practice of book sprints. While the sprinters returned to their respective bases, Barbara and Adam proceeded directly to their next sprint: a group of geographers seeking to develop an open source textbook at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. The four-day book sprint organized by Time’s Up was an extremely productive and highly recommended experience. Definitely a process we would like to see more of in the future!

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More information on the book sprint from our parterns:

http://loosediary.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/attersee-booksprint/

http://loosediary.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/a-booksprint-data-ecologies-and-lucid-dreaming-all-at-once/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/times_up/sets/72157644655823050/

 https://secure.flickr.com/photos/foam/sets/72157644825294854/

 

  • May 30 / 2014
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Events

Data Ecologies 2014 | 23-24 May 2014, Linz, Austria

During the last week of May, Julian Hanna and Mara Dionisio of FFab@M-ITI were fortunate enough to participate in Data Ecologies 14, a two-day symposium on the theme of ‘languages and tools to think out loud about futures’ which was hosted by FFab partner Time’s Up in Linz, Austria.

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We presented our latest project, the transmedia story set in Madeira that we have been working on at M-ITI since early 2014. Julian started with a description of the story and the writing process, and Mara followed up with an in-depth look at the various media involved. These included location-aware mobile platforms currently being developed and adapted for use as well as interactive artefacts. Mara stayed on with Time’s Up in Linz after DE14 for a short residency to collaborate with our FFab partners on technical aspects of the transmedia story.

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Hosts Time’s Up managed to pack two days of DE14 with lively debates and vital insights by leading figures from across the futures field. Speakers at DE14 included members of M-ITI, FoAM, and Time’s Up, as well as Julian Bleecker (remotely), Trevor Haldenby, Eva Lenz, Justin Pickard, Scott Smith, and Peter von Stackelberg.

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It is  possible to listen to all the presentations here .

Check out our PowerPoint presentation here .

 

More information on DE14 from our partners:

https://loosediary.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/data-ecologies-14-booklet/

https://loosediary.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/data-ecologies-day01/

https://loosediary.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/data-ecologies-day02/

http://libarynth.org/future_fabulators/de14_notes

https://www.flickr.com/photos/times_up/sets/72157644989530166/

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