Souvenirs from the Futures
This collection of “Souvenirs from the Future” envisions what the future looks like through the eyes of young and talented art, design and architecture students living in different parts of the world. Some are speculations on ideal tomorrows; others are projections and critiques on the present. Some reveal beautiful aesthetics, alternatives to the high tech; others bravely question critical issues around politics, religion or tradition.
On each project’s pages you will find a short fictional story alongside images of the speculative design object, both created in response to a prompt. Stories and objects may directly refer to one another or simply be part of the same broad scenario.
Any future vision is chained to the present in which it has been created; it is therefore important to read these words and images with an awareness of their socio-political context. At the same time, these proposals are not didactic or explanatory. Each proposal intentionally leaves space for personal interpretations and, like a poem, invites the viewer to embellish these alternative realities with their own. At the same time, we know that these proposals emerge from very subjective sentiments, and therefore don't in any way speak to the complexity within each culture or in society at large. In truth, there are infinite global futures. The Global Futures Lab aspires to keep collecting “Souvenirs from the Futures” and imagining what they could be.
There will be a time when our world will be deprived of any emotion and wearable digital devices will help us feel human again. Objects will become our sadistic companions, forcing us to sensory extremes.
In search for peace
Could virtuality be the only place to find peace and rediscover our spirituality? In a mix of technology and craft, spiritualism and pixels, the Yog Headset will help us deal with our frenetic daily lives.
In a reality where identity preservation and enforced diversity will be the norm, people will possess devices that will facilitate inter-ethnic communication and grant equal rights and duties.
Who would be the richest or poorest if our wealth were commensurate to our good and evil deeds? In a society where karma is the metric of value for citizens and individuals, would we be publicly cheered or shamed?
There’s no doubt that the way we do things will change. But what if technology can help preserve our traditions? Can bio-craft cultivate carpets waiting lovingly for their growth?
Far from a vision where future is development, development is productivity and productivity is efficiency, one day, progress will mean being fulfilled but not exploited, being in control of our lives but still proud members of an egalitarian society.
- In both past history and future speculations, the most reliable and available source of energy resides in our bodies. Beyond any robots or artificial intelligence, in this vision of Cuba everything, from social structure to city planning, will be based on people’s physical activity.
Concerned about privacy and willing to have an almost osmotic exchange of data, future citizens will open up their lives in the blink of an eye. Invisible dialogues will replace our present digital individualism.
Preserve the memory
Memory can be ephemeral; it is easy to forget who we are. Our blood may be the only way we can trace back to where we belong. A drop of it could open a beneficent Pandora’s box, bringing past and present together.
listening to the trees
In a future made of treehouses, organic gardens, bioenergy and purple tomatoes, the trees are the precious keepers of our memories. Nature, spiritualism and technology are all part of this musical dream.
No one would have thought that the digital-isolation virus would have spread and overthrown the sense of community within the African continent. Almost everyone though seems comfortable and happy in their new virtual world.
A Love story
- As India becomes the most populated country in the world, the government starts promoting same-sex marriage and forced sterilization. This scenario is a journey through past, present and future dystopias, between politics and taboos.
Humankind seems to not fully grasp the vital interdependence between human beings and nature. Animals maintain a better awareness of that relation, and they will be the ones to oversee the environment, either as an intelligent and evolved species or as a tool that people will use to control their counterparts.
What if an entire country were to turn into a sort of retirement community? How would the service system evolve, the legislation? Objects will replace loved ones, and products will become fetish memories of a lost past.
It seems impossible to think about Hinduism without its myriad of gods and goddesses. We might think though that someday a new and simpler order will arise to help people catch up with their religious obligations: all worship will go directly to the natural elements.
singing to the fish
Alongside flying cars and genome design, we might also find in the future that fishers are still alive. Technology will merge with fishing poetics as tomorrow rediscovers the beauty of the past.
The past featured depopulation of rural areas and massive urbanization in megacities as the only possible option for life. The future will rely on algorithms to relocate people for their own and everyone’s good.
- A Speculative Ministry of Education is launching a new K-12 curriculum. In a hyper-decibel society, lip reading is a critical element of the new pedagogical reform, helping kids grow into more intelligible and resourceful members of the community.
- Smart technologies and spirits will merge to give birth to appliances that can engage with feelings and spiritual energies. Our houses will warn us about who’s dragging us down and who can make us happy.