We are interested in speculative design projects that question received expectations of the future and propose compelling alternatives.
We know that there are a small number of people thinking and working in this way and quite a few of them are in London. We want to gather together and create an opportunity to share and critique work in progress, start new projects and collaborations and get a discussion going.
- RT @synthaes: Synbio exhibits & experiments needed! 10 days til GROW YOUR OWN @ScienceGallery call closes http://t.co/rVxfkuhCpY Spread th… 02:17:32 PM May 16, 2013 from Twitter for Mac ReplyRetweetFavorite
- ALTERFUTURES TONIGHT CANCELLED. Superhero crisis. Will be rescheduled ASAP. Apologies. 10:37:54 AM May 07, 2013 from Twitter for Mac ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Tonight's AlterFutures is cancelled but will be rescheduled VERY SOON! Apologies. 10:28:30 AM May 07, 2013 from Twitter for Mac ReplyRetweetFavorite
- RT @livingarchitect Young Engineer of the Year builds his own genetics lab – video http://t.co/ObA0dh42ue via @guardian 08:22:15 AM April 27, 2013 from TweetDeck ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Grow Your Own... Open call for projects for new @sciencegallery show on synthetic biology http://t.co/GoUHnFPd4j 02:30:31 PM April 23, 2013 from Twitter for Mac ReplyRetweetFavorite
The next Alterfutures meetup on May the 7th, is the sequel to the a brilliant Lockley/Gaynor evening in 2011!
Visual FX Supervisor Andy Lockley (Double Negative) has worked on the films Batman Begins, Cold Mountain, Children of Men, The Dark Knight and Inception. He won both an Oscar and Bafta for his work on Christopher Nolan’s Inception and has been nominated recently for both the Academy Award and Bafta awards for The Dark Knight Rises. He is currently in production on Ron Howard’s Rush and will talk about his work on Christopher Nolan’s completion to the Batman Trilogy – The Dark Knight Rises.
Artist and Designer Ilona Gaynor, runs the design and research practice The Department of No. She will talk more about their work and focus on her current 2 year long project ‘Under Black Carpets’, which investigates through means of forensic investigation and architectural aesthetics, the robbery of 5 of the richest banks located in downtown Los Angeles. Posing as a Los Angeles Police officer, Ilona has researched not only how to ‘investigate, intervene and be forceful’ but how to efficiently rob banks. This project is in advisory research with New Yorks FBI Department of Justice and the Los Angeles District Attorney.
On March the 12th, we’ll be holding our next Alterfutures meeting -
Science writer Jon Turney, author of ‘A Rough Guide to the Future’ (read more about it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/nov/11/scienceofclimatechange-agriculture) will discuss his latest project for NESTA launching on March 20th which focuses on the interactions between science fiction and technological development. He’ll also tell us about the current research he is doing for his next book project – a popular science treament of the human microbiome – which will appear in 2014.
Designer and researcher David Benque will tell us more about his work into synbio at the RCA-based Studiolab in partnership with the European Commission. He’ll also introduce us to his latest personal project – the alternate ‘green manifesto’ of the fictional activist party, The New Weathermen, whose views promote a potential third way between technoprogressivism and bioconservatism.
Speculative artist Gareth Owen Lloyd who is currently studying at Goldsmiths, will present his recent art project – a calendar of the future based on events from science fiction and an outline of the possible art practices within this predetermined history.
Alterfutures is back on schedule for November and we’ll be discussing what design can bring to policy-making through the projects and studies of designers Benedict Singleton and Tobias Revell, gonzo futurist Justin Pickard and Martha Mingay who works in policy scrutiny.
Service designer Benedict Singleton will talk about his recent essay delivered at the Millennium annual conference on world politics at the London School of Economics (October 20th-21st 2012) called On Design and Infrapolitics, as well as talking about his current design work-in-progress.
Designer Tobias Revell will give a work-in-progress presentation of his latest developments to the project 88.7 which deals with new economic archetypes, the failing of the old models of capitalism, (the rise of China) and how design might function in a growthless, niche consumer world.
Justin Pickard, a Gonzo Futurist, will talk about the use of scenarios in policy discussions around science and technology, highlighting some examples from the UK, and considering how we might begin to approach the uncertainties around new and disruptive technologies.
Martha Mingay, Research and Scrutiny Officer for the Labour Group at the London Assembly will discuss how politicians develop and promote critiques and alternatives for the city of London, the Economy and the Legacy of the Olympic Games; as well as her dissertation into post-industrial politico-aesthetic narration and her interest in design as an ontology for formulating and communicating political alternatives.
The next meetup will be our first official travelling session in the UK – Alterfutures will be holding the closing event for the Arnofini Gallery’s current exhibition ‘Superpower: Africa in Science Fiction‘ in Bristol. We’ll be there on the 30/06/2012, 2pm, Arnolfini Gallery, 16 NARROW QUAY, BS1 4QA, Bristol
Alternative Future Scenarios Southern Africa: 1964 – 2050
A History of Future Scenarios in South Africa from 1992 – 2024
Cher Potter is a design and fashion forecaster, a Research Fellow at the V&A museum on Design Futures, visiting lecturer at the Architectural Association and has a regular column in 032C magazine on science fiction aesthetics.
The potential for an SA bio-sublime by 2050
Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is a designer, artist and writer exploring the social, ethical and cultural implications of synthetic biology, and a Design Fellow on the international research project Synthetic Aesthetics.
The 1964 Dream of a Zambian Afronaut
Cristina de Middel is a photographer who plays with reconstructions and archetypes, and is currently working on a series called ‘The Afronauts‘ based on the true story of a Zambian science teacher’s amateur space program.
Ariel Waldman – spacehack.org: a directory of ways to participate in space exploration
Ariel Waldman has just finished her TV spot on the SyFy channel showing how Spacehack.org allows anyone to hack into space exploration – she’ll talk about bringing together scientists, technologists, designers and people with good ideas to see what they can create in one weekend. She is the creator of Science Hack Day SF and also the coordinator for Science Hack Days around the world, an interaction designer, and a research affiliate with Institute For The Future.
Nicholas Fitzroy-Dale – biohacking at the London Hackspace
Nicholas Fitzroy-Dale has a doctorate in computer programming with a special interest in performance optimisation, embedded systems, and mobile devices – but he also helped develop the the nascent field of amateur biology at the London Hackspace. His online journal moves between subjects like functional programming and the misshapen architecture of the human ear. He’ll talk about biohacking, the intentions and possible outcomes.
Now in its second year, the CRSF is a one day postgraduate conference designed to promote the research of speculative fictions, showcasing some of the latest developments in these dynamic and evolving fields. The University of Liverpool is a leading centre for the study of speculative fiction, being home to the Science Fiction Foundation Collection, and is thus an ideal venue for fostering the next generation of scholars of the fantastic. Topics explored include • Alternate History •Eco-criticism • Gaming • (Geo)Politics • Graphic Novels • Music and SF • Non-Anglophone SF • (Virtual) Spaces and Environments • Weird Fiction • World Building.
It’s on 18th June 2012, with Professors Fred Botting and David Seed giving keynotes.
There’s an Alterfutures meeting this Thursday in the loft! It’s late notice, but we hope you can make it down to support our two presenters.
Chris Pak – Terraforming/Terrorforming
Chris Pak, currently finishing his PhD, will present his thesis on terraforming – a concept that developed from both science fiction and science. He’ll discuss the way in which science fiction has been influential on the technological development involved in terraforming, how terraforming relates to local and global environments and how it helps us understand some of the problems associated with anthropogenic climate change.
Samantha Lee – Landscapes of Plausible Uncertainty
Samantha Lee, part of the Unknown Fields division at the Architecture Association, is currently working on an amazing project to turn a landscape into a supercomputer. She will discuss how, through the supercomputer, we could have a grasp over a natural world and therefore over our uncertain futures.
Joseph Popper – The One Way Ticket
Joseph Popper will present his final work-in-progress project for Design Interactions at the RCA. He is exploring one-way missions to space and what that means economically, ethically and poetically by simulating the specific phenomena to be encountered aboard the spacecraft.
On Tuesday 17th April, Alterfutures hosted a special satellite event in Shanghai at the co-working studio Xindanwei, where a list of great speakers from Speck Design, New Territories Studio, Xindanwei, Tank Shanghai and more shared their thoughts on alternate visions of the future, speculative design, and science fiction in China.
Thanks to curator Samantha Culp and our lovely hosts: http://www.xindanwei.com
It’s Alterfutures number 10!
Damien G Walter, the Guardian Science Fiction columnist and writer of weird and speculative fiction will join us at the next Alterfutures meetup on Thursday 29th March. He’ll be talking about science fiction as a ‘literature of change’, the political possibilities of the SF genre, and his own quest for weird fiction across the electronic universe.
We’ll follow with a discussion on the future of the book, the book-internet merge and meta-content. DGW: ‘I’ll do my best to get some bizarre ideas out of you all!’
Listen to his recent Guardian podcast Science Fiction Now and Tomorrow – Is SF poised to dominate the popular consiousness of 2012?