speculative futures

I’m hosting the Speculative Futures Symposium at Performance Space Sydney in April 2011.

Panel includes: Susan Ballard (Dunedin School of Art, NZ), Lizzie Muller (Curator, Awfully Wonderful), Andrew Frost (The Art Life), Stephen Cleland (Director of The Physics Room, Christchurch, NZ), and Haydn Fowler (artist, Awfully Wonderful exhibition).
Saturday 16 April 1-5pm

This symposium asks: how do contemporary media, art and design contribute new and speculative futures, and, how do we begin to address the near future? For many centuries the dawn of the new millennium –the year 2000– epitomised the future to come. The twentieth century raced eagerly towards this most dazzling of dates fuelled by the cult of modernity and the turbo-charged transformations of globalisation and digital communication. Utopian frameworks merged with political realities and many predictions seemed to come ‘true.’ Now, in the early twenty-first century ecological changes have been accompanied by massive industrial, social and economic renovations. Our present actions simultaneously destroy and construct the future. Where once we hoped to be able to predict the next big challenge, now, today, our particular set of historical circumstances means that we are living in a time when catastrophic events are met with an overwhelming onslaught of speculative analysis. The future we must consider is closer to hand than it has ever been.

Drawing on their work towards a special issue of The Fibreculture Journal: “Networked Utopias and Speculative Futures” Su Ballard and Lizzie Muller will bring together artists, curators and designers involved in networked communities, utopias, speculative futures, urban environments, and future architectures to examine the productivity of future-thinking from our present location. The symposium will circulate through three future frames: forethought, imagining, and speculation. Informed by the here and now, we will explore the future worlds, experiences, technologies, peoples and events of the current world. We are interested in the kinds of novel, historical and creative approaches that architects, artists, curators, designers, environmentalists and philosophers can contribute to the near future. By the end of the symposium we hope to understand more about how art can create sustainable narratives out of the current moment, and, how we might present imaginative solutions as we experience the near-future crisis.