Future Making Workshop

April 13 – April 15 2016 April 13 – April 15 2016 April 13 – April 15 2016 April 13 – April 15 2016 April 13 – April 15 2016 April 13 – April 15 2016 On April 13, 2016, The Future Making Research Consortium launched a new Aarhus University research project “Creating Future Memories,” led by Annette Markham, Professor of Information Studies at Aarhus University. This April workshop occurred in and around DOKK1, in Aarhus, Denmark. The broader project, ‘Creating Future Memories,’ is a citizen-focused effort to identify and foster ongoing and new creative methods of regaining control of the ‘big data’ we regularly produce in our everyday lives. As contemporary societies become more saturated in digital and social media, it takes time and effort to track our own data, much less curate it in ways that might make sense for our grandchildren. This project aims to provide a series of experimental workshops for citizens to think about what personal data is being collected by large corporations like Google and Facebook, and how this data is archived, packaged, and recycled back to us as if it represents the totality of our lives.

The April launch brought together a vibrant group of individuals who blur the boundaries between art, academics, and activism. I wanted to just toss them in a room together for a couple of days, to see what happened. They’re all brilliant researchers and artists. Each brings strong ethics and a concern for how we might creatively imagine and design possible futures, rather than simply accept what automated technologies might invent on our behalf. – Annette Markham, Project Leader

After a full day of meeting, brainstorming, and preparing on April 13, the group designed two different interactive exhibitions: The Museum of Random Memory and The Helpdesk of Your Future. On April 14 and 15, the group engaged with participants in the Counter Play Festival as well as citizens wandering through the open floor plan of DOKK1. More information about what happened can be found on the project pages.


“Recognizing and engaging with undervalued information and knowledge – including the situated knowledge of raced and gendered subjects – makes for a radical playfulness because it disrupts normative epistemologies.” “The ways that some forms of information are prioritized over others is a product of geopolitical flows.” “The future is waiting to being brought forth by our capacity to artfully intertwine and nurture it forth, gently, kindfull and with an awakened mind.” “I think data can easily bring us away from the natural interactions we need as human beings.” “There is value in considering participatory design as a form of anthropology, not only to understand cultures but to change them towards sustainable living.” “I have mixed feelings about the language of ‘curating future memory’ –with all that shaping and forming of memory, we remove ourselves from the present.” “What kinds of power (literally the means of powering the storage of the information) will it take to keep the past? And shape the future?” “Research and design should be an interventionist practice; futures are both embedded in and materialised through processes of technological making.” “Play is a powerful tool that allows us to create, explore and test out possibilities for the future while making sense of the past.” “The endlessness of data is often overwhelming. I am increasingly aware of the ways in which I am actively constructing my identity through the data I release into the world.” “Artistic experiments with natural materials can provoke participants to re-consider the ‘naturally’ of everyday items by making the natural seem exotic.”

“Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the technical aspects while forgetting that the key to creating futures is about telling stories.”

“How can slower media forms communicate alongside the digital, often gestural utterances to modify or complicate or challenge automated curations?” “So, the “year in review” or other online statistics/collections about me don’t hold the information most important for me, neither do they depict the things that are important for me.” “To understand how everyday life is perceived from a first person perspective we must investigate the way the mediated present is experienced as embodied perceptions, which cannot be captured by automated technologies.” “Memory in a datafied era is a battle among thousands of stakeholders, political interests, and competing ideas about what is real.” “Technology is not sufficient on its own. Civic participation and co-creation are equally important components in the cities of the future.” “What is the sound of the future? Audio storytelling remains a vital analog form in a world of datafication.”


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