This is a newsletter for designers and time travel facilitators. It has insights about the speculative practice and tools we use in our method that they could try as well. Today we snoop on people.
This transmission is about a research project for scenario-making.
Speculative scenarios are often unusual, curious, occasionally even disturbing, but desirable and attractive prompts that create the suspension of disbelief about change. They are open-ended, offer the audience the possibility of personal interpretation, and frequently include humor, which activates the audience on an emotional and intellectual level, in a way similar to literature and film.
The designer’s challenge during Phase 1 of time traveling (scenario design) is a difficulty from participants to come up with original stories or stories distanced from utopia/dystopia; also when participants feel intimidated to blurt out storylines amongst peers.
An agenda in Mexico is a list of activities and also “a calendar’s container”; it’s usually a little book. The specific little book featured in this transmission landed into our hands during a game of “present snatching” (where party guests give and get ridiculous gifts during celebrations and holidays), and we thought it was the most underrated gift of the party– how could someone see it as unwanted? Someone’s privacy of an entire year wrapped as a present– a special mundanity.
If speculative design talks about accessing the mundane futures of people, this object set(s) a perfect scenario where to write from: what if you took used agendas as a shared prompt material from where to come up – alone or together – with continuums and destinies for everyone and everything mentioned?
What if, once done with your rapid prototyping, you worked your way back to this fiction prompt, and developed an interactive prototype in seven situations you found in an agenda– in seven mundane futures?
Phase 3 of time traveling is about rapid-prototyping. Artifacts are a view into a time traveler’s heart and soul… and into values and fears and hopes and a conviction that they are indeed creative (a conviction which we as designers must protect at all times). In speculative design we communicate ideas with artifacts. During rapid prototyping we think with our hands and build physical objects that contain a fiction, a scenario, a challenge inside that scenario, and a proposed answer.
This is how we make artifacts rapidly, how prototyping works at The Time Travel Agency, or how this weird stuff is created:
The agenda experience above resulted in an experiment which in turn ended with a speculative film– a sort of “found object” with snippets from unknown folks’ lives in the past, present, and future.
People from a few countries were asked to submit themselves reading parts of their agendas or calendars. People watching the film are asked to continue the mundane futures of the readers, first during a literature art show in 2019 where the film was released, and consequently in random occasions during facilitations.
You can watch ‘Agendas’ here (and on Vimeo) »
What we see when we aren’t seeing into a specific project.
We borrow from film, literature, games, the zeitgeist, the bus…
The Deleted City is a digital archaeology of the world wide web as it exploded into the 21st century.
“The early citizens of the net (or netizens) took their netizenship serious, and built homepages about themselves and subjects they were experts in. These pioneers found their brave new world at Geocities, a free webhosting provider that was modelled after a city and where you could get a free "piece of land" to build your digital home in a certain neighbourhood based on the subject of your homepage. Ten years later in 2009, as other metaphors of the internet (such as the social network) had taken over, and the homesteaders had left their properties vacant after migrating to Facebook, Geocities was shutdown and deleted.
This website is an interactive visualisation of the 650 gigabyte Geocities backup made by the Archive Team on October 27, 2009. It depicts the file system as a city map, spatially arranging the different neighbourhoods and individual lots based on the number of files they contain. In full view, the map is a data-visualisation showing the relative sizes of the different neighbourhoods. While zooming in, more and more detail becomes visible, eventually showing individual html pages and the images they contain.” (x)
What if peeking into these “homes” that others built long, long ago was the same as peeking into their agendas, their everyday? And what if early web images and gifs were the origin of scenarios and prompts? A no-longer city as a platform for reflections about design and past and future…
From our community!
NeuraWave Lucid Dream Therapy Machine | User Manual is part of Riley Wong’s ‘Hypnopompia’– a story about dreams, brainwaves, music, and relationships.
This speculative fiction story can be read here, and, in our opinion (experience), could be used to ignite a trippy speculative theater piece out of its user manual and table of contents (imagine each person as a chapter)(!).
Hypnagogia is the transitional state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep. The opposite is hypnopompia, the transitional state that occurs before waking up.