Long due update!

It’s been long overdue but the project is finally complete! The boxes have traveled to Gem Center for the Arts,  Element 11, and Burning Man this summer. With the project, participants were prompted to “Talk to the Future” and they were welcome to say whatever they wanted. The boxes collected a total of 2,628 recorded messages! That’s 4 hours of future talk. The next step is figuring out what to do with all this content. Should I post it all online?

 Gem Center for the Arts 

On display from June 21st- August 21st

Element 11


1,156 total messages

On display from July 12 – July 15

Burning Man 

1,470 total messages

On display from August 26 – September 3

One of the future cities, the Silver City experienced a break down during Element 11. We did not have time to reassemble it for Burning Man so we only put out the 3 other futures.

 

Final Cities

Green City

Sea Levels are Rising but Everything is Ok

Circuit City

 

Workshop Success!

About the workshop

Three participants showed up for the Saturday workshop to build future objects from the future. Each participant was given the same instructions:

  1. Pick 2 headlines from a bowl – What will cause for this future technology to emerge?
  2. Apply focal points – what kind of impact will this technology have?
  3. Apply a story arc – What kind of change will the world need to undergo for the technology to emerge?
  4. Bring it back to today – What is this technology and what does it do?
Dr. Naked showing off what he built. 
Jeremy sketching his design 

Workshop in progress 

Objects created

The objects created were creative and hilarious! I’ll share the documentation for each object later when I get a chance.

Hen simulator 

Automatic jean cleaners 

Light stopping & sanitization unit 

Artificial coffee pod 

Cockroach protein grinder 
 
Pocket robot tailors 
 

 

Goals for next workshop

  • MORE PEOPLE – host in a place where more accidental drop-ins occur such as public art spaces and street festivals
  • EASIER DIRECTIONS – have a hand out ready for drop-ins to build without any direction from me

Circuit City progress

This weekend, I worked on the circuit city. This involved cleaning all of the circuit boards by removing any large pieces and then cutting them into 1 inch strips. 

In this future, our cities become our computers. Apartments in cold areas are essentially heat sinks and our walls are circuit boards. This future fully embraces the Internet of Things by making our fridges capable of mining for cryptocurrency.

Sketch of the City

This city will sit on a 10x10x10 board. Each building will be 1 inch deep with varying heights and widths.

 

Cutting the circuit boards

All of the circuit boards were measured and then cut with the Dremel tool.

 

Aerial view and layout

Once all of the circuit boards were cut, we needed to figure out the best way to secure them in a vertical position. We used a table saw to cut three slots into a 1 inch strip of wood so that we could place the cut circuit boards vertically.

Sourcing materials and planning

Material Sourcing

I spent the weekend sourcing materials from a local thrift store for objects to use in the workshop and the city dioramas. The way that I source the objects to use in the workshop follow a specific criteria :

  • Light weight
  • Can be taken apart if necessary
  • Not immediately identifiable, if I don’t understand what it is, I put it in the bin

Similarly, I follow a set of principles for the design of the cities:

  • lightweight
  • made from recycled materials
  • energy efficient and requires low power
  • less than $100 per diorama

Right now, all of the materials are contained in these bags, but I would like to eventually sort and organize them for a better display.

Luckily, this thrift store sells by the pound, so here’s 60 pounds of random stuff

City planning

While managing the upcomingworkshop, I am also starting the construction of the cities so that participants have a wholistic feel for what we will be doing. Currently, my plan is to build out 4 cities though the original plan was to have 6 total. Two more may be added on later down the line.

City 1  – Abstract City

The abstract city will not feature any clear identifiable building shapes. A lot of the shapes will inspire the user to fill in the blanks to create and apply their own meaning to the city.

City 2- “Green” City

“Green” implying bio friendly. In this city, the envisioned future is that we have bioengineered our plants to do a lot of environmental and technological heavy lifting for us such as purifying our dirty air, detecting harmful and toxic chemicals in the air, distribute wifi signals, and also communicate to us their need for food and water.

I started work on this city this weekend. I worked on the layout for this city, made some pom pom trees, and have started planning for how to incorporate optic fibers and LED lights.

 . 

City 3- Circuit  City 

In this future, our cities become our computers. Apartments in cold areas are essentially heat sinks and our walls are circuit boards. This future fully embraces the Internet of Things by making our fridges capable of mining for cryptocurrency.

City 4- Compartment City

In the compartment city, all space will be fully utilized, yet fun and colorful. It embraces the future where there will be an entire city within one apartment building. Floors will be dedicated to farming, forestry, games, sun bathing, work, and so on.

Next Steps

  • Create the mirrored infinity cubes
  • Work with Ross Butler, the engineering mastermind, on low energy solutions for audio recording and playback and LED and optic cable grids
  • Work with Dr. Naked, the mechanical expert, on the construction of bases and ways to hold these cities together in extreme heat environments
  • Put together a short presentation for the workshop
  • Continue experimenting with materiality and shape

 

Workshop

After reading more about the Extrapolation Factory & other critical design workshops, I plan to run my own community workshop for artifact creation out of Boise next month. I feel that it would be a great fit and addition to the box project. Not only will people be able to interact with the futures on a macro scale by seeing into the infinity cubes, they will now also be able to interact with them on a micro scale by exploring physical fictional artifacts. My intention is to ultimately create a pop-up “shop” at Burning Man and in Boise to showcase the dioramas and the future artifacts as a cohesive event. I am thinking the theme of the pop-up shop will be a tool rental and spare parts store. But I’m open to see how the community will shape the project.

I emailed the people who run the Extrapolation Factory and they have given me the verbal approval to borrow some of their methodology and are excited to see how this all turns out.

I have plenty of access to materials, space, and participants. I am thinking of running 2-3 workshops to get this all materialized while concurrently building the dioramas.
Workshop 1 – background in design futures & object creation
Workshop 2 – product & packaging design
Workshop 3 – pop up shop construction

Getting started

About the project


Last year I started a project called Envisioned Futures. 

Envisioned Futures merges science, design, and fiction by exploring emerging futures that we want and do not want. With LED dioramas inside of mirrored infinity cubes, viewers are presented with a choice to either record a message for other participants (“Talk to the future”) or to listen to these recorded messages (“Listen to a message from the future”). Each diorama houses a unique future and explores what is possible and probable. It is intended to be presented at Burning Man in August. An additional intention is to collect all of the participant recordings and mine them for qualitative data to see what kind of words and feelings are used with each possible future.
I recently received a small art grant to help put it all together. Here is the original rendering that I created to illustrate the concept-

Prototypes 

Original Timetable