Investing in Futures: The Art of World-Building (APA4252.01)

Marina Zurkow

Futures studies—also known as futurology—has been used by businesses and the military as part of a strategic planning toolkit. But what about artists, changemakers, or revolutionaries? This framework of speculating about the future in systemic ways has been adopted by many contemporary artist collectives, in order to challenge assumptions of the present about outcomes in the future. These futuristic models are based on constraints—design limitations— that can spark wild imaginaries liberated from business-as- usual predictions.

In this 14-week class, we will create possible future scenarios in the forms of invented artifacts, writing, and framing devices. We will also design prompts and rule sets that significantly alter the focuses of our world-building. The “features of these futures” will draw from Investing in Futures, the artist-created constraint-design card deck (Mattu/Rothberg/Zurkow) which explores topics such as governance, living conditions, food, climate, technology, and which might range from the possible to the absurd.

References and readings about future scenario design thinking, speculative design, and design fiction will also be explored in class. Learning outcomes: Introduction to futurology, speculative design, and systems thinking. Students will participate across media in constraint-based design, writing, and prototyping in a variety of media in rotating groups.

Delivery Method: Entirely remote (synchronous)
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
F 2:10PM - 5:50PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Advancement of Public Action , Entirely Remote
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