When the economy is not working for everyone, more and more people are starting to build alternatives for organizing and managing local community resources. Spanning from democratically governed cooperatives to locally embedded economic communities, community wealth* is gaining increasing attention.
We are seeking groundbreaking community wealth ideas, projects, and communities to take part in a 4-month Experiment Attractor programme. During the programme, we will support up to six project teams to grow their imagination, further develop their ideas and create a movement of supporters for their project. The Experiment Attractor is run by Emergence Room – a joint initiative of MarsDD, McConnell Foundation and Dark Matter Labs – and supported by the Untitled Alliance.
The Community Wealth Experiment Attractor will run virtually as a series of gatherings every three weeks between March and June, 2022. Through group and individual coaching, peer input, methods practice and stakeholder interaction, you will
- be able to build an actionable provocation for communicating the potential of your transformative project better
- take steps in attracting the appropriate community and partners to make the project a reality
- connect with and learn from others working on the mission of increasing community wealth
For more details, keep on reading.
This free of charge program is most suitable for early stage projects, regardless of their sector and institutional setting.
If you are interested in participating in the Community Wealth Experiment Attractor with your project team, please fill out this quick participant application. Deadline for application is March 2nd, 2022.
Do you have questions? Sue Talusan, firstname.lastname@example.org, will be happy to answer.
The Experiment Attractor aims to attract movements around imaginative, transformative and experimental ideas. It is suitable for early stage projects and ventures regardless of their sector and institutional setting.
To be accessible for teams around the world, The Community Wealth Experiment Attractor will run virtually. We will gather every three weeks from March 2022 to June 2022: March 17, April 7, April 28, May 19, June 2, June 23, between 9–11am EST / 3–5pm CET. Also be prepared to use 12 hours of preparation and learning in between sessions.
The gatherings consist of group and individual coaching, peer input, and methods practice. You will:
- Build a new narrative of the future your project is creating
- Design and build a provocation about your project
- Test your provocation with people
- Identify and leverage imagination insights for your project
- Share your learnings and grow the movement around with interested people
*) What is community wealth? Community wealth is about creating new models of democratic ownership in local economies, and community development that centers the voices of its most vulnerable populations. It casts new roles for anchor institutions to drive towards more equitable and sustainable local economies, and for people to drive impact in their own communities through equitable investment mechanisms.
Highly functional community wealth ecosystems work at multiple scales, and operate across multiple sectors. They for example enable ecological development to build stronger local food systems, creating green jobs, and reclaiming the commons. They use innovation and transformative policy change at multiple levels of government, enabling projects like transit-oriented development, and wealth preservation and asset building in low income communities. They encourage innovative business development through the creation of social enterprises. Read more on this inspiring Community wealth website.
Untitled’s Agenda for Transformation is a co-developed, evolving project. Some interesting broader themes and patterns emerged from the conversations across the 40 sessions at Untitled festival to inform the agenda. Here, we have curated four of those shared themes that illustrate the how, why, and what of the transformations that the Untitled community wants to bring about.
To explore all the session comments and links between different themes uncovered at Untitled Festival 2021, have a look at the Agenda Landscape.
1. Move away from a human-centric worldview
A question that we asked ourselves was: what is the worldview or ideology that we are trying to walk away from? A human-centric worldview was cited by many to be a contributor to the challenges that humankind faces, such as climate change. Mikko-Pekka Hanski stepped away from this worldview in his future relationships talk show, which featured non-human guests, including an AI and mushrooms. Indy Johar from Dark Matter Labs imagined a worldview where everything is a citizen, and our biological world and climate systems have intrinsic rights as well.
“If we want to create a new system, we have to do it from a new way of thinking and a new way of imagining, otherwise we’ll just recreate the same old structures. Here on this Agenda, we include ways of knowing that go beyond the rational, and reach for a deeper sense of being. Something to take away from this process is to continue enabling ‘imagination interfaces’, so that cross-disciplinary actors, artists, policy-makers, and people working within the current system can collaborate, share and learn.”
– Phoebe Tickell, Moral Imaginations
2. Incorporate more imagination, humanity and overlooked knowledge in debate and decision-making
Another strong theme was the necessity for deliberative and decision-making innovations, to make transformations inclusive, empowering, and effective in bringing about more fair, sustainable and joyful societies. Alliance members Demos Helsinki and RadicalxChange introduced their humble governance experiment in Colorado. Humble governance is a governance approach that emphasises devolving the solution finding for political goals to people with expertise, knowledge and first-hand experience, as well as trying to listen to those most often overlooked in political processes. RadicalxChange also showcased their online platform RxC Voice, which aims to overhaul online discussions to gravitate towards consensus, rather than conflict.
In moving away from the powerlessness of people to make change, with the Alternative UK participants got to explore a Parallel Polis; community networks that increase agency in coming up with solutions to the issues of today, by promoting local-level cooperation between entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, and other community members.
Gabriella Gómez-Mont claimed that the long political crisis we are living through can hardly be solved by adding more top-down-participation or by only trying to renew electoral systems, unless the very infrastructures of democracy and imagination are rebuilt. One answer might lie in moulding public spaces into civic spaces that help create a sense of agency, empower people, explore how to release civic capital. They should also add a spirit of experimentation and play into the urban experience.
3. Transform structures and institutions as we know them
An important aspect of introducing societal change is understanding how this change is brought about, and what its implications are for existing structures and ways of thinking. DRIFT, in their X curve of societal transformations, explained how new ideas do not simply add something to society, but they must simultaneously break down the old to make space for the new.
Halogen & Future Fit Leadership focused on the actors that will be bringing about these new changes, and explored how we can reinvent organisations to imagine the future, rather than innovate within the existing system. This is crucial to enabling structural, cultural and ontological transformation, as businesses and other organisations play a key role in shaping the world of tomorrow.
“Historically, we’ve always been operating with experiments in the implied order, the “real world” of embedded structures. Here, at Untitled Festival, we appreciate the shifting social landscapes and have grasped the freedom to imagine and develop new ideas through this reciprocal alliance. These ideas are compiled in the Agenda, which is a coevolution between our internal conceptions of ourselves, our relationships, and the world around us. ”
– Indy Johar, Dark Matter Labs
4. Cultivate our caring and interconnectedness with people, community and all things around us
The necessity to move away from a self-oriented mindset became another key theme of the festival. This paradigm shift enables us to shape social transformations by increasing our sense of interconnectedness, belonging, and wellbeing. Akunna Onwen allowed us to explore how increasing Community Care can improve our sense of belonging, and even function as a healing tool in societies. Pehmee, in their Helping You to Hear Me session encouraged us to actively listen to the stories others were telling, by recounting them as literally as we could. The seven artists at the Live Artists’ Think Tank discussed the idea of freedom not as something that individuals own but as relational; something that is gained through realising and respecting our interdependence with others, the living and non-living. You can listen to the Think Tank’s introductory talk on freedom.
These highlighted sessions contain but a few of the excellent ideas explored at Untitled festival. Over the coming months, our agenda and theory of transformation will be built upon the foundations built at the festival. Alliance members have also formed agenda groups, which will continue exploring some of The themes, and the tensions, obstacles and pathways of societal transformation.
Photo of Sophia Wekesa leading reflection and release at the closing session of Untitled Festival 2021 by Janette Mirjamo.
The second Untitled festival in September was an experiment on developing an agenda for transformation together. Each session was a building block of this agenda. To bridge the diverse topics covered across the two days, we asked the hosts to contribute insights from their sessions on the ongoing social transformation to our agenda development process.
The ideas from the sessions documented by their hosts and the links between different topics can be seen in our Agenda Landscape, which provides a bird’s eye view of the agenda tracks and discussions that took place in the festival sessions.
All in all, the festival provided an excellent opportunity to discover various radical ideas and perspectives from across the world. We believe we can safely say that it was also successful in making us reflect upon our methods of making a change and interacting with each other.
Generating insights for the agenda would not have been possible without the positive and active engagement of all of our 350 imagineers (as we call the festival participants), from 34 different countries in all inhabited continents. The level of engagement and quality of conversations amazed many of our session hosts. This magic of the Untitled community we’ve experienced at the festival both years. Us at the Untitled team do acknowledge our share in creating the magic: we put a lot of effort in who to invite, in setting the tone before the Festival and creating an intimate, brave and playful (online) space. Still, the participants exceed our expectations.
“I wish I could attend every session. It was an invigorating experience that reminded me that thinking big is not extravagant but necessary. Congratulations and gratitude to every person and organisation who is holding this space and believing in inspiring possibilities for the future. Thank you.” – feedback from a Festival participant
The festival allowed us to make good progress towards compiling the agenda, but the work has only begun.
One aspect of the agenda that did not come through strongly during the festival is the tensions and conflicts that arise when weighing our visions and plans for societal transformation. This was not unexpected, as it is often easier to concentrate on the things that unite us, and work towards consensus.
However, understanding the inevitable tensions that arise with new ideas, and the apprehensions some may have with certain paths of societal transformation allows us to improve our approaches in a safe environment.
Moving onwards from the festival, we continue our long-term agenda process co-developing different aspects within the Untitled Alliance. Different members of our community have a particular expertise or interest in specific elements of the agenda, such as reimagining democracy and governance, technological development, or the premises of economies. How these different ideas and viewpoints will create a shared agenda for transformation is an interesting exercise.
The process of creating our agenda is experimental and mutually shared. There is no individual creator of the agenda, as it is based on the insights, innovations, and viewpoints of the members of our community. Its content will always evolve to reflect the shifts in our thinking and the world around us.
Jointly, we will be taking steps in the coming months to take forward both our agenda for transformation and the method to create it. Following the festival, different Untitled members will form groups to continue exploring and working on different aspects of the agenda.
If you have good (or bad) experiences on collectively creating an agenda, please contact us, we would highly appreciate your insights!
The application round has closed and we have filled this position!
Does the idea of working for fair, sustainable and joyful social transformation in Pittsburgh together with a global community light you up? Then join the Untitled team. Apply by the end of Tuesday the 16th of November.
Untitled is a community and space for social imagination and experimentation to bring out the next era after the societal crisis. Untitled invites pioneering thinkers and doers to come together to reimagine the society, to form unlikely alliances and to initiate real-world experiments together.
Untitled is now looking to connect with nonprofit organizations, community and grassroots groups in the greater Pittsburgh area to collaborate together and with the Untitled Alliance. We are looking for a diverse group of people who are pushing an agenda of social change, and would benefit from getting involved with progressive peers across the world. Working in partnership with Sustainable Pittsburgh, the 6 month program will be a mix of collaborative working with Pittsburgh-based actors and linking their work with the global Untitled community.
In order for this to happen, the Untitled team is looking for a colleague to support the day-to-day activities of organizing a community in Pittsburgh. This would include engaging with local grassroots and community-based groups and nonprofits, coordinating Untitled activities in the area, and connecting different Alliance members.
Role & Key Responsibilities
The role of the Project Manager of the Untitled Pittsburgh Partnership Project (UP3) is to ensure smooth provision of the duties and administrative support to the Untitled team.
The key responsibilities of the role are:
- Community management: identifying, engaging with, and coordinating with a group of nonprofits and grassroots groups in the Pittsburgh area and connecting them to global Untitled Alliance members.
- Event coordination: planning, managing and marketing events related to the project.
- Facilitation of project strands: create a comfortable, accessible environment for exchange of ideas and opinions by running workshops/meetings and reporting on these to key stakeholders and wider audience.
- Project coordination: working collaboratively with team members across the consortium to support the management of the project.
Given the complexity of the role, the coordinator will need to be highly organized, with an ability to navigate complex team structures and maintain a focus on the overarching outcomes of the project. Ability to operate at different levels is essential – whether local, global and in different environments that span individual, organizational, informal and formal.
- Demonstrable self-motivation and the ability to work under your own initiative.
- Proven ability to work effectively with teams.
- Confidence in communicating with a wide range of people.
- Highly organized with the ability to maintain a detailed overview of all aspects of the project and support partners to effectively deliver activities on time.
- Well-developed IT skills, specifically confidence in using Google’s G Suite.
- Excellent interpersonal skills, including negotiation and diplomacy.
- Ability to effectively build and develop relationships with a wide range of people in different sectors.
- Excellent attention to detail.
- Excellent time management skills, including the ability to be flexible, respond quickly to changing demands, effectively prioritise and meet deadlines, and work in a fast-paced environment.
- Strong network with civic, nonprofit, and community engaged actors or organizations in the Pittsburgh area
- Have the ability to engage and motivate others and generate a working culture among partners which supports creativity, positivity and innovation.
- Proven ability to research, understand, assimilate and effectively communicate complex concepts to a variety of audiences.
- Proven ability to lead project work effectively.
- Outstanding and innovative communication skills, especially the ability to communicate complex ideas in a creative, articulate and confident way and to adapt language to varied audiences.
What would it be like to work on Untitled?
Our ethos of fighting for a fair, sustainable, and joyful next era is visible every day. We approach societal change pluralistically – we encourage open discussions to avoid simple truths. You will be working with an international group of brilliantly curious and challenging people at Sustainable Pittsburgh, the Untitled Team and beyond.
We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community, a place where we can all be ourselves. We commit to treating each other with dignity and respect and do not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment.
Salary and Benefits
This is a six-month, part time, non-exempt position. This position is offered at a wage of $31.50/hour for an estimated 16 hours/week.
Position will be open until filled. Applications encouraged by November 16, 11:59 pm. We seek a candidate who is interested in sustainability, social transformation, and familiar with groups working on social equity and sustainability in the greater Pittsburgh area, and who is willing to work with a transnational network of change agents!
Applications consisting of a cover letter and resume can be submitted directly to email@example.com
In your application please
- mention when you would be available for starting the work (we are flexible)
- how you got to know about this open position
The idea of freedom as something that individuals own has run out of steam. One of the perspectives Untitled promotes is the idea of a new kind of freedom. Freedom as relational, freedom that is gained through interdependency to others – the living and non-living. On the video, artist Andrea Pagnes introduces this core idea that the “Live artists think tank” dived into, interrogated and performed at Untitled Festival on the 25th of September 2021.
In the think tank, seven artists – Chinasa Vivian Ezugha, Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro, Marcel Sparmann, Joseph Morgan Schofield, Benjamin Sebastian, Verena Stenke and Andrea Pagnes – gathered together by Andrea Pagnes opened their unique way of working with the world, how they see the agenda tracks of Untitled and what the artistic relationship to the society can bring to the transformation at hand.
What if you could build a social agenda at a festival? And not any kind of an agenda, but an Agenda for Social Transformation. On the 23rd–24th of September we are going to give it a go. Every session at the Untitled festival builds towards our agenda for transformation.
The 2021 Untitled festival is not just another event after which we go back to our daily lives and the world remains unchanged. It brings together new perspectives, narratives and models for reorganising life. We all know this: In order for civilised life to exist on this planet, we must uproot our ways of living and fundamentally reimagine our central institutions: how we come together to produce, consume, govern, relate, care, share and create.
Most people understand this need for change. Most agree that the current decade is critical. But we are still lacking a clear transformative agenda, and this is why we constantly revert back to our previous ways of thinking.
In other words, we should start envisioning an agenda for transformation. This agenda should not be just for sustaining, protecting and mitigating risk to current institutions built for an era of pursuing individual success at any cost. It should be one that honours the fundamental truth of interdependence of all things living and material.
UNTITLED is an experiment on imagining a transformative social agenda – we will start building it together at our second annual Festival on the 23rd and 24th of September. It brings together activists, theoreticians and practitioners of social change from the Untitled Alliance and beyond.
Three components of the agenda
But, what do we really mean by this agenda for transformation? We at Untitled Alliance have sensed a demand for a deeper understanding of at least three components of current social agendas – narratives of change, models for organising life and novel perspectives on our world. To help us improve on these components, there are three kinds of sessions at the festival:
An agenda for transformation needs to improve upon the currently dominant narratives on change in society. That is why Festival’s participants are hosting a number of sessions dedicated to jointly developing new narratives of transformation. Some of these include: Politics of Being, New Geography of Living, Anti-Rival economies and Heat Resilient Cities. We further invite proposals for other novel narratives of social change.
New Experimental Models
An agenda for transformation needs radical ideas on how to reorganise life on our planet. That is why there are a number of sessions where new experimental models are developed by their initiators and co-creators, such as Free Houses, Trees as Infrastructure, Long Term Care Centers, Biodiversity Buildings and Civic Spaces. We encourage you to propose new experimental models to be included in the agenda.
An agenda for transformation must not only offer narratives and institutions, but it should also offer entirely new ways of seeing the world, and use these perspectives as a basis for our future thinking. That is why we have a number of New Perspectives sessions for artistic, novel and weird ways of working with the world, including Grief as an Overlooked Force of Change, Freedom is Relational, Breaking through the Sugar Glass, From S-curve to X-curve, Everything is a Citizen and Expanding the Rave.
A journey into the unimagined
Untitled festival collects people who work at the forefront of social and ecological transformation to a journey into the unimagined in order to return with an agenda for social transformation.
The festival is the first step of this process. It will initiate a debate on the agenda for transformation. We fully acknowledge that the first version of an agenda will be contradictory, yet believe that openness and inclusivity in the way it is built is crucial. It will be a work in progress, a living document. We are committed to allow the agenda to evolve until it becomes a description of the reality around us. In order to be able to reach the goal, we need to start, and define the untitled.
At Untitled Festival, you can become a custodian and organise a session. You can also join as an imagineer to contribute to the work set up by the custodians. Attendance is by invitation or by application.
Welcome to start the trip to imagine, work and play together.
There’s no perfect way to describe the situation we are in with ordinary language, but perhaps one could say that it has become easier to imagine a collapse than a reform.
It is no news that we are on a trajectory about to end. The world we will inhabit in 10-20 years will be very different than the one we live in now. Halfing emissions by 2030 alone are such a transformative mission, especially in the age of technological disruptions, growing wealth gaps, and the rise of totalitarian political power throughout the world.
Different but how? Here’s where our imagination has a blind spot.
We often fail to imagine anything but two options. incremental and explosive. On the one hand, we can envision the (all too slow and increasingly contested) political development through voting and negotiations. And the other hand we can quite easily depict a harsh change in the future: collapse, revolution, coup, or, simply a war. It is hard to see anything between more of the same and crisis.
This blind spot of social imagination manifests perhaps most dramatically in how even the most progressive social agendas and political programs fail to inspire change. They describe incrementalism and, at best, avoiding a collapse.
We at Untitled think there are some reasons why there are so sensible and therefore radical social agendas around. At least three.
- Most agendas are actually collections of best practices. An agenda of the 21st century can no longer be just a wishlist of policies that have worked somewhere (typically things that Nordic Countries have excelled in). The current welfare model protects us poorly from the ecological crisis, technological disruptions, or racism. Sometimes quite the opposite is true with strong institutions resisting necessary transformation into a society that co-exists and develops in harmony with the rest of the environment.
- Many agendas fail to inspire collective and political action as they lack a good narrative or theory to back them up. An agenda of the 21st century can’t be a narrative about ”a green growth” version of the world we live in. Neither can be about solutions to problems, no matter how grand or wicked those may be or how great the missions can combat them. None of these give any qualities to the world we want to create, other than one that simply “works”.
- We think that the same way of doing things leads to similar outcomes. Most social agendas are based on very similar mental models. They are outcomes of world leaders and thinkers (currently also young and other diversity leaders, non-fiction bestsellers, some climate, and neuroscientists) meeting on a mountain top. These agendas we all know. They rarely work for anyone but the status quo.
From this standpoint, Untitled Festival aims to become a space for building an agenda by doing these three things differently: having genuinely new and untested ideas of what is needed, creating better stories of how things can change, and using artistic, novel, and weird ways of working with the world
How does that sound to you?
* Shake, shake, shake it all out * Dancer–researcher Simo Vassinen from BodyTalk has created four short reset exercises for us. You can use them to tune yourself in at any moment to digest something, start something or to shift your mind through your body – to kick off a Festival session you are hosting, or to reset yourself between the sessions. Use them beyond the Festival: in the middle of the work day, to start a meeting, to brush off the day. They’ve been tried, tested and loved in the Untitled community.
Rave Shake, Walk in the Dark, Talk Gibberish and Breathe & Hold – which one will you try first?
To learn more about the thinking behind these excercises, check Simo’s session at Untitled Festival 2020: Re-imagining The Body by Simo Vassinen [FI / DE]
Music: S Ruston feat. Lucky Pete’s Lovers – Narcosexual [used with kind permission of the artist]
Our time is tainted by a sense of a series of global crises piling up on the ruins they ignite. It seems wherever you look, the period of normal is ending. While we tend to perceive these crises as parallel developments, they cannot be meaningfully understood separately; instead, we should think of them as one. Seeing them as one changes our approach from predicting what is next and from solving problems as they come to that of imagination. This is why the future is untitled. We, however, can name it by refusing to go back to normal, imagining the unimagined, and experimenting together.
The early 2020s are characterized by an abundance of interpretations of a transformation: the transformations we talk about include such phenomena as’ the crisis of capitalism ‘,’ post-capitalism ‘, and’ surveillance capitalism ‘as well as’ digital transformation’, ‘ exponential technologies’, and ‘ the 4th industrial revolution ‘ along with ‘the decline of democracy’, ‘the crisis of liberalism’, ‘ post-truth politics ‘,’ meritocratic autocracy ‘,’ self-organization ‘,’ inner transformations’, and ‘awakening to holistic consciousness’.
Parallel to these phenomena, we are witnessing a ‘climate crisis’, an ‘ecosystems collapse’, ‘ the sixth wave of mass extinction ‘, and the emergence of ‘ anthropocene ‘ that require us to move towards ‘decarbonisation’, ‘ecological rebuilding’ , a ‘ post-fossil era ‘, or even ‘ deep adaptation ‘ and ‘posthumanism’ .
These well-known theories, visions, or ideologies each explain the dynamics, logic, risks, and opportunities within one parallel transformation: after capitalism (and post-capitalism) comes a data-driven planning economy (or even a fully automated luxury communism) ; after liberalism comes a meritocratic autocracy, and so forth. But these perspectives are fundamentally flawed ways of looking at the future.
The theories on transformations get their meanings from the structures of this passing era, as if everything around the issue undergoing transformation would remain largely intact. We are often prisoners of what we aim to leave behind. Therefore, theories lose their ability to predict the future of society as their fundamental premises on society, behavior, economics, and institutions change.
Instead, if we start looking at all these transformations as one, we are faced with a phenomenon of a different magnitude altogether.
As a result, two things follow:
- Many old categories are disappearing and new ones are emerging. This development has taken place before: we tend to use concepts such as ‘a nation’, ‘a worker’, ‘science’, and ‘money’ as if these categories had always existed. In reality, they were all once conceptual innovations, the results of previous historical transformations. It is safe to assume that what we are experiencing right now changes the fundamentals of how we see ourselves as human beings. In some sense, the material, social, economic, and technological transformations are piling up to an ontological transformation.
- We lack the images, names, and ways to think about a world that has been thoroughly transformed. Instead of depicting the mechanics of each transformation, we should focus on imagination and on the unimaginable . Transformation hints at something that already exists taking a new form. However, that is not the case in ontological transformations where many entirely new things emerge.
UNTITLED refers to our inability to name and explain what the world and humanity are beyond this one great transformation. We don’t have a clear image of the world that we wish to reach nor of now of the essential steps needed to get there. Thus, we must first abandon many prevailing assumptions that limit the possibilities of what we can be as humans, what kind of institutions we can form, what types of practices to adopt, and how we can interact.
To value the depth of change we are in, we need to stop pretending that we have the answers and know the future. Instead of answers, we need a place, a space, and a process for unfolding what is not here yet. There are numerous, wonderful examples of imagination on Futures that we wish to happen, and a lot of people are imagining such futures. Now, we have to bring them together.
UNTITLED is a space for different imaginations: a place for people who have seen a glimpse of a transformation – that is, who have understood that there is no return to normal – to come together and to build on each other’s imaginations. It is also a place to expand their view on the Untitled future together with the help of experiments.
Art and the avant-garde play a key role in all societal transformations. At Untitled, art’s role is not to raise awareness of the crisis we are in, nor to provide solutions or to criticize, but to enable us to imagine and empower us to experiment. In short, art’s role is to help us see the difference between what is, and what can be.
UNTITLED is a ten-year-long process of unfolding the new world – an experiment in creating an alternative narrative of the metamorphosis we are in. It is driven by an eagerness to go deeper than to the change at hand; to start exploring new ways of living, producing, and caring; and to do it at a scale unforeseen to our generation. We believe that a genuinely new story can emerge through an unlikely alliance coming together to imagine new concepts, to make them tangible, and to learn from them through real world experiments.
UNTITLED proposes a very specific process. In our view:
- We need to refuse the normal. The world we inhabit is far from desirable. There is no steady and safe normal to go back to but a very unsustainable way of life instead. Any attempt to go back will fail as we’ll fall again soon. Besides, none of the individual solutions currently on the table (in politics, in technology, in business, in personal development) work as a magic bullet; hence, we have to refuse seeking a way forward in the framework of these incumbent discourses.
- We need to imagine the unimaginable in two senses: we have to imagine things that have not been imagined yet, and we will have to reimagine things that we thought cannot be reimagined. Yet, imagination has to be taken seriously and it has to start from the physical limits that constrain our future – now importantly the planetary boundaries and the existential threats caused by overstepping them. Having limits does not mean that there would be less room for imagination: in reality, limits and boundaries are viable tools for creativity.
- Yet, we wouldn’t just fantasize and fall for a utopia. Humans are notoriously bad at seeing things in the long-term, and even worse at shaping their actions accordingly. Therefore, instead of betting on the future and competing in guessing what the future is like, we need to try the unimagined, to expand our imagination with experiments that produce new information about the world, and thus liberate us from the need to pretend to know and to be right about what will work and what will not. Experiments create artefacts, learnings, and shared experiences that lay the foundations to a meaningful dialogue and a collaboration for the future.
The first Untitled festival, held on September 17th-18th, brought together over 400 people from 30 countries to collectively reimagine the society and set the agenda for the most important experiments. This was done with the help of conversations, co-creation, art, embodied and social exercises, and the celebration of the possibility of the next era. This eclectic selection of practices highlights the fact that there is no supreme method for imagining Untitled Futures: facts, reasoning, and clever arguments have a limited scope: they cannot help us in reaching for things that lack concepts and previous examples.
Untitled festival also increased the gravity of a number of real-life experiments. We find both the diversity of the experimentalists as well the experiments are promising. Here are a few examples:
- An activist investor aiming to explore the “flip” of the entire property industry, through the creation of the world’s most sustainable buildings
- A think tank and do tank is going to reimagine the democratic process by breaking out of the traditional governmental pattern of “decide, do, defend”.
- The housing (first) company is experimenting with redefining housing as a part of basic income and sustainable living in a city.
- A research and development community is launching four experiments on the public sector transformation through distributed technology.
- A group of activists is developing the “Transcultural Republic of Nodes” to reimagine the nation-state.
- A social enterprise is setting out to deliver a 12-month experiment to pilot a completely reimagined accelerator program allowing entrepreneurs to change capitalism from within.
- A climate innovation community is set to experiment with a model for nurturing urban nature as public infrastructure.
Usually, at similar events, there are the questions: “What next? What should we do? What happens when you go home? ”
For Untitled, the festival was the starting point for the next ten years.
In this way, Untitled is like a collision in a particle accelerator: the unlikely event in which immense amounts of energy are released and new worlds can unfold.
We are that collision.
The power of this congregation has released increased gravity. This gravity is pulling new coalitions and building unlikely alliances around the real-life experiments launched at the inaugural Untitled festival, accelerating these first glimpses through the ten-year process of Untitled.
23 September 2020 by Untitled Team