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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

In this discussion, Indy Johar will present a hypothesis that building a new relationship with ourselves and the world around us is both fundamental and possible to avoid the self termination of society.

Indy Johar is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Dark Matter Labs  – a Multidisciplinary design team working with partners, clients, and collaborators across the world to develop new working methods for system change. Dark Matter Labs is focussed on the great transitions our societies need to respond to the technological Revolution and climate breakdown we face. They aim to discover, design and develop the institutional ’dark matter’ that supports a more democratic, distributed and sustainable future across five domains of exploration: Cities, Finance, Institutions, Experiments and Education [Source: https://darkmatterlabs.org / Projects ]

Twitter: @indy_johar , @DarkMatter_Labs

Website: https://darkmatterlabs.org/projects

Photo: Indy Johar LinkedIn (c)

 

 

While everyone is talking about the urgency of transition to a sustainable, post-fossil future, there are actually very few coherent, science-backed images of the future or serious political programs that would depict such a transition. The lack of such works of Imagination forms an obstacle to a greater political and social mobilization. In 2012 Demos Helsinki and its partners created Four Scenarios for Sustainable Lifestyles 2050 , a study that presented storylines on alternative societal models and lifestyles that could meet the globally sustainable level of 8 tonnes / annum / person material footprint. 

Now, in 2020, it is Worthwhile to look back and review how Four Scenarios for Sustainable Lifestyles 2050 could serve as a starting point for imagining and experimenting with the great transition of the 2020s and 2030s to carbon neutral societies . We will discuss how to make Four Scenarios for Sustainable Lifestyles 2050 a usable tool for transition is a topic we will discuss in the session. Political groups and their advisors, business leaders, strategists and environmentalists are invited.

There is a great urgency to avoid the climate catastrophe. The coming decade will be full of disruptive events that provide opportunities for moving faster towards a sustainable society. But that cannot happen unless we have scenarios on alternative models for a sustainable society.

Vinay Gupta is a visionary serial-entrepreneur and coder. He is the CEO of Mattereum and Inventor of Hexayurt . Previously Gupta helped coordinate Ethereum’s 2015 release, working as a project manager on strategy and communications.

Aleksi Neuvonen is the co-founder of Demos Helsinki. He will lead the research behind the Four Scenarios for Sustainable Lifestyles 2050. He has published numerous other scenario reports and lectured on futures studies in various universities. 

Twitter: @leashless, @leksis

Website: https://www.demoshelsinki.fi/en/julkaisut/from-local-loops-to-global-champions-scenarios-for-sustainable-lifestyles-2050-2/

Every day we face and witness the dramatic effects of the climate crisis. The construction industry, which still struggles to apply ”green” parameters and constraints in the construction of new buildings, has a major impact on the environmental balance. However, it is necessary to reverse this trend as soon as possible and work to reduce emissions to a minimum by implementing Restorative operations, even on the assets already built. What approaches can be developed to push this transformation as quickly as possible?

With a background as an engineer, Carlo Battisti has always worked in the building sector, gaining solid experiences across twenty years in construction companies, with different roles. Since 2009 he has collaborated with IDM South Tyrol as a project manager in Business Development. In 2015, he founded the Italian chapter of the Living Future Institute. Today Carlo holds the office of President of Living Future Europe.

What should be reimagined now? We can consider a building as an assembly of different components both on technical and social aspects. Therefore, we can imagine that this concept represents exponential complexities on an urban scale. Cities are assemblies that we use to call communities. Is it possible to Redefine paradigms and realize sustainable areas within cities? What could look like an entire carbon neutral district? It is fundamental to encourage sustainable approaches in both local administrations and industries. We, in Europe, sit on a huge opportunity to restore our architectural heritage.

How can we experience environments that are closer to the concept of nature and Sustainability even within cities? It is essential to start with raising people’s awareness. Transmitting the value of environmental sustainability. An interesting concept in this regard is that of biophilia. Biophilic nature is an innate experience in mankind but no longer Instinctive. We got used to living in another way. This is why it is essential to bring this dimension back to people. It is possible to bring people closer by immersing them in these concepts, making them directly experience what a biophilic building truly represents. Living and experiencing it, means that the relationship with nature is immediate and within reach. Many studies show how this kind of architecture has strong benefits on the psycho-physical balance of man.

What kind of orientations in climate policies could experience in our cities in ten years’ time? For sure we need bold projects, decisions and actions. We are facing this climate crisis with irresponsible levity. I see cities walking along through this path using backcasting methodologies. What do we expect 2050 to be? Tackling this question, not only do we need to achieve carbon neutrality but we should develop new tools to manage complexities derived from the worsened effects of climate change. We should engage positive competitions and Collaborations among administrations, states and industries that could impact positively on our societies with disruptive improvement. We can no longer stand still but we need radical changes.

Living Future Europe Website:  https://www.living-future.eu/ 

Twitter: @battisti_c , @LFEurope

Climate change and Advances in renewable energy technologies have set the foundation for significant transitions to the economy and to accompanying work force skill requirements. As an energy state, Alaska is well-poised for this transition.

Energy security is a matter of justice, equity and resilience. In Alaska, we can build human capacity and energy infrastructure to reduce energy costs and create an inclusive workforce in renewable technologies. We will start in low-income Neighborhoods in Anchorage, Alaska, one of the United States’ most ethnically diverse cities with more than 100 languages ​​spoken in the city’s streets and schools.

Our actions will be simultaneously big and small – designed to take on the urgent needs of now while laying a foundation to build a future economy and opportunities that help transition into a more resilient, sustainable and just workforce. The ten-year vision includes building an innovation space to train local people for local jobs and ensure a Talent pipeline for home-grown clean industries. Our immediate vision Pilots workforce training programs for newcomers that combine vocational skills with language and cultural training to ease integration for immigrants and Refugees resettling in Alaska.

This will be an interactive session using The League of Intrapreneurs Case Clinic Methodology. This method is designed to tap the wisdom of the group to help this team of Alaska-based Dreamers and do-ers to identify tangible actions that help them to realize their vision for a just, equitable and sustainable Alaska. Energy entrepreneurs, newcomers, workforce development Specialists are invited to this, however, you don’t need to be a subject matter expert to join – just come with a capacity to listen Deeply, to ask challenging questions and to share generously your ideas and resources . Thank you!

Why: To build a fair, just and sustainable city

The Anchorage Coalition for Change, Alaska are a ragtag group of do-ers who come together to share a dream of equity and opportunity in a city located on the traditional lands of Indigenous peoples. We draw ingenuity and resilience from these lands and from the people who have thrived and survived here for Millenia. We seek a better future that honors the values ​​of welcoming, inclusion, resilience and sustainability and see energy as the heart of that opportunity.

*This session needs some preparations from online participants before the session. Read on!*
At UNTITLED, Mari Keski-Korsu will enact a performative intervention called ‘Holding Space with Yarrow
’. It is a participatory and performative session that engages with yarrow through foot baths, hydro bodies and meditation. Yarrow (Siankärsämö) is one of the oldest plant remedies in Nordic region and is considered to help with many illnesses and conditions. The plant has about 150 names in Finnish, all describing its different features. The names connect linguistically to the Baltic Sea area healing culture that is documented in poems and stories. Yet what may this powerful plant, which many consider merely a weed, mean for us today? How could its voice be heard in human communities?

Images: Ida Enegren / Frame Contemporary Art Finland.

The session can accommodate 15 people per session; 5 on site and 10 online. The sessions are not suitable for anyone allergic to asters (composite plants). If you’re taking part in Holding Space with Yarrow online, please prepare your foot bath in advance. You can consider this as a ritual towards our time together – making something ready for yourself with a lot of positive energy and love.

Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation Licence

Collect about four handfuls of yarrow flowers and leaves from your yard or nearby park. In urban areas, the best places to find yarrow are abandoned sites where grass is not cut. If you can’t find the flowers anymore, search for the leaves. Remember to respect the plant and don’t collect everything, leave something to continue growing, too.

To prepare your foot bath:
– Add the yarrow into a litre of hot water
– Leave it for about 20 minutes
– Pour the hot yarrow water into a washing basin and add enough water for it to reach your ankles.
– Don’t put your feet in the bath right away, let’s do that together
– Have a towel and pair of clean, warm socks ready by the side
– As we start our session, sit comfortably on your chair so that you can see the screen to connect with everyone and your footpath is close to your reach.

Mari Keski-Korsu is a transdisciplinary artist who explores how ecological changes manifest in Everyday life. The work is based on Collaborations with different kinds of communities, individuals and species. Her medium of expression is a hybrid combination of performance, visual arts and live art. Her current practice for several years now, is focused on interspecies communication and care, aiming to enable empathy towards whole ecosystems. She is interested in intersections in between art, activism and science from permaculture and ecofeminist perspectives. In 2020 -2022, she is an artist member of an art & science team working in the Access Abisko program in sub-Arctic Sweden, Researching on how climate breakdown affects values ​​and Rituals.

More about Mari Keski-Korsu and her art at marikeskikorsu.net .

More about Holding space with Yarrow at www.artsufartsu.net/akantupakilla-lahirohtola

Twitter: @real_mkk

Photos: Ida Enegren / Frame Contemporary Art Finland.

Related UNTITLED Agenda Tracks : Reimagining Human, Reimagining Climate

 

Papana & Norkko are two fictive Siberian Flying squirrels (ie Flying squirrels!) Living in Solkivuori forest, Tampere, Finland (that is Solkivuori’s Collaborative Flying squirrel care and protection forest). They are professionals of forestry, legislation, bureaucracy and unconventional co-operations.

In their own words:

”During the festival days we are having a round table discussion with human and other-than-human experts. On our discussion agenda we have common-to-many-species-things that shape our shared Futures, such as hunger, roots / flying and sustainable livelihoods.

We have done research for the discussions by making some future-leap-Flying-Orientation-interviews for Untitled community and participants. You can see some digested fragments on our internet-influencing-channels Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter. We will continue in making the interviews after the Festival. If you wish to be interviewed by two Siberian Flying squirrels, please contact them through metsaesitys@gmail.com

Our mission is to stop the ongoing mass extinctions threatening both squirrels and humans. To further our goal, we have started developing ways for human–Siberian Flying squirrel -co-operation. One way is to learn to use human platforms to create spaces for interspecies utopian conversations. We believe this will commit to nourishing the political imaginations of our multispecies societies.

”Anything is possible for a squirrel with an agenda! Everything is possible for a squirrel who has an agenda!” ”Kaikki on mahdollista oravalle, jolla on esityslista!”

***************************************

Papana & Norkko are created by the Metsäesitys collective (Milla Martikainen and Katri Puranen).

www.forestation.wordpress.com

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube

Related UNTITLED Agenda Tracks : Reimagining Human, Climate

Photos: Flying squirrels Papana alias Milla Martikainen and Norkko alias Katri Puranen (c)

Sustainability standards and green building initiatives are holding us back. Green building initiatives and Sustainability standards are masking the problem of over-consumption and as such, only Accelerating the Destruction of our livelihood. We need buildings that are not just sustainable or even net-zero, but ones that actually balance out the massive construction boom of this decade. We would like to explore the idea of ​​moving to regenerative real estate and urban development. One where each building would contribute more than it takes on all aspects of its existence. 

YLVA focuses on real estate and financial investments along with the hotel and restaurant sector. It is owned by the Student Union of the University of Helsinki and its profits are used to promote student activities. [ Source: ylva.fi ].

This session will be done in partnership with Living Future Europe. Living Future Europe (LFE) is a non-profit association with the mission to make the world work for 100% of Humanity. LFE will play an active role in championing  The Living Building Challenge in Europe, which is the world’s most rigorous standards for green buildings.

Website: https://ylva.fi/

Twitter: @YlvaHelsinki

Images: YLVA (c)

Over the years, we have developed best practices for efficient participatory processes to tackle climate change at local and national levels. This experiment workshop would be an opportunity for participants to co-creatively scale this idea to the global level. This work will feed into  The Global Resonance Project  (funded until the end of 2021) ’s goal to find the deeper, underlying patterns for co-creation that connect different methodologies, processes and toolkits.

The workshop will prototype a participatory process to tackle climate change globally, by looking at patterns of appropriate formats, methodological architectures, distributed and synchronized communication, collective Intelligence, shared decision making and co-creative innovation. We are aiming at experimenting with this prototype under real circumstances, eg by introducing elements of it to the COP climate conference or by connecting national citizen assemblies already underway. This 90min workshop will be interesting to you if you want to understand how cocreation as the operating system outcompetes negotiation and deliberation to creatively solve complex climate-related problems.

Jascha Rohr is a philosopher, co-founder and managing director of the Institute for Participatory Design, and founder of the Cocreation Foundation. Jascha is a visionary process artist, practical intellectual and thinking activist. He is driven by the question of why we as human beings are the only species capable of destroying our own basis of life. Jascha is looking for ways to turn our individual and collective potential into positive pathways towards a better future by learning to be creative together: cocreative. As cocreatives, we can succeed in shaping the great transformation that lies ahead if we want to live in peace, freedom and ecological health and abundance with 10-12 billion people on this earth.To this end, he further develops approaches such as Participatory Design, Cocreation, Governance Design and the Field-Process-Theory. Jascha lives with his partner and wife, his son and a demented cat in an eco-settlement in the countryside near Oldenburg, Germany. Two older daughters have already left the house.
Twitter: @jascharohr
Photo: Jascha Rohr (c)

Our idea is to create large lifestyle housing for people that want to go to zero-carbon and live with nature with gardening as well as produce food with modern aquaponic methods. This would increase the speed of sustainable lifestyle change due to peer-learning and innovation and less need for leisure travel. This idea has transformative capacity as it can bring together people and thus speed up innovation to jump to sustainable lifestyles. And we believe this can be done at a mass affordable scale with a carbon-neutral wooden construction.

The idea can be experimented with choosing a few existing housing companies primarily people who have a desire to live ecologically and with nature and using that as the Testbed for things to have in new developments. This session should be interesting for anyone in architecture, construction, food production, property, city or urban planning, as well as people who want to live in the zero-carbon future.  

The Y-Foundation is a Developer and Global Forerunner of the Housing First principle. The Y-Foundation offers affordable rental housing in Finland. 

Twitter handles:  @JKaakinen  @lassyj  @kimmoronka

Website:  https://ysaatio.fi/en/y-foundation

Images:  The Y-Foundation (c)