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)

 

 

* Shake, shake, shake it all out *

Dancer – researcher Simo Vassinen from BodyTalk has created four short reset exercises for us. 

Rave Shake, Walk in the Dark, Talk Gibberish and Breathe & Hold – which one will you try first?

You can use these short exercises to tune yourself in at any moment to digest something, start something or to shift your mind through your body.

Check out Simo’s Untitled Session here: Re-imagining The Body by Simo Vassinen [FI / DE] // CONVERSATION

Music: S Ruston feat. Lucky Pete’s Lovers – Narcosexual [used with kind permission of the artist]

Website:   https: //www.togetheralonefi. com / round-i-selected-projects /  bodytalk

 

*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

 

How we think about the future determines how we act today. For a long time, the prevailing belief has been that we are living in the age of TINA – T here I s N o A lternative. However, the rise of populism, Fridays for the Future and, more recently, the coronavirus crisis, are only the most recent developments to demonstrate that a vivid competition about alternative Futures has begun.

In this conversation, we will reflect upon different conceptions of the future – from progressivism to collapsology – and think about why and how we should include future generations in today’s policy making.

The conversation will be Hosted by Paulina Fröhlich, Head of the Program “Future of Democracy” at Progressives Zentrum, and Paul Jürgensen, Project Manager at Progressives Zentrum. Das Progressives Zentrum is a Berlin-based, non-profit think tank devoted to promoting effective policies for social progress.

Twitter: @PaulinaFrohlich , @pauljuergensen , @DPZ_Berlin

Website: progressives-zentrum.org

Should we always dance first and then talk? Can our nighttime bodies and Fantasies inform the Everyday? What happens inside us when a beat drops and goes on, and on, and on, and on? This conversation looks into raves, techno music, states of ecstasy, the power of monotonous repetition and collective dancing as sources and tools to open up new perspectives and mindshifts for digesting societal realities and moving into different futures. We will spend time remembering our own dances, taking Moments to Breathe, listening, perhaps doing a techno shake to dust off and guide our thinking. When were you last in a state of ecstasy? What triggered it and what happened afterwards? What were your first and your latest dances?

NB: You don’t need to be a Raver, witch or Shaman to have this conversation – we all have a body and we all spend time with other bodies. How and why should we bring the body into the core of thinking?

Simo Vassinen (FI / DE) is a dancer, writer and former Futures researcher. He has investigated mental health, subculture codes, nostalgia and ecology through self-taught physicality and journalistic performances. Starting to dance and perform professionally at the tender age of 31 opened a whole new world for Simo – he belives that everything always Returns to the body, and we can connect many dots through movement, dances and other physical practices. In a time thrilled by newnewnew technologies, Simo thinks that the technologies of the body have Endless masses of Uncharted land that are craving to be explored. His recently initiated project Bodytalk with dance artist Maria F. Scaroni (DE / IT) and futurist Roope Mokka (FI) looks for connection points between dance practices and Futures studies.

Website:  https: //www.togetheralonefi. com / round-i-selected-projects / bodytalk

The city of Helsinki and its citizens have received a brand new vision for arts and culture reaching the year 2030. Created by an independent committee consisting of high-level professionals, it is now being facilitated for discussion by city officials. The core vision is that Helsinki is seen to hold art and culture at the heart of good living and city development. We want to open up for discussion the measures needed so that in 2030:

  • In a constantly changing reality, art helps Helsinki know itself, imagine alternative worlds and build paths to the future.
  • Art helps challenge familiar models and find new solutions for the City’s operations and planning
  • The City knows how to utilize art-based methods, and artists help in many ways in the planning of the urban environment, in the social and health sector and in education.

As a measurable goal, the vision suggests: “the City of Helsinki will introduce the expertise of artists and the utilization of art-based methods in the development of the city across divisions”. The key issue we want to discuss with you is how to achieve this. What are the extreme Theoretical limits of arts and culture in societal problem Solving? What could be the concrete actions actualizing that potential?

Everyone with interest, experience, knowledge or creative thinking is welcome to join the discussion. Knowledge of art-based methods and understanding of how to create change in established processes is valued. Join us visioning and finding pathways to a world where arts and culture can be a tool for a new and superior way of problem Solving. A world where the fields of arts and culture are a solution, rather than a (resource) problem.

 There’s huge potential in unlocking the problem Solving capacity of arts and culture. The know-how and skills of arts and culture are underutilized widely in the society. We need Courage and measures to bring together skills and methodology from different fields of society – arts & culture, politics, science & education, business – in order to solve complex problems better.

 The session is Hosted by the city of Helsinki’s Sector of Culture and Leisure. The operations of the sector emphasize freedom. The freedom to choose, to be yourself and to do the things that interest you the now. Your hosts will be  Mari Männistö [Culture Director of Helsinki] and Christian Sannemann [Participation Specialist].

Websites: Read the vision here , News item about publication

 

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)

As the world is in Transformation just including people to current projects and institutions is not enough. The right way would be to build a more just world together. We want to invite people to explore what comes after diversity and inclusion, how to centralize the marginalized and take on big issues such as just and fair distribution of value in the urban setting: in urban planning, in housing, in services, in public spaces and in work. When a new building is built, who benefits? Is the value distributed evenly and is there feedback to quality and Sustainability, 

How about the people who live in the neighborhood? The people who walk by? Do the buildings provide something good for the cities and communities? For whom do they provide something? The rich? The well off?

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 ]

Website: https://ylva.fi/

Twitter: @YlvaHelsinki

Images: YLVA (c)

What would a circular city look like if we started with people rather than materials? What would a Circular city look like if we designed for circular behavior? This is a shopping street where buying used children’s clothes is as easy, fun, and enjoyable as buying new clothes. It is a housing area where it is as easy to discard your waste as it is to connect with a neighbor to exchange small kitchen appliances. It is ground floor units where you can contribute to production (food, content, ideas) as you can consume (coffee, electronics, clothing). It is a community where healthy, sustainable, Delicious food is as affordable and plentiful as unhealthy, unsustainable Delicious food.

The city is the place in which these individual choices will be made. How might we design for the environments in which sustainable behavior is the default choice? How could we create better Collaboration between both the public and private companies and citizens to collect share the burdens of this Massive transition? How do we design for new structures, forms of Collaboration, urban systems Results from the session will be a starting point for a roadmap that will be open and publicly available online. How could the idea be experimented with? What else should change in order for what we imagined to become true?

Designers, entrepreneurs, corporations, city officials and economists interested in re-defining urban commerce would find this session interesting. We are interested in this approach because the circular economy holds endless potential, but current discourse, innovation, and focus appeals to technocrats and not to the Everyday consumers who will be key to realizing the potential. hy are you interested in the idea personally? Why do you think it has transformative capacity?

SONY DSC

The session will be Hosted by Gehl CIO Jeff Risom and Director Liselott Stenfeldt, both are part of Gehl Innovation which focuses on establishing new partnerships and to use innovative tools and methods in order to reimagine concrete future scenarios for our Cities. Gehl is a human-centered urban consulting company based in Copenhagen, New York and San Francisco. Our focus is to create better Cities for people and to create beneficial relationships between People’s quality of life and their built environment.

Twitter handles: @citiesforpeople , @jeff_risom ,@liselott 

Website:  www.gehlpeople.com

Photos: Gehl (c)