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.

Blockchain technologies are claimed to make it possible to develop and implement social technologies that can replace existing social apparatuses of public governance. This could mean for example implementing autonomous executing administration in public governance or building a governance system based on direct democracy – or conversely, distributed autonomous organizations outside public power taking over similar tasks. 

In this conversation we explore a future where by scaling different distributed ledger technology solutions  replace current public organisations and processes.  What kind of impact would it have on democracy, public services and on our societies at large?  Would this be a desirable direction to develop our public administration? Can technological solutions be a substitute for institutional trust? 

Launched in January 2020, TOKEN (Transformative Impact Of Blockchain Technologies in Public Services) is an EU funded project whose ultimate goal is to develop an experimental ecosystem to enable the adoption of Distributed Ledger Technology and to prove its value, via highly replicable Use Cases, as a driver for the transformation of public services. TOKEN has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Grant Agreement No. 825268. 

Twitter handle(s): @TOKEN_EU

Website: https://token-project.eu/

Entrepreneurs are currently being trained in a narrow Silicon Valley model of success based on limited liability corporations, equity investment and profit. This approach actively reinforces the most damaging aspects of capitalism. How can we change this approach, so entrepreneurs around the world are inspired to build purpose-driven businesses that solve social and environmental problems, as well as generating profit?

The Trampery invites you to join us and reimagine a Radical new curriculum for the world’s entrepreneurs. As part of the Untitled initiative we are setting out to deliver a 12 month experiment called “Evo Untitled”. Our ambition is to pilot a completely reimagined Accelerator program, focused on social and environmental impact alongside profit, for 100 entrepreneurs in 5 locations around the world.

The seed for Evo Untitled is being sown by The Trampery, by the intention is to take it forward with a larger group of Untitled partners. Partners will be involved at every stage of the process: design, development and delivery of expert workshops. Crucially, the experiment will test the hypothesis that a large proportion of mainstream entrepreneurs will choose to establish a purpose-driven business if this option is included in their learning.

Join us for the workshop!

The 90 minute workshop will be fast paced and highly participative, facilitated by Tom Farrand. It will cover the following topics amongst others:

  • What should a reimagined Accelerator curriculum look like?
  • What kind of learning process triggers the Greatest creativity in entrepreneurs?
  • How can we change the dominant Silicon Valley ideology?
  • Which Untitled partners should be part of the experiment?
  • Which 5 locations in the world should we work with?

Charles Armstrong – Founder and CEO of The Trampery . Charles is an entrepreneur and social innovator based in London. In 1998, they worked with Michael Young establishing the School for Social Entrepreneurs. In 2009 he founded The Trampery, one of London’s earliest coworking ventures. Through its Workspace and Accelerator programs, The Trampery has helped more than 1,000 Ventures get started and grow. In London, Charles has worked with local and national government to establish the Tech City and Fashion District innovation clusters, whilst in Oslo, he led the development of the Tøyen Startup Village initiative.

Tom Farrand – Coach-in-residence of The Trampery. Tom has 23 years of experience in brand, business and social innovation and specializes in pioneering leadership development and learning experience design. He has been coached and ventured across multiple clients, sectors, geographies and types of organizations, holding leadership positions in P&G, WPP and Oliver Wyman before launching a series of social impact-focused Ventures including Swarm, Good for Nothing and The Wild Network.

The Trampery is committed to playing a role in the shift towards a more balanced form of capitalism, supporting entrepreneurs, startups and scaleups who pursue social and environmental benefits alongside profit.

Twitter: @thetrampery / @ car0lus / @tomfarrand

Websites: www.thetrampery.com

Images: The Trampery (C)

Related Untitled Agenda Themes : Reimagining the contract, Reimagining climate, Reimagining power, Reimaging human, Reimagining the economy

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)

There are a lot of possibilities creating new work in home environments from traditional maintenance to modern services, from gardening to food production, from community-based work to work as a capital and as a concrete tool in construction.   Integrating work and home has transformative capacity as it does not force the weakest among us to the Labor market, where they perform badly or not at all. This could be experimented with already in Y-Foundations or any other housing company’s properties, with sharing tasks from the house to creating value trough community projects and the housing company actively seeking work from the markets.

The Y-Foundation is a Developer and Global Forerunner of the Housing First principle. The Y-Foundation offers affordable rental housing in Finland. The Y-Foundation is the leader in eradicating homelesness with its Housing First approach. Now its setting a new standard where those in need will get a home and work combined. At the core of the idea is capital that the inhabitants create whilst working.

Twitter handles: @JKaakinen @lassyj @kimmoronka

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

Images: The Y-Foundation (c)

Today’s Internet is becoming increasingly centralized, slowing innovation and challenging its potential to revolutionize society and the economy in a pluralistic continent. DECODE is a project in which practical alternatives will be developed for managing online identity, personal and other data and collective governance in a citizen-friendly and privacy-aware fashion. Larisa’s work ’Data Union Fork: Tools for Data Strike’, realized in Collaboration with the DECODE project  asks what it means to Strike in the digital domain and how citizens can mobilize and organize for collective action. The Fork encourages audience reflection on critical issues arising from persistent personal data harvesting, digital surveillance and profiling.It also engages the participants to think how collective action could help regain control and redefine the value of data collected whilst promoting solidarity and mutual aid.

During the workshop, participants are invited to explore collective bargaining in the Labor union tradition through ’word & image example mapping’, a subverted software design methodology, and investigate what is a breach, how to communicate alert, mobilize and organize citizens locally and across Neighborhoods.

Larisa Blazic is a London-based artist focusing on critical examination of digital technology, its impact on power relations, dominant narratives surrounding it and the consequences of lack of ethical consideration and / or framework in the world of digital innovation. Over the past 20 years, Larisa has been combining hybrid interests ranging from the creative use of the Internet to intersections of video art and architecture and has initiated, collaborated and participated internationally in projects ranging from net.art to FLOSS art and design. Larisa’s work is part of a Collaboration between S + T + ARTS (Science, Technology & the Arts), an European Commission initiative launched under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and Untitled.STARTS’s purpose is to support Collaborations between artists, Scientists, engineers and researchers to develop more creative, inclusive, and sustainable technologies. 

Websites:

https://www.ewns.net/dataunion/dataunion.html

https://vertigo.starts.eu/calls/2017-2/residencies/data-union-fork-tools-for-data-strike/detail/

https://decodeproject.eu/

 

Welcome to a conversation and experimentation workshops to imagine what would be the new contract and universal basic insurance for a better life. At this point my company (www.hanskismaskinservice.com) is taking the imagination forward and the project code name is Universal Basic Hope.

Welcome on Thursday to have a conversation about the just-cause and on Friday 18th at 11am EEST (9am GMT) to co-create an experimentation.

The UBH (Universal Basic Hope) is about creating a service and platform where we all can make better choices regarding our life and realize the impact of our choices in the feeling of relevance and meaning. The scope of the idea is to respond to too small worriers early enough, create glimpses of hope and provide practical solutions to improve life. I am challenging the fundamentals of welfare society. My argument is that the current system is siloed and focused to solve everyday problems too late. The other objective is to remove or make fast, easy but dangerous solutions to worries obsolete. With this I mean especially quick loan providers with greedy interest programs.

The UBH is not yet out there. Collaborating with the Untitled Festival and with you is in key role on my journey to make real life experiments first in Finland and then later in the EU. At this point the service concept prototype is being developed and we are starting customer validations this fall. So far we have done extensive research about the current macro-level social welfare system and also investigated together with Demos Helsinki about the everyday worries that we finns have today.

My goal is to imagine a new contract for the social security and welfare system; find a solution that is adaptive to personal life situations, empowering not shameful, compassionate not dangerous and understanding the true nature of everyday life.

Developing the evolution of social welfare systems like in Finland is a daunting task. In fact the system I have a privilege to live in is close to perfect. I am sure that every system has room to improve even the one from the happiest country in the world. I invite everyone to imagine how we can create a engaging, motivating, uplifting and ethically sound system that we can provide not only in Finland but for the rest of the world.

Mikko-Pekka Hanski is the founder of the experiment and happy to connect with everyone who wants to reimagine social systems! In addition to imagining a better future Mikko-Pekka is a Co-Founder and Head of Studio for a global design agency Idean. He is also a board member in several organizations such as the JRC, the Children and Youth Foundation   and the Design Forum .

Twitter handle: @mphanski

Website: www.hanskismaskinservice.com

Ecological collapse accelerates as technology advances. To face both, we’ll need a community, or better than that: a network of independent communities or ’Nodes’. This experiment workshop will explore how such nodes can share a constitution, collaborate online, and make a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for every member. The nation state as an organizing system is broken. Corporations like Facebook are attuned to the accelerating speed of communication and globalization, but they are profit-driven. Let us reimagine a decentralized self-governing system, based in the real world as much as in the blockchain, that is robust in the face of crisis, innovative through cc-license knowledge sharing and life-friendly by design.

To get started we need Ideas, knowledge, inspiration! What would a Constitution for the 2020s look like? How do we set up a self-financed UBI? How can we harness the power of Blockchain/Aragon? How can we create a new social code that proclaims not freedom from harm, but rather the freedom to self actualize? Imagine an international network of physical open spaces – Nodes – that are based on: shared values, self-financed UBI and an internal, privacy-conscious social network. Its goals would be:

  • Cohabiting peacefully / adverting crisis
  • Creating spaces to navigate and inspire change
  • Providing mutual support
  • Using advancing technologies in communications, production, agriculture and energy

Raphael Thelen lives and works on the fault lines of our global society, where our conflicts and aspirations are thrown into their sharpest relief, where the boundaries between personal and political blurr. He experienced the 2011 Liberation struggle of the people in the Middle East, accompanied by Refugees crossing the Balkans, wrote about the crumbling Dreams of today’s Eastern Germany. His writing has appeared in all major German Magazines. Currently he is finishing his second book. He writes not only as a Spectator, but as someone who hopes to change the conditions he finds.

Theresa Leisgang lives her life on the fine line where local practices and global structures meet. She explores the connections between transculturality and climate crisis, between agriculture and biodiversity-loss, between indiginous knowledge and imperialism.Whether she researches how oil companies exploit the people of the Amazon, works on board of civil rescue ships in the Mediterranean or develops PR strategies for public figures like Carola Rackete – to her all these Missions are sides of the same quest: a good life for all on our shared planet.

Raphael and Theresa are collaborating on a project called Pulse Of  The Earth. They have traveled through Southern Africa, Europe and towards the Arctic Circle to examine how communities deal with the impact of the climate crisis. During their meetings with social-entrepreneurs, feminists, psychonauts, shamans, thinkers, politicians and activists, while living in community houses, squatted forests and on spiritual gatherings, they learnt one thing time and again: community is not only making us more resilient, it is also the solution to many of our most problems.

Twitter: @RaphaelThelen @besal

Photos: Raphael Thelen (c)

George Zisiadis and Adam Cronkright are the co-coordinators at of by for  and their mission is to get beyond parties and politicians, putting everyday people in front and center. In this discussion, George and Adam will share more about their new vision to replace partisan elections with democratic lotteries. This is a vision now you haven’t heard of yet. But it’s rooted in ancient Athenian democracy, and is re-emerging in the Lottery-drawn Citizens’ Assemblies that are shaping politics around the world.
Participants are invited to partake in small group discussions in breakout rooms, to ask questions, and to share both what excites them and what they’d like to know more about regarding democratic lotteries.
Adam Cronkright is on the Coordinating Committee for Democracy R&D, a network of close to 40 organizations advancing democratic Lotteries in 18 countries around the world.
Before dedicating himself to of by for , Adam co-founded Democracy In Practice , whose work reinventing student government with democratic Lotteries was a finalist for the Council of Europe 2016 Democracy Innovation Award. Democracy in Practice’s work was recently featured on Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast. Adam was Deeply involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests in Manhattan, and Deeply immersed in the peaceful grassroots’ Uprising that toppled an unpopular government in Bolivia in 2019.
George Zisiadis is an artist and designer who leads large, complex projects that speak to People’s hearts. His site-specific public artwork, utilizing the latest technologies, has reimagined San Francisco’s most iconic public spaces – including the Civic Center and Grace Cathedral – and consistently moved people of all ages and backgrounds. His work has been featured in TIME, NPR, WIRED, FastCompany, and more. Two years ago he set aside his art practice to dedicate himself to the study of social movements from past to present

Twitter: @adamcronkright
Website: joinofbyfor.us

Related Untitled Agenda Themes : Reimagining power, Reimagining the contract

Photos: Adam Cronkright and George Zisiadis, joinofbyfor.us (c)

By 2030 our average carbon footprint should be significantly lower to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. We need to reimagine our Everyday lives, governance, businesses, work – every aspect of our lives to match the earth’s carrying capacity.

Futures Frequency is a 3 hour workshop developed by Sitra . It challenges our assumptions about the future, leads us to imagine preferred Futures and build actions towards it. We will come together to practice Futures thinking and challenge ourselves to see the possibilities for change making. The maximum amount of participants is 20. We will use Zoom and Miro in the workshop. 

Futures Frequency is a workshop method in progress and at the Untitled Festival we test its Prototype to help develop it. We welcome you to this pilot workshop that aims at using the workshop method as a tool to popularize Futures thinking and strengthen the link between Futures thinking and change making. The workshop will be targeted to people and organizations who are interested in these topics, but does not necessarily have any previous experience about them. The workshop is structured around three themes 1) Challenge existing assumptions about the future, 2) Imagine a preferred future, 3) Take action and shape the future. 

Our aim is to use the workshop method as a tool to popularize Futures thinking and strengthen the link between Futures thinking and change making. If we are going to succeed in the transition to a fair and ecologically sustainable society, we need more people to have agency and ownership and to feel that they can have an impact towards the future and to have skills to do that.

We would like to find partners who would be interested in developing the Futures Frequency method further with Sitra. Also, we will make thematic versions of the workshop, meaning Futures Frequency about climate, democracy, data etc, and would love to find partners who work with a specific theme and would be interested in developing these thematic versions with us.

Sitra is an active fund for the future who studies, researches and brings together partners from different sectors in open-minded Trials and reforms. Its future-oriented works are aimed at making Finland succeed as a pioneer of sustainable wellbeing. This session will be Hosted by Jenna Lähdemäki-Pekkinen and Liisa Poussa. Jenna works as a social foresight specialist in Sitra’s Foresight and insight team and Liisa works in Sitra’s Foresight team, producing long-term foresight data in anticipation of the future.

Twitter handle: @SitraFund ,@jennalahdemaki_,@Lillinen
Website: www.sitra.fi/en 

Related Untitled Themes:  Reimagining Human, Reimagining Climate, Reimagining Economy, Reimagining Work, Reimagining the Contract, Reimagining Cities