05/08 2022

Speculative design workshop and exhibition ”Into Blue Futures”

MM lab

Metamedia Association in collaboration with the Department of Visual Communication Design at the Arts Academy of the University of Split (UMAS), University of Nova Gorica (Slovenia), and ArtEZ University (Arnhem, NL) organized a speculative design workshop called “Into Blue Futures: A Speculative Workshop in Strategic Foresight”. The workshop took place from August 1 to 6, 2022 at the Association of Technical Culture in Pula, and was led by Maja Grakalić and pETER Purg.

 

 

The aim of the workshop was to explore blue futures, spanning pressing issues of marine and maritime worlds, coastal communities, their diverse ecologies and sustainability challenges, post-tourism, sea migration, ocean and island thinking, climate change, energy consumption, de-growth, etc. With tools and methods of strategic forecasting, a discipline close to speculative design, and in combination with art thinking approaches, workshop participants developed prototypes that manifest different speculative visions about possible (more or less sustainable) futures. As part of the workshop program, participants visited the Aquarium Pula where, under the expert guidance of aquarium biologists, they learned about the habitats and behaviors of marine animals and the role of aquariums in the preservation of marine species.

 

 

The participants were ten young artists, designers and students from Serbia, Montenegro, Delft, Arnhem, Berlin, and Paris. The results of the workshop were presented to the public on the last day of the 24th edition of the Media Mediterranea festival in the format of a one-day group exhibition at the Association of Technical Culture in Pula, with guest author Deborah Mora (Rotterdam).

 

Prototypes

Seambiotic Hacking

Authors: Marieke Leene, Santa Ramaherison, Radisav Stijović and Karolina Thakker

 

We lose faith in authorities to protect us from environmental damage, should we take the powers into our own hands? The inevitable failure of large-scale surveillance systems has led to the decentralisation of power. To save Mediterranean Sea life, groups of activists have begun to augment themselves and other species. The breakthroughs in bioengineering increased the availability of open source tools and resources resulting in the rise of DIY solutions. People have begun to use that technology to connect with nature, but as it progressed they developed ideas on how to use it for quick financial benefits, crime, fun or use their bodies as canvas highlighting the environmental imbalance. Others helped nature to fight back culminating in some of the sea life regaining power. The sea (h)activists are still a small community and their unregulated ways of working clash with the governmental institutions and corporations. Wanna join?

 

 

The Bureaucracy of the Sea

Authors: Kseniia Anokhina, Ena Crnogorac and Piyali Sircar

 

Change is the only constant in the ocean. Blue, vast and flat on our maps. Previously void of anything useful to humans, now filled with sensors, the ocean has been transformed into a 3D space. Overflowing with infrastructure, resources, logistics, regulations and — meanings. Ever since gas was found on the seafloor, the sea has become a battlefield of regulations and attempts to define where borders are drawn. Imagine the disputes that might harness the wind and tame the waves. We want to convey the absurdity and impossibility of owning the ocean and what is in and around it. We want you to walk away feeling the paradox of trying to confine the wind, the water and the marine life. Ever changing, moving, clashing, mixing. Currents as currency. This version of the future illustrates what would happen when the left’s interest in renewable energy is coupled with the far right’s focus on creating walls and defining ownership. What if we get rid of borders? How do we enforce them? How do we own the wind? Should we own the waves?

 

Conflict and Confluence

Authors: Alex Bernatzky, María Perez-Lozao and Mila Stepanović

 

The Mediterranean is a region closing in upon itself, a tug of war over an island; thousands being cast back into the sea. Cradle and coffin of many Cultures seen as distinct and fragmented. Yet within a shared heritage is contained, shaped by a landscape of culture and nature. Memories form the foundation of identity. These are carried in objects and by people. To remember is to construct a collective past. Our narrative identity is distributed across an ecology of environmental resources, oral histories, and salient artifacts. How to regain our shared memory ecology and break free from encapsulated narratives? The Ancient Greek concept of keimêlia refers to treasured objects that exist as anachronisms passed down through generations. These objects take on new meaning when further decontextualized by placing them in the context of a gallery or museum, gaining weight as they carry collective memory. In this piece, we hope you will connect to at least one of these keimêlia and become aware of a shared Mediterranean heritage.

 

Guest artist

0°N, 0°E

Deborah Mora

 

0°N 0°E retraces the cyber-myth of the Null Island, a fictional island imagined floating at the intersection of the prime meridian and the equator, at the 0°, 0° coordinates. The island collects and combines all those images, files, and registrations uploaded online without a specific geo-position data. In the digital realm the null value — ‘0,0’ —is automatically attributed when data is absent. By downloading and combining photographs, satellite pictures, 3D models and sound recordings associated with the 0,0 location, 0°N 0°E becomes an archive where all the lost objects come together. In view of the current ecological crisis, the island offers as well a modality for preservation of nature that could survive in the form of a hypermediated environment. The video installation creates an immersive exploration of the visual and sonic landscape of the island, evoking an otherworldly atmosphere where the natural and organic meet the electronic and artificial. In doing so, 0°N 0°E offers an experience of nature that exists in – and can only be accessed through – digital mediation.

 

 

Mentors 

 

Maja Grakalić is a service designer, experiential futurist and a P.hD researcher at Central Saint Martins in London, with 15 years of experience working for media companies, the public sector and educational institutions (Nova TV, BBC, UK Government, MA Material Futures CSMStrategic Foresight for positive Change). Her work merges strategic design and foresight with the human-centred collaborative approach in the public sector, government and policymaking. She educates students and professionals about future-facing strategic design approaches and how to use those to challenge the status quo and build desirable futures together. Her PhD research awarded by the London Doctoral Centre (AHRC) tracks the origins of speculative design in former socialist Yugoslavia and aims to explore omitted histories of the practice and diversify futures perspectives outside of the Western context.

 

Peter Purg currently leads the New Media module in the Digital/Media Arts and Practices graduate//postgraduate programme at the School of Arts, University of Nova Gorica, where he acts as Associate Professor, projects coordinator as well as an expert across realms of digital culture. He was project lead of the MASTmodule.eu project that defined the role and methodology of Art Thinking in social innovations for a better European Future. Having curated the 20th international contemporary art festival Pixxelpoint 2019, his scientific inquiries lately include media arts pedagogy, post-growth and media ecology. Since december 2021 he is Dean of the School of Humanities, UNG.

 

Photogallery

workshop

exhibition

 

 

Photography: Gea Rajić

Collaborators: Nikolina Vuković, Gea Rajić i Josipa Škrapić

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