Conjectural Futures Conference
2 days of talks and workshops for strategists, visionaries, innovators and designers.
17th and 18th of November 2022,
A city is larger than itself. Its manifold relationships stretch through space and time. Different periods and ideas, current and ancient connections layer and manifest themselves in its streets, market squares, architectures and facades. How we live, feed and move in cities has an impact far beyond them. They interact with their surroundings – landscapes, countries, the whole world – that they shape and are shaped by. At the same time, this dynamic relationship is often overlaid by the static normality of its concrete structures and infrastructures, a fast-moving but unchanging status quo. This combination of dynamic entanglement and concrete tangibility in our everyday urban experience allows us to think and develop other futures through new urban designs and a changed conception of urbanity. Can we change the world by changing the city?
Sometimes, the biggest changes take place in the smallest details. In the 19th century, organic chemistry discovered fossil hydrocarbons, the basic building blocks of petromodernity. The consequences of this discovery – the unleashed availability of energy and the ability to shape material into basically any form – still make up our reality: leisure, freedom, division of labour, nutrition, knowledge society and Tupperware parties on the one hand; geopolitical conflicts, exploitation of people, natural disasters and climate change on the other. What the historical mobilisation of hydrocarbons was to energy and materials, the emerging manipulation of quantum states might be to information, or the designability of genetic functions to life.
A petro-modern perspective on the history and present shows us how important it is to look for connecting lines between the very small and the very large. What does this perspective tell us about current future technologies? How can we imagine the implications of bio and quantum technologies? What approaches and tools can we use?