Future Factories and Futurematic

futurematic-posterPoster design by Ceda Verbakel

The Situation Lab invites you to take part in two upcoming events with award-winning New York City-based design collective, The Extrapolation Factory.

Founded by designers Elliott P. Montgomery and Chris Woebken, the Extrapolation Factory sets out to “explore the value of rapidly imagined, prototyped, deployed and evaluated visions of possible futures on an extended time scale.” In 2013, they won the Core77 award in the Speculative Design category for their project 99 cent futures, in which they held a design jam to create speculative products from the discount store of the future. When an exhibition incorporating 99 cent futures opened in China last December, CNN published this report.

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# Jan 19, 2014

“In participatory situations, game structure replaces aesthetics. Instead of events being worked out beforehand, there is a “game plan,” a set of objectives, moves, and rules that are generally known or explained. The game plan is flexible, adapting to changing situations. . . [In 1969,] I formulated three rules of participation:

  1. The audience is in a living space and a living situation. Things may happen to and with them as well as ‘in front’ of them.
  2. When a performer invites participation, he must be prepared to accept and deal with the spectator’s reactions.
  3. Participation should not be gratuitous.”

Richard Schechner, Environmental Theater. Applause Books, New York, 1973. 78.

# Jan 13, 2014

“A cognitive system is a system whose organization defines a domain of interactions in which it can act with relevance to the maintenance of itself, and the process of cognition is the actual (inductive) acting or behaving in this domain. Living systems are cognitive systems, and living as a process is a process of cognition. This statement is valid for all organisms, with and without a nervous system.”

Humberto Maturana, Biology and Cognition (1970)

FPOU: a comic provocation about the future of postsecondary education

This faux infomercial, currently airing without disclaimer at 4am on US cable network Adult Swim, takes some smart and merciless shots at MOOCs, gamification, and, of course, for-profit online “universities”. The level of detail here is impressive: pausing reveals hilariously complete mockups of user interfaces for things like managing “ThoughtCoins”, reporting other students for fraud, customizing shoddy Second Life-style virtual classroom avatars, and cashing in academic credits for sandwiches. “Whenever I want to learn something,” exclaims one of the breathless interview subjects, “I just buy some more ThoughtCoins and download some more facts.” The dystopia implied by the satire here should serve as a cautionary touchstone for anyone interested in exploring the roles privatization and technology will play in the future of education.

Created by Wild Aggressive Dog.

Hat tip: Sarah Brin.

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