Guerrilla Futures


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Guerrilla futures is a practice at the intersection of strategic foresight and tactical media.

It's a direct answer to the challenge of bringing possible future scenarios to life in urban spaces.

This is an edited version of a presentation made by Stuart Candy (@futuryst) as part of a panel on Urban Tactics, for the second annual Festival of Transitional Architecture (@FESTA_CHCH) in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 26 October 2013. The panel was organised by Barnaby Bennett (@mrbarnabyb).

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  • {"38":"Image credit: Bram Goots/FoundFutures\n","27":"Image credit: FoundFutures\n","16":"Image credit: Yumi Vong/FoundFutures\n","55":"And in the Nazca lines of Peru – along with the archaeological records of other collapsed civilisations.\n","44":"The “McChinatown” intervention landed on the front page of the state newspaper\n","33":"Image credit: Matthew Jensen/FoundFutures\n","61":"\n","50":"New York Times Special Edition, released September 02008, dated 4 July 02009\n\n","17":"Image credit: Yumi Vong/FoundFutures\n","6":"Image credit: Cyrus Camp/Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies\n","56":"Chillingly enough, the glyph – apparently a transcultural and transhistorical symbol of imminent collapse - then appeared on Tempe Butte (aka “A” Mountain), visible from the ASU Campus.\n","34":"Image credit: Matthew Jensen/FoundFutures\n","23":"Image credit: FoundFutures\n","12":"The postcards started life as workshop aids but we opportunistically turned them into what we later discovered some people call “mail art”.\n","40":"Image credit: Stuart Candy/FoundFutures\n","18":"Image credit: Yumi Vong/FoundFutures\n","7":"Image credit: Cyrus Camp/Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies\n","68":"From the book Signs of Life by Dave Askwith & Alex Normanton, Harpercollins, 02005\n","46":"Image credit: Greenpeace\n\n","35":"Image credit: Matthew Jensen/FoundFutures\n","24":"Image credit: FoundFutures\n","13":"Image credit: Yumi Vong/FoundFutures\n","52":"Our workshop participants identified what appeared to be a strange symbol or glyph in the design of the last canals dug by the Hohokam in the Valley of the Sun.\n","41":"Image credit: Matthew Stits/FoundFutures\n","30":"An environmentally enlightened China becomes the political sponsor of a movement for Hawaiian independence, “Sovereign Green”\nImage credit: Stuart Candy/FoundFutures\n","19":"Image credit: Yumi Vong/FoundFutures\n","8":"Image credit: Cyrus Camp/Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies\n","58":"Hypothetical Design Organization\nImage courtesy of Rob Walker\n","36":"Image credit: Matthew Jensen/FoundFutures\n","25":"Image credit: FoundFutures\n","14":"Image credit: Yumi Vong/FoundFutures\n","64":"Keep it real – don’t warn, explain, etc.\nWhat small part of the future can you manifest for people today in order to prompt them to imagine the rest?\n“Any useful statement about the future should at first appear to be ridiculous.” – Jim Dator\nSee pp. 189-207\n","53":"The glyph also appeared in the decorations on Hohokam pottery.\n","42":"Image credit: Stuart Candy/FoundFutures\n","31":"Artists’ impression of the “Statue of Harmony”, a gift from China to the people of Hawaii in 02026\nImage credit: Stuart Candy/FoundFutures\n","20":"Image credit: Yumi Vong/FoundFutures\n","9":"Image credit: Cyrus Camp/Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies\n","59":"Hypothetical Design Organization\nImage courtesy of Rob Walker\nSome (not many) also use the term “architectural fiction”, sort of a branch of “design fiction”.\n","48":"Earthquake awareness campaign by Publicis & Hal Riney for the Bay Area Red Cross, 02007\nImage credit: Bay Area Red Cross\n\n","37":"Image credit: Matthew Jensen/FoundFutures\n","26":"Hypothetical products from the future\nImage credit: FoundFutures\n","15":"Image credit: Yumi Vong/FoundFutures\n","4":"Bottom up, opportunistic, unsolicited\n","54":"On the monuments of Rapa Nui\n","43":"Image credit: Matthew Stits/FoundFutures\n","21":"Image credit: Stuart Candy/FoundFutures\nPostcards zapped back from times to come began mysteriously appearing in people’s mailboxes\n"}
  • Guerrilla Futures

    1. 1. Guerrilla Futures Stuart Candy Ph.D. | @futuryst OCAD University | Long Now Foundation Festival of Transitional Architecture (FESTA), Christchurch 26.oct.02013
    2. 2. Strategic Guerrilla Foresight Futures Tactical Media
    3. 3. Strategic Foresight is “the ability to create and maintain a high-quality, coherent and functional forward view and to use the insights arising in [practically] useful ways.” - Richard Slaughter, The Foresight Principle
    4. 4. Tactical media is “a form of media activism that privileges temporary, hit-and-run interventions in the media sphere … that engage and critique the dominant political and economic order.” -
    5. 5. Hawaii 2050 (2006) Four “experiential futures”, immersive scenarios set in Hawaii in 2050, were staged for 500+ participants embarking on a public sustainability planning process. (Not a guerrilla project, but a starting point…)
    6. 6. Our view: Routine foresight lacks impact and “Experiential futures” showed promise but Official processes were too timid to succeed
    7. 7. = If you can’t do it officially, do it unofficially
    8. 8. FoundFutures: Postcards from the future (2007) Postcards from four different versions of Hawaii circa 2030 were mailed out serially to the homes of over 100 community leaders.
    9. 9. FoundFutures: Artifacts from the future (2006/07) Installations of playful and provocative future artifacts in urban places, for people to encounter in the midst of their everyday lives.
    10. 10. FoundFutures: Chinatown (2007) Future artifacts from three scenarios for a much-loved neighbourhood. We created the stories after speaking with residents and business owners in the area about its history and their latent concerns.
    11. 11. ‘Green Dragon’ What becomes of Chinatowns when China is the predominant geopolitical superpower?
    12. 12. FoundFutures: Chinatown “Green Dragon”
    13. 13. ‘The Bird Cage’ How would the community fare if a bird flu outbreak occurred in Chinatown?
    14. 14. ‘McChinatown’ How would it feel for gentrification to take over the neighbouthood?
    15. 15. Advertising at Copenhagen airport during COP 15 (2009) Greenpeace and tcktcktck urged the world’s leaders not to miss an historic opportunity.
    16. 16. Earthquake awareness in San Francisco (2007) The Bay Area Red Cross temporarily placed a double-sided billboard at the bottom of Market Street in quake-prone San Francisco, vividly visualising seismic destruction and encouraging disaster preparedness.
    17. 17. New York Times Special Edition (2008) Culture jamming activists The Yes Men and artist Steve Lambert distributed an idealised future edition of the newspaper, featuring “all the news we hope to print”.
    18. 18. FoundFutures: The People Who Vanished (2012) A participatory experiential scenario (performance + mixed media installations) was staged with our collaborators in Phoenix for the first ‘Emerge’ festival at Arizona State University.
    19. 19. Hypothetical Development Organization (2010) Rob Walker and collaborators installed fanciful signage in the streets of New Orleans, suggesting imaginative new uses for disused buildings.
    20. 20. Compare with ‘unsolicited architecture’
    21. 21. “Unsolicited architects do not wait to tackle the big issues often overlooked by the market. They create briefs where none are written, discover sites where none are owned, approach clients where none are present, and find financing where none is available.” - Rory Hyde
    22. 22. Guerrilla futures combines strategic foresight with tactical media…
    23. 23. …to produce unexpected encounters with possible worlds.
    24. 24. Guerrilla futures principles: . Don’t break the universe . The tip of the iceberg . The art of the double-take . playfully . collectively
    25. 25. The point is to show, as well as tell, different stories…
    26. 26. …bringing futures to life in order to influence how we act today.
    27. 27. Plus it’s fun.
    28. 28. Take back the future!
    29. 29. Thanks. More at: @futuryst