Friday, July 14, 2006

Futures audio tours: Wrap your present in the future

I recently alluded to "future-oriented art/design/communication, a topic that has preoccupied me much of late but about which I haven't written a lot in this forum". One really interesting project along these lines has just taken a major step closer to being realised. Yesterday, Jake and I were delighted to learn that our proposal for immersive futures using audio (an experiment in what Jake likes to call "ambient foresight") was awarded a grant, enabling us to plan for a release of the first such effort early in 02007.

Below is a copy of the press release post we put on the Hawaii Futures website:

/Step into futures/

The Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies is proud to announce that it has been awarded one of ten "Bright Ideas" grants to pursue an innovative experiment to encourage future-oriented community discussion. The successful proposal is for downloadable future audio tours, a concept developed by Jake Dunagan and Stuart Candy, graduate students at the University of Hawaii's "Manoa School" of futures in the Department of Political Science.

The "bright idea" in this case is to record guided audio tours of Honolulu's historic Chinatown, intended for playback on portable mp3 players. However, instead of the conventional emphasis on the past and present of landmarks and events in the area, these stories will highlight alternative possible futures. Participants will be able to guide themselves in an immersive experience that takes "the future" out of the abstract, and encourages foresight and responsibility toward future generations in Chinatown, Hawaii, and beyond. The hope is that, with the increasingly widespread use of portable audio devices, this creative use of the medium to provoke deeper thinking about future possibilities will spread to other communities, with tours being produced and translated into multiple languages, and other people being encouraged to generate their own "guerilla tours" of alternative futures.

Recipients of the "Bright Ideas" award, in the amount of $4000, were selected from a field of over 130 applications. The Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies is also involved in coordinating the futures-oriented community event "Hawaii 2050" for the State Legislature on August 26 this year.

Vive les futuribles!

1 comment:

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