Friday, April 04, 2008

Chocolate, beer, and futures

The photo above, which I took this afternoon, is of an innovative calling card sent by our colleagues at Pantopicon, a consultancy based in Antwerp, Belgium.* It's a door hanger with a detachable set of advertisements for hypothetical future products, such as personalised medical plants, and mood-responsive t-shirts ... all at bargain basement prices! (If you earn Euros.)

Like HRCFS, Nik Baerten and team assist a variety of clients both local and international to envision and pursue preferred futures, and like us, as we learned last year, they take advantage of the imagination-catalysing potential of expressing possibilities in a range of media (which they refer to as 'experiencable futures' or 'futures experiences').

Take this elegantly simple still shot, for example:

Or this video ad:

Pantopicon has also made the occasional foray into user-generated content in the form of FFWD>> with a series of themed photoshop contests around a twenty-year future. (The example below was submitted for the theme "transport" by Gareth Davies.)

While this example is a few years old now, multimedia open source futures is really coming into its own -- as suggested in yesterday's post about design concepts; but also evidenced by the popularity of photoshop sites such as Worth1000, and the terrific cross-platform alternate reality game World Without Oil (previously mentioned here). Anyway, I hope Pantopicon will continue to engage people in this type of visual futures thinking.

Regular readers of t.s.f. are also encouraged to check out their blog, A Thousand Tomorrows, which tracks similar themes and, while internationally oriented, gives a stronger sense of the pulse of futures work in Europe.

You know, they might technically live in a low country, but from what I can tell the Belgians somehow see further than most... ;)

Keep up the good work, guys!

* Actually, it was a New Year's greeting that has been sitting in Jake's mailbox for several months -- he returned to Hawaii yesterday from self-imposed exile for dissertation writing purposes. Aloha Jake.

1 comment:

Stuart Candy said...

Just noticed the resemblance between the bottom-right artifact ("dermacom") on the Pantopicon card, and the digital tattoo interface highlighted in the previous post, on "Greener Gadgets". Also, the "iSpot link lens" (bottom left) seems to be roughly the same concept as that which we noted recently as having taken a step from Wired artifact status toward reality.

(Duly noted for a forthcoming post on "Emerging clich├ęs of futures artifact imagery" ;)