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Title: Parlor of Futures: Tarot cards, Futures Techniques and Octave Obdurant's "Cosmographic Comparator"
Authors: Kera, Denisa
Keywords: scenarios
Louise Michel
forgotten history of future making
Issue Date: 18-Oct-2017
Abstract: We are performing a material media archeology investigations into the origins of our concept of innovation and future through the 16th century Tarot cards and divination techniques, which we combine and contrast with present "anticipatory thinking protocols". Through our prototypes and cards we are looking into the connection between reading & predicting the future & making it through prototyping while investigating various new materials and techniques & “demystifying” them. The lab-parlor is dedicated to Louise Michel, a 19th century anarchist and member of the Paris commune, who is one of the first speculative designers and futurists. Through her alter-egos, Marie Violette Tranchot and Octave Obdurant, she described prototypes, which combine future speculations, physical models and machines with political activism. Her "Cosmographic Comparator" (Conducteur à Comparaisons Cosmographiques), "speculative crown" and the "utopian umbrella" are tools, which integrate the possible with the actual, science with poetry, and serve to change the ways we experience and envision our future. Her anarchist and geeky heroine, Marie Violette, used these tools to start revolutions around the world described with a very feminist metaphor of “snipping the umbilical of the globe”. In the parlor-lab we design and perform similar “machines” for scenarios to “contaminate” our future with history and the history with hopes for the future because "history without utopia is dead in spirit and fact, but the future cannot live on dreams alone; any science worthy of the name has no other purpose than the visionary improvement of life on earth". Michel’s aka Violette’s “integration of the actual and the possible" is the goal of our workshops and readings. We combine old iconography, dreams and utopias with present DIY prototyping techniques to poetically explore science and technology controversies through aesthetic circuits and microfluidics, which define our present electronics, but also biotech dreams and visions.
Appears in Collections:1. Re:Trace Conference - Keynotes, Papers & Posters

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