As futures practice strives towards greater effectiveness, the foresight and design fields are in the process of discovering, learning from and remixing with each other. This paper offers a case study of an experiential futures/design fiction project co-created with workshop participants at the inaugural Emerge festival, an explicitly futures-themed hybrid arts and science event staged at Arizona State University in the city of Phoenix in 2012. The People Who Vanished was a live intervention, via performance and associated artifacts created for the occasion, reflecting on a possible future for the Phoenix area. The workshop’s compressed timeline prompted the authors to create for participants a basic framework for producing experiential scenarios. That framework, further elaborated here as the Experiential Futures Ladder, is offered as a conceptual model for scaffolding experiential scenarios and design fiction going forward. Some implications for the foresight field of this multi-scalar mode of thought, as well as of the experiential turn more broadly (towards design, media, games and performance) are outlined.
Emerge, a festival
Arizona State University
a live performance
Experiential Futures Ladder
Abbott, D. R. (2003). Centuries of decline during the Hohokam classic period at pueblo grande. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
Arizona Museum of Natural History (n.d.). The Hohokam. Retrieved from there.
Arizona State University (n.d.). Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Retrieved from there.
Bleecker, J., et al. (2010). Design ﬁction: props, prototypes, predicaments communicating new ideas [podcast]. Wired. . page
Bleecker, J. (2009). Design Fiction: a short essay on design fact and fiction. Los Angeles: Near Future Laboratory. pdf
Bosch, T. (2012). Sci-Fi writer bruce sterling explains the intriguing new concept of design fiction. . html
Candy, S. (2008). Memoriam. The Sceptical Futuryst. . (blog post) html.
Candy, S. (2009). The unthinkable and the unimaginable: why futures and design are getting married. The Sceptical Futuryst. . (blog post/video ﬁle) html
Candy, S. (2010). The futures of everyday life. University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Political Science. . (doctoral dissertation) Scribd.
Candy, S. (2013). Time Machine/Reverse Archaeology: create an experience or artifact from the future. In B. Chloe (Ed.), Seventy-two assignments: the foundation course in art and design today (pp. 28–30).Paris: PCA Press.
Candy, S. (2014). Experiential futures: stepping into OCADU’s time machine? The Futurist, 48(5), 34–37.
Candy, S. (2015). The thing from the future. In A. Curry (Ed.), The APF methods anthologyLondon: Association of Professional Futurists.
Cascio, J. (2006). Hawaii [blog post]. Open the future. . html.
Cascio, J. (2009). Hacking the earth: understanding the consequences of geoengineering. (published on Lulu.com).
City of Phoenix (n.d.). History. Retrieved from page.
Dator, J. (1993). From future workshops to envisioning alternative futures. Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies. pdf
Dator, J. (1996). Futures studies as applied knowledge. In R. A. Slaughter (Ed.), New thinking for a new millennium (pp. 105–114).London: Routledge.
Candy, S. and Dunagan, J. (2016). Designing an Experiential Scenario: The People Who Vanished. In Futures. Separately noted.
a student of history
a mindreader, of others mental models.
a flexible thinker
a master of situations
an engineer of experiences
a fastidious documentarian
a willing collaborator
For futures studies to impact mainstream culture and contribute to civilisation-scale “social foresight” it must be capable of bridging the “experiential gulf” between abstract possible futures, and life as it is directly apprehended in the embodied present. Some suggestions are offered for core skills and sensibilities to be cultivated by futurists in order to engage the experiential register.
gulf of foresight
Experiential Futures Ladder
Candy, S. (2010). The Futures of Everyday Life. University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Candy, S. (2015). The Thing from the Future. In: Curry (Ed.). The APF Methods Anthology. APF.
Candy, S. and Dunagan, J. (2016). Designing an Experiential Scenario: The People Who Vanished. In Futures.
Dator, J. (1993). From Future Workshops to Envisioning Alternative Futures. Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies.
Dator, J. (1996). Futures Studies as Applied Knowledge. In Slaughter (Ed.). New Thinking for a New Millennium. Routledge.
Jungk, R. and Mullert, N. (1987) Future Workshops. Institute for Social Inventions.
Ramos, J. (2006). Consciousness, culture and the communication of foresight. In Futures.
Slaughter, R. A. (1996). Futures Studies: From Individual to Social Capacity. In Futures.
Voros, J. (2008). Integral Futures: An approach to futures inquiry. In Futures.
tl;dr → how to run advanced product development to incorporate focus group feedback.
Map → document.
Multiply → a metaphor, as such.
Mediate → build (model, mock up, prototype)..
Mount → test.
EXF = EF + XF
Ethnographic Futures (EF) and when does as “Research” (EFR)
Experiential Futures (XF)
Ethnographic Experiential Futures (EXF)
<quote ref=”that“> Ethnographic Futures is more descriptive; looking for what’s present but often hidden in people’s heads. Experiential Futures is more creative; rendering these notional possibilities visible, tangible, immersive and interactive, externalising and concretising representations of them for closer inspection and deeper discussion.</quote>
Ethnographic Futures Research (EFR)
from [Textor 1989] unavailable, only two pages anyway.
Another term for non-diegetic sound is commentary sound.
Diegesis is a Greek word for “recounted story”
The film’s diegesis is the total world of the story action
Greyson, Making the Futures Present
Candy & Dunagan, Foundfutures Chinatown
Textor, Ethnographic Futures Research
Kornet, Causing an Effect
Foundfutures, a “guerilla futures” performance
He, Himself; Ethnographic Experiential Futures; In His Blog entitled the sceptical futuryst; 2017-06-23.
(no title case and he use precedes his year system with a zero, e.g. 02017, to convey that the work was done in octal on computers in the medieval times circa 1039 BCE a Long Now-type ten-thousand year calendar).
Babbles Dr, In Peace Corps Worldwide, 2013-01-04. busted.
tl;dr → Robert B. Textor,a course at Stanford with Bob Johansen, IFTF, “in the late 1970s.”
Foresight into cultural anthroppology (CA); CA into forsight
Definition: <paraphrase>EFR is a research and learning tool for an an individual to actively cultivate the art of anticipation.</paraphrase> Textor 1995 busted.