The Futures of Everyday Life: Politics and the Design of Experiential Scenarios | Stuart Candy

Stuart Candy; The Futures of Everyday Life: Politics and the Design of Experiential Scenarios; Ph.D. Dissertation; University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa; 2010-08; 372 pages; DOI:10.13140/RG.2.1.1840.0248; ResearchGate.

Abstract

The great existential challenges facing the human species can be traced, in part, to the fact that we have underdeveloped discursive practices for thinking possible worlds ‘out loud’, performatively and materially, in the register of experience. That needs to change. In this dissertation, a methodology for ‘experiential scenarios’, covering a range of interventions and media from immersive performance to stand-alone ‘artifacts from the future’, is offered as a partial corrective. The beginnings of aesthetic, political and ethical frameworks for ‘experiential futures’ are proposed, drawing on alternative futures methodology, the emerging anti- mediumist practice of ‘experience design’, and the theoretical perspective of a Rancièrian ‘politics of aesthetics’. The relationships between these three domains — futures, design, and politics — are explored to show how and why they are coming together, and what each has to offer the others. The upshot is that our apparent binary choice between unthinkable dystopia and unimaginable utopia is a false dilemma, because in fact, we can and should imagine ‘possibility space’ hyperdimensionally, and seek to flesh out worlds hitherto supposed unimaginable or unthinkable on a daily basis. Developed from early deployments across a range of settings in everyday life, from urban guerrilla-style activism to corporate consulting, experiential scenarios do not offer definitive answers as to how the future will look, or even how it should look, but they can contribute to a mental ecology within which these questions may be posed and discussed more effectively than ever before.

Concept

Experiential Scenarios

Contribution

A [better] mental ecology in which [futures] questions may be posed and discussed.

Thesis
  • a diagnosis
  • a methodology
  • a corrective
  • a framework

Mentions

  • (thinking) out loud
  • (thinking) performatively and materially
  • the register of experience
  • artifacts from the future
  • experiential futures
  • alternative futures methodology
  • experience designthe emerging anti- mediumist practice of)
  • Jacques Rancière, b1940, see Jimi Wales’ Wiki
  • politics of aesthetics
  • possibility space
  • hyperdimensionally
Domains
  • futures
  • design
  • politics
Span
  • unthinkable dystopia
  • unimaginable utopia

Claim: a false dilemma, no a binary choice.

Scope
  • urban guerrilla-style activism
  • corporate consulting

as such: all

Committee
    • Jim Dator

, chair

  • Michael J. Shapiro
  • Debora Halbert
  • Stephen Duncombe
  • Markus Wessendorf

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Abstract
  • List of Figures
  • Introduction. The Unthinkable And The Unimaginable
  • Chapter 1. Beyond Utopia And Dystopia
    • Three easy pieces
      1. Alternative futures
      2. Images of the future
      3. The trio of possible, probable and preferable futures
    • Mapping possibility space
    • A note about theory
    • Generating scenarios
    • The four generic futures
    • Four corners of possibility space
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 2. From Experiential Gulf To Experiential Scenario
    • A tale of two cities
      1. New Orleans: Blindsided by Katrina
      2. Detroit: The future that couldn’t last
    • Lessons from New Orleans and Detroit
    • Another hurricane, and the experiential gulf
    • Reuniting brain and body
    • Mind the gap
    • For a mundane turn in futures
    • Experiential scenarios: a case study
    • Experience design
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 3. The Politics Of Futures And Design
    • Scoping the political
    • Futures and design, considered politically
      1. Critical, political futures
      2. The politics of design
        1. Take One: Design as a signal of human intention
        2. Take Two: Design as reshaping the material world
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 4. Why Futures And Design Are Getting Married
    • A good fit
    • Deepening discourse by design
      1. Discursive, critical and interrogative design
      2. Design fiction
    • The dance depends on who leads
    • Three principles for designing experiential scenarios
      1. Don’t break the universe
      2. The tip of the iceberg
      3. The art of the double take
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 5. Guerrillas In The Wild
    • Situating guerrilla futures
    • Culture jamming and prefigurative politics
      1. Jamming the future
      2. Performing the preferred future
    • Three guerrilla futures interventions
      1. New York Times Special Edition
      2. Hawaii Blue Line Project
      3. FoundFutures: Chinatown
    • A comparative case study
      1. Space
      2. Media
      3. Time
      4. Narrative
      5. Audience Involvement
    • Evaluating political effectiveness
    • A checklist for guerrilla engagement
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 6. Scenario, Simulation, Hoax
    • An ontological spectrum
    • Three discursive technologies
    • Experiential concreteness and indispensable mimesis
    • Two Halloweens (Tricks, or treats?)
      1. War of the Worlds
      2. Hell House
    • Two ethical risks
      1. Distressing?
      2. Misleading?
    • Towards an ethics of experiential futures
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 7. The Futures Of Everyday Life
    • Has futures studies failed?
    • What would it mean to succeed?
    • How are we approaching it?
      1. Future-shock therapy vs ambient foresight
      2. Foresight that is like falling off a log
      3. Ambient foresight nodes
      4. Ambient foresight networks
      5. The limits of ambience?
    • A futures-oriented social ecology
    • Conclusion
  • Conclusion. How We Might Feel Tomorrow
  • References

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  486. World_Social_Forum ‘World Without Oil’ Alternate Reality Game, Wikipedia entry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Without_Oil
  487. World Without Oil website. http://www.worldwithoutoil.org
  488. ‘Year Zero’ Alternate Reality Game, Wikipedia entry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Zero_(game)
  489. The Yes Men et al., 2008, New York Times Special Edition. http://www.nytimes-se.com/ [Also available via the Internet Archive http://www.archive.org/details/nytimes-se]
  490. The Yes Men, 2004, The Yes Men: The True Story of the End of the World Trade Organization. New York: The Disinformation Company.
  491. The Yes Men, n.d.a, ‘Dow Ethics’ website. http://www.dowethics.com/
  492. The Yes Men, n.d.b, Project page: Dow. http://theyesmen.org/hijinks/dow
  493. Zajonc, R.B., 1968, ‘Attitudinal Effects of Mere Exposure’. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9(2, Pt. 2): 1-27.
  494. Zeitchik, Steven, 2009, ‘Ridley Scott, DiCaprio travel to “Brave New World”’. Reuters, 6 August. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5750WZ20090806
  495. Ziarek, Krzysztof, 2004, The Force of Art. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  496. Zjawinski, Sonja, 2007, ‘Masterpieces of Disaster’. Metrophile blog, Wired.com, 20 March. http://www.wired.com/metrophile/2007/03/masterpieces_of/

Society as a social invention and you as a social inventor | Jim Dator

Jim Dator; Society as a social invention and you are aq social inventor; Futures Program, University of Hawaii; 1993; 8 pages ← socialinventor.

Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Examples
  3. How to Become a Social Inventor
  4. Futurists as Architects
  5. Just Do It (Nikepermission to act)
  6. Some techniques for Creativity
  7. Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

Mentions

  • Social construction
  • Social invention
  • Something about the vapidness of Brooke Shields.

Exemplars

  • The publicly-funded university
  • Community college
  • Mandatory secondary school
  • The nuclear fanily
  • Slavery, the institution.

Change

Envisioning social change.

  • Ending slavery.
  • Ending racial segregation.
  • Ending colonialism.
  • Ending war.
  • Ending violence.

Personalities

  • Awareness of problems.
  • Concern about of problems.
  • Memory for facts.
  • Fluency in ideation.
  • Flexibility
  • Originality
  • Self-discipline
  • Persistence
  • Adaptability
  • Intellectual playfulness
  • Humor
  • Nonconformity
  • Tolerance of ambiguity
  • Self-confidence
  • Skepticism
  • Intelligence

Not exactly OCEAN, but something else

Methods of Structured Creativity

  • Brainstorning
  • Factoring
  • Anti-causality
  • Perspective shifts, as “becoming”
  • Random combinations
  • Beyond dichotomous (iterated dichotomous or multi-variate)

Laws about the Future

  1. Old people are hidebound and anti-creative; do not listen to them.
  2. Break rules, experience what happens.
  3. Technology looks like magic.
As stated.
  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Via: Arthur Clarke; “Laws about the future“; In Jimi Wales Wiki.
See the provenance for how the Three “Laws” came to be elaboated.

The Six Thinking Hats

Via Jimi Wales’ Wiki

Managing – Blue
What is the subject? what are we thinking about? what is the goal? Can look at the big picture.
Information – White
Considering purely what information is available, what are the facts?
Emotions – Red
Intuitive or instinctive gut reactions or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification)
Discernment – Black
Logic applied to identifying reasons to be cautious and conservative. Practical, realistic.
Optimistic – Yellow
Logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony. Sees the brighter, sunny side of situations.
Creativity – Green
statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes. Thinks creatively, outside the box.

And there are allegorical combinations of the essential primes:

Initial Ideas
Blue, White, Green, Blue
Choosing between alternatives
Blue, White,(Green), Yellow, Black, Red, Blue
Identifying Solutions
Blue, White, Black, Green, Blue
Quick Feedback
Blue, Black, Green, Blue
Strategic Planning
Blue, Yellow, Black, White, Blue, Green, Blue
Process Improvement
Blue, White, White (Other peoples views), Yellow, Black, Green, Red, Blue
Solving Problems
Blue, White, Green, Red, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue
Performance Review
Blue, Red, White, Yellow, Black, Green Red, Blue

Quoted

  • Glenn Paige, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii.
  • Edward de Bono, theory; a practice, an LLC
  • Arthur Clarke, scrivener.

Referenced

  • Social Alternatives, 1980-06; issues.
    <quote><snip/> is an independent, quarterly refereed journal which aims to promote public debate, commentary and dialogue about contemporary social, political, economic and environmental issues.</quote>
  • Arthur J. Cropley; More Ways Than One: Fostering Creativity in the Classroom; Frontiers in Psychotherapy Series; Praeger; 1992-01-01; 132 pages; Amazon:089391939X: Kindle: $30, paper: $20+SHT; c.f. page 19.
  • Jim Dator; Future Studies as Applied Knowledge; WHEN?; 10 pages; landing.
  • Arthur Clarke; “Laws about the future“; In Jimi Wales Wiki.
  • Edward De Bono
    • Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step; Harper Colophon; reissue edition, 2015-02-24; PUBLISHER, 1st edition “the 1960s”; 300 pages; Amazon:0060903252: Kindle: $10, paper: $2+SHT.
    • Six Thinking Hats; Back Bay Books; 1999-08-19; 192 pages; Amazon:0316178314:  Kindle: maybe, paper: $14+SHT.
  • John A. Glover, Royce R. Ronning, Cecil R. Reynolds (editors); Handbook of Creativity; Plenum Press; 1989-08-31; 448 pages; Amazon:B01JXTJ70W: Kindle: no, paper: $8+SHT → $270+SHT; c.f. page 11.
    Also: lots of other volumes entitled Handbook of Creativity, all from big-brand august university publishing labels (Oxford, Cambridge, etc.); apparently theorists in the area of Creativitity Studies are not very, um, creative.  Thank you, Thank you very much. I will be here all week.

On “Psychological Methods for Special Purpose Computer System Design”

In the context of Jim Dator’s “Society as a social invention and you as a social inventor”, 1993, previously noted.

Outline
  1. Introduction
  2. Examples
  3. How to Become a Social Inventor
  4. Futurists as Architects
  5. Just Do It (Nikepermission to act)
  6. Some techniques for Creativity
  7. Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

Whereas we are reminded that this site is deleted in ~15 days (when class ends). I’ll leave the notes off stage thus.

The Dator essay is about methods and scope for structuring the creative process. I’ll tell a short story from my past. There are many methods for doing this, some of which are applicable to small groups on the span of minutes or hours, some applicable to multi-stakeholder processes operating on the span of months or years.

Some twenty five years ago, as Glasnost was unfolding and the Soviet Union falling, a bunch of the Berkeley professors went off to the Soviet Union to make friends. To keep the story short: they came back with such, we had visitors and speeches by some folks with some very very fancy titles. They weren’t widely advertised because (um) you can’t do that at Berkeley. One of the most profound experiences of my life was to hear an individual with a title something like “chairman of national academy of sciences” (something like that) give an hour long talk, in English, with the primitive transparency slideware of the day, explaining how they had come to the conclusion at the blue-ribbon panel level that the Soviet Union had lost control of the silicon & computer technology that the West had mastered. His example was the Intel 32-bit x86 architecture. He was direct. He explained how they copied the 8086, he had some estimate for how long it took. He had how long it took them to copy the i286. It took them longer to copy the i386. For the i486, all they could do was copy the mask set from “acquired” copies. They weren’t able to figure out what it did enough to rebuild one. In that era the U.S. Navy had recovered open-ocean spy gear that head U.S. i486 chips in it. They didn’t attempt the Pentium or any generation beyond that. And then we were in real time.

Separately there was a contingent from East Germany, academics and such from Dresden who explained to us that they had a group that was tasked with copying the DEC VAX 11/780 and they were visiting to learn how to repeat the same process for the new RISC architectures that were from Berkeley. MIPS was in market at that point. We knew the VAX cloning activities had happened because enterprising reporters across the years had documented the cloak-and-dagger used to get such a refrigerator-shaped device with very heavy export control supervision across the border into the East. The answer for the Dresden crew was to go down to the ASUC store and buy Hennessey & Patterson’s book. To give a sense of where the technology was back at that point, the RISC designs were new and simple enough that prototypes could be accomplished by a department-level research effort on a multi-year grant. A 64-bit multiplier in the several nanosecond range was a term project in one of those near-research graduate courses; we didn’t fab them, but proved their correctness & speed estimates with transistor-level simulations.

After the initial festivities several visitors remained. One of them sat in my 4-person cubicle for around eighteen months. His English seemed good, and we talked a lot. He wanted to study “psychological methods for special computer system design.” I’m never sure if we totally communicated about what he wanted to learn. I still don’t know what that is or might be. I got the sense that he was the “idea guy” and that he got sent because he had wacky ideas, he could generate them or he could tolerate them, one of those. He was from some (internal passport only) defense city where they did weapons development. While we didn’t do military work in our group, there were folks in & around my cohort who did clearance-level work on summer jobs and part time, off stage. These visit wasn’t about making contact with those people. It was about making friends and ramping down the cold war.

To give a sense about how closed the society was, it was clear that he had a different view about government and society and allocation of resources. For example, he wanted to buy one of the Apple computer products to send back to his son via the diplomatic pouch. This was back when fanbois would croon “it’s soooooo intuitive,” and point out the one-button mouse; against Windows with IRQs and autoexec.bat settings. He wanted a Mac. He wanted to know how to apply to get one. Surely there was some window or office to which he needed to apply. The answer was: you go down to the ASUC store and you buy it with a credit card or cash. A standard Mac was a little over one month of his stipend we figured out from looking at his U.C. offer letter. For several years afterwards he would send me email at my personal address on July 4th, wishing me and the country happiness. We lost touch in the late 90s as Bubble I unfolded.

There probably is something there in “psychological methods for …” but it would be called something different, misdirective and and very abstract. For example, if one gets into studying the “false news” phenomenon one gets into “Reflective Control Theory” which seems at a facile level to be “advertising” or “public relations” but comes at the problem from military and strategic power relations perspective. An interesting viewpoint there is that the Soviets (Russians) are reported to feel that the U.S. is (was) a master at this wherein the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was mere puffery but caused them to massively redirect their resources towards answering it, which ultimately exhausted them. They are returning the favor nowadays by using U.S.-based social media to troll our society. Seems far-fetched, but there is a body of literature thereon as filled, and filled.

The puzzle, and here is the relationship to the Dator essay, is the “psychological methods for X” being a structured creative process towards an articulated planning-centric end goal. Many of the methods that Dator highlights were developed and campaigned contemporaneously with this era of the early ’90s, just going by first-publication dates. Dator highlights a creative’s (creative person’s) personality model, a group time-management device (De Bono Six Hats, compare with Roberts Rules of Order) and an idea amplification technique (the lateral thinking). With my visitor, we went over and over his concept trying to figure out what he meant. The sentence never varied “psychological methods …” I believe it wasn’t TRIZ (TIPS), which I expected he would be familiar with as it is a Russian invention. I was looking at champion-based technology strategy, and MITI-style organized markets (such was the fashion during the Clinton administration) and High Reliability Organization (HRO) theory. It was not any of those, definitely not. He was looking for something about working with & managing very large engineering teams on very large projects (think: a decade-long or generation-long weapons system build-out, the B-1 program, JSF F-22, THAAD or Trident; but we never used weapons as an example or such specifics). He spent his full year and petitioned to get another extension, but I don’t think we ever find a theory that aligned with what he was looking for. As such I’m always intrigued by these concepts of structured creativity towards large-scale program management. Many of the themes from the Peace Studies and Civil Rights activism organizational theories apply as they operate in multi-stakeholder environments with substantially voluntary participants in a Civil Society type of framework. There is a heavy sense of outreach, idea organization and structured foreclosing of debate. But “they rhyme” rather than being direct matches.

Perhaps these are related elsewhere in Dator’s writings. I haven’t gotten to “Advancing Futures” yet, maybe there. The Dator’s materials we’re working with appear to be courseware from his teaching days. If one runs down the references and ancillary reading there is a lot more there than meets the eye. It would be helpful if there was a collection & summarization of all of them.

Some hints on writing scenarios of preferred futures | Jim Dator

Jim Dator; Some hints on writing scenarios of preferred futures; On course materials, University of Hawaii; WHEN?; 2 pages ← somehints.

Mentions

  • not prediction
  • imagining
    the desired end state.
  • planning

Method

Identify factors

  1. Existing processes and systems
    moving in a helpful direction
    Action: maintain or amplify.
  2. Existing processes and systems
    blocking
    Action: overcome or marginalize.
  3. New processes and systems
    Action: develop

Construct a timeline

An appropriate interval
  • 20-50 years.
  • 30 years (is a happy medium)

Identify institutions & events

  1. Certainty
    e.g.

    • Astronomical; comets, eclipses
    • Social
      • 4-year cadence
        • elections
        • olympics
      • 2000 → Y2K
      • 1994 →Hong Kong
      • 1992 → Columbus (-bashing)
      • 1984 → Orwell
  2. Cycles
    e.g.

    • Kondratiev Long Waves
      will the Kondratiev Wave be rising or falling in at
    • Generational Cycles c.f. Strauss & Howe.
      What “generation” will be in power then?
  3. Technological developments
    1. Possibilities
      given current funding, trajectory, etc.
    2. Plausibilities
      given different funding, breakthrough surprises, etc.
    3. Unlikely
      because they are silly, e.g.

      1. The Singularity
      2. Becoming Infinite Immortal Spirit Beings of Light.
      3. Idle Licentiuous Joblessness within a Benevolent Universal Dole.
  4. Caused
    1. by the actors
    2. very few major
  5. Disallowed
    e.g.

    1. The Rapture, etc.
    2. The utopian science fiction scenarios.
    3. etc.

Stanford PDV 91 — How to Think Like a Futurist: Improve Your Powers of Imagination, Invention, and Capacity for Change

Signup

Syllabus

References

  • Kevin Kelly, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, ISBN:978-0143110378, paperback: 2017-06-06.
    Required.
  • Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken, ISBN:978-0143120612,
    Recommended.
  • Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities, ISBN 1608465764,
    Recommended.

First Assignment

<quote>A favorite saying of futurists is: “Get there early.” As futurists, we think about things long before they start to happen. Since our first class meeting is still in the future, this is the perfect opportunity for you to start getting there early.

Before our first class, please read the following two essays:

You’ll notice that our syllabus includes quotes throughout for inspiration and provocation. After you’ve read these two essays, please send me an email with the one sentence from each essay that stood out to you. (That is, please send Prof. McGonigal your favorite quote from each essay.) Prof. McGonigal will collect and share these on the course website. The email address is on The Internet.</quote>

Previously filled.

What Future Studies Is, And Is Not | Jim Dator

Jim Dator (U. Hawaii); What Future Studies Is, And Is Not; WHEN? 2 pages ← whatfuturestudiesis

Mentions

  • ideas about the future.
  • images about the future.
  • envisioning the futures
  • alternative futures.
  • several conflicting images at one time

Approach

  • as predictive science → fortune telling (ahem, shame on you)
  • as anticipation → as prudence & reasonableness.

Dator’s Laws of the Future

  1. “The future” cannot be “predicted” because “the future” does not exist.
    1. While “the future” cannot be “predicted,”
      yet “alternative futures” can and should be “forecast.”
    2. “The future” cannot be “predicted,”
      but “preferred futures” can and should be

      • envisioned,
      • invented,
      • implemented,
      • evaluated,
      • revised,
      • … and other verbs.
      • rinse & repeat.
    3. Futures Studies precedes, then linked to
      • Strategic Planning,
        and thence to
      • Administration (Execution).
  2. Any useful idea about the futures should appear to be ridiculous.
    1. Because new technologies permit new behaviors and values,
    2. “The most likely future” is often one of the least likely futures.
    3. To be useful, the theoretician’spractitioner’s ideas should expect to be ridiculed and the ideas rejected (initially).
    4. The practitioner must defend the implausible condepts proposed (that’s the job).
  3. “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.”

Methods & Frameworks

  • long wave (theory)
  • cyclical forces (theory)
  • generations (theory)
    the “generations” through their life cycles (age-cohort analysis)

Verbs

  • forecasting
  • envisioning
  • creating

but definitely not predicting

Quotes

  • “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us,” attributed to Marshall McLuhan.

Referenced

  • Wendell Bell, Foundations of Futures Studies. Transaction Publishers, 1997. Two Volumes.
    • Foundations of Futures Studies: Volume 1: History, Purposes, and Knowledge; Routledge; 2003-08-31; 404 pages; Amazon:0765805391: paper: $32+SHT.
    • Foundations of Futures Studies: Volume 2: Values, Objectivity, and the Good Society; Routledge; 2004-03-31; 404 pages; Amazon:0765805669: paper: $32+SHT.
  • Jim Dator, Advancing Futures: Futures Studies in Higher Education. Praeger, 2002-04-30; 408 pages; Amazon:0275976327: paper: $36+SHT.

Institutions