The first part of the speculative exploration consisted of writing and telling a compelling story that captures the reader, so that they can imagine themselves in this future. This story has laid the foundation for my further proceeding. To bring this speculative future to life, make it tangible and experiential, I created, built and painted a prototype from various recycled and waste materials. In the following step, I designed and printed a travel kit for the visitors of Symbiocity. A city exploration guide, that navigates you through Symbiocity, a postcard that carries a Manifesto, Bird's Eye Glasses for the Cinema, a dictionary for the Language of Change, and a Pollinator's Paradise seed mix as a souvenir.
Scroll down to dive into a future beyond humanity.
Welcome to Symbiocity
We are slowly transitioning into a new era, an era beyond humanity.
But what can we expect in this new, more than human lifeworld? How can we find our way through these complex, tentacular entanglements of humans, nature, and technology? How can we leave human hubris behind and become kin with our fellow earthlings?
As an agent of change, I’m here to open up possible worlds and new narratives. So how about we take a little trip to the future, to a far-away place built on more-than-human values, a place for all earthlings alike. A symbolic and hypothetical city where all matter, species, and environments can prosper with resilience, adaptation, and hope.
I will be your travel agent, your guide, your middleman between the “now” and the “next to come”. Today, I will navigate you through a possible more than human future.
You might know the language and the vocabulary, but in the future, the words you once knew now inhabit new meanings to create a unifying Language of Change. To make it easier for you to understand this language, I included a dictionary in your travel kit.
Because time is a little short, we will take a quick dérive across the main plaza, called the Plaza of Paradigm Shift, where the Statue of Resurgence rises high to the sky. Here each year, on the 22nd of April, the celebration of "Interdependence Day" is taking place. So make sure you're staying for the multi-species party.
Our first stop is the Pollinator's Paradise. The park was designed, planted, and optimized for pollinators – rather than human beings – using an AI algorithm and a curated palette of plants. Beforehand, the seeds are carefully created in our local lab by extracting DNA from extinct flowers and cross-merging them with our novel specimen. You are invited to linger and enjoy the scent of spring blossom while listening to the song of the humming earthlings.
Next up, we are passing by the Bird's Eye Cinema. A cinema designed specifically for our feathery companions. Did you know that they can see a whole range of colors that we can't see – colors that are unimaginable to us? So, if you want to enjoy a movie here later, make sure you put on the bird's view glasses to enjoy the film in full-color range. The glasses are available at the Souvenir Shop.
At Fermentation Station, our city's community center, you may take a course in caring for, crafting with, and communicating with microorganisms. Interspecies collaboration is the pillar of our community as it creates conditions for continuous change and long-lasting transformation. Without microorganisms, there wouldn't be life. So, please be respectful towards our little micro mates.
Let's take a look into the Church of New Animism, a religious movement that believes in the spiritual power of all living beings and inanimate things. Here, all earthlings cultivate respectful relationships with other persons, whether human or non-human, planetary or cosmic. New ceremonies and rituals emphasize human and non-human relationships. We take great pride in our peaceful co-existence and celebrate our ecological interdependence.
We are now passing our local museum. Let me ask you, what would be a future without a past, a tomorrow without a yesterday, a prospective without retrospective? Remnants of the Anthropocene is a permanent exhibition in our local museum to honor and keep history alive. It inhabits a valuable collection of our antecedents. Relics that have shaped and designed an entire era – the Anthropocene.
But before we travel back home, why don't you take a little time for regeneration and take a relaxing stroll through the Forest of Hope, a forest flourishing on the remains of the Anthropocene, fertilized by the ashes of human hubris and grown by an assemblage of resilient species.
Or listen to the calming sounds of the waves and take a deep dive into the Sea of Imagination, where new underwater communities are continuously forming and anthropogenic structures are reclaimed by multiple novel aquatic species. Discover an array of ecosystems, each unique in their composition and identity, interconnected and entangled with each other and our life on land.
Last but not least, we enter the Souvenir Shop of Artefacts. Take some time to browse through our souvenir shop if you want to take home a reminder of our quick journey to a more than human future. We have postcards you can send to your families, samples of the Pollinator's Paradise mix, and bird's view glasses for you to experience colors beyond human imagination. Pick your favorite.
References and Inspiration:
Superflux: Refuge for Resurgence; Daisy Ginsberg: The Pollinator Commission; Daisy Ginsberg: Resurrecting the Sublime; Thomas Pausz: Non Flowers; Sir David Attenborough: Life in Colour; Juliana Schneider: GrowPak; Aga Pokrywka: Ferment Radio; Superflux: Invocation for Hope; Isabel Beavers: Nocturne; Xandra van der Eijk: Ghost Reef
Research, Concept, Writing, Design, Print: Juliana Schneider
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Artikel für swissfuture – Magazin für Zukünfte
GrowPak – A step towards closing the loop
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Welcome to New Intimacity
Seaweed as a sustainable source of bioplastics