During the XI Hemispheric International Encounter, ‘A World Upside Down: Humor, Noise, and Performance,’ organized by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University in Mexico City, the Hemispheric research group ‘Play, Celebration, and Power’ proposed an ‘experiential scenario’ as a way to merge the festive and fragmented experience of the future with ironic-theoretical reflection.
Comprising 11 artists from Mexico, Colombia, the United States, Japan, and Spain, the group envisioned and executed a performative action at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The action aimed to address climate change and the impending global water crisis by creating a fictional company that collects water from human sweat. This unconventional approach involved using UNAM’s internal transportation service, the ‘pumabus,’ as a time machine to transport participants to the 2040s, celebrating the 20th-anniversary of ‘Water of the Future.’
‘Water of the Future’ was a participatory research-action project focusing on the future. While each participant envisioned the future differently, the results were remarkably common. It was also a project centered on celebrations, creating a collective and community grammar that could articulate political projects, poetic projects, and social activism. The future conceived in this project originated from a Western perspective, considering it a predictable, regular, and evolutionary part of a linear timeline, consisting of the past, present, and future.
Immersive theater played a pivotal role in the workshop, with a focus on the post-experience reflection. The continuum of human experience bridged the gap between abstract notions of possible futures and the ways in which life is perceived, felt, integrated, and embodied in the present.
The Experiential Future Scenarios (EFS) methodology, combining futures foresight and design tools, offers a way to create immersive scenarios of future experiences. These scenarios aim to make the future tangible in the present, bridging the gap between abstract notions of possible futures and everyday life.
Stuart Candy and Jake Dunagan’s research on experiential scenarios and design fictions further supported the development of ‘Water of the Future.’ Their work, as exemplified by the project ‘The People Who Vanished,’ created an archaeological moment to address critical community problems and sustainability, rather than constructing a future scenario from scratch.
In summary, the workshop aims to create a space for participants to transition from mere ‘spectators’ to ‘participants.’ It encourages them to become creators and builders of emancipatory futures by actively engaging with and imagining alternative scenarios for the future. The workshop blends diverse artistic and academic perspectives to explore the dynamic and multi-faceted nature of the future and its impact on society and the world.
WORK GROUP PRESENTATION
10:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m. / 10H—12H
Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso
- Practice Inside Out: Fiesta, Laughter, and Performance
Speakers: Laura G. Gutiérrez, Alex de las Heras, Pablo Assumpção, Javiera Nuñez Alvarez, Cristina Morales Saro
Moderator: Sebastián Calderón Bentín