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  • Imagining Optimistic Futures: The Power of 8

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    The future is a date, but it’s also a story about our lives today.

    Recently, the near-collapse of financial systems, looming fears of climate change, and continuing ‘wars on terror’, have reinforced predictions of an apocalyptic future, that have long been a part of science fiction. But where do our individual aspirations of ‘a better life’ collide with these dark futures?

    From this question came ‘The Power of 8’. Following a video appeal, designer Anab Jain assembled a heist-like cast that included a biotechnologist, a policy advisor, a permaculturalist, an educator, a retired civil servant, an urban designer and an architect. To imagine optimistic, collective expressions of our futures, today.

    The future is a date, but it’s also a story about our lives today.

    Recently, the near-collapse of financial systems, looming fears of climate change, and continuing ‘wars on terror’, have reinforced predictions of an apocalyptic future, that have long been a part of science fiction. But where do our individual aspirations of ‘a better life’ collide with these dark futures?

    From this question came ‘The Power of 8’. Following a video appeal, designer Anab Jain assembled a heist-like cast that included a biotechnologist, a policy advisor, a permaculturalist, an educator, a retired civil servant, an urban designer and an architect. To imagine optimistic, collective expressions of our futures, today.

    A series of public engagement efforts brought to the forefront concerns around climate change alongside a deep-seated nostalgia for a ‘green’ world. Buried amidst this, the group sensed a hope that ‘fantastic technological innovations might still triumph and save us from doom’. So they created an alternate ecosystem of the future called ‘Acres Green’, where people balance a pragmatic requirement to live closer to nature with their natural human impulses to subvert and control it. Prototypes, films and installations illustrate this ambiguity between the natural and the technological: Prosthetic trees bear multiple fruits, synthetic pollinating creatures called the ‘Beamer Bees’ live in harmony with radiowaves, and robotic flocking clouds create microclimates, bringing rains to specific areas.

    The project has produced one vision of many possible futures, hoping to exemplify an inclusive approach to the development of our shared future, lives and environment.

    To read about the project visit: http://powerof8.org.uk

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