A Sensible Future / by Jake Dunagan

A Sensible Future

In Futures Work, our core research materials are images of the future. Metaphors of the future tend to be dominated by the eye and the sense of vision. In science fiction, futures tend toward ocularcentrism. We “envision” the future in terms of what we can see.

The reason why I chose the works in this set is because they engage senses other than sight. In essence, they make other futures “sensible.” How do we, as futurist Stuart Candy asks, bridge the experiential gulf between the lived present and the abstract future? If it is something abstract, how do you make it or how do you feel it in some way? I want to find out what it feels like to live in future worlds—with all my senses.

The works chosen here reflect this attention to non-visual senses. The sense of touch is represented in Susanna Hertrich’s Prostheses for Instinct, which is trying to create a new understanding of the relationship between our technologically augmented bodies and the world around us. Taste is represented by Plastic Century, which reports on the plastic pollution in our oceans and touches on biodiversity, climate change, over-fishing, over-farming, and over-consumption. Sound dominates in The Very Loud Chamber Orchestra of Endangered Species, while smell is encountered in Ghost Food. Here, both of these works deal with mass extinction and the aura of loss.

Click on the link above to see more commentary on each piece.