Salon 18 Informed Future

Humans have forever longed to envision the future—as a means of ensuring continuity, exercising control, turning chaos into order, finding meaning, and avoiding the acceptance of change as the only permanent state of being. Imagining, forecasting, telling, reading, watching, data mining and visualization, and predicting the future are, as ever, in tension with “making” the future. Today, personal and grassroots agency is often overshadowed by novel technological advancements that lead people to rely on experts and pundits, and to treat data as if it were superstition or religion.

Artists, designers, and writers, often practicing in close collaboration with scientists, offer speculations and critical guidance. In this salon, we discussed intuition, speculation, and far-sightedness; the role of art, literature, and design in the construction of the future; the different depths of field provided by different future-investigation tools; and much more. Occurring almost a decade after MoMA first brought digital data visualization into its collection—and one day before a US general election that has flooded our lives with polls and diagrams reflecting our tribulations about the possible futures ahead—the salon is perfectly poised to probe our deepest hopes and fears.

The salon took place on November 7th, 2016.


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