Note — Aug 16, 2020

Introduction to Assemblage Space

Seen in → No.137

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Smithery — Not able to teach his regular summer school in Barcelona, John V Willshire reviews some of the practices used through the years teaching with Scott Smith and presents one of them, the Assemblage Space. An insightful rethinking of the futures cone, created so participants don’t box themselves in, trying to “complete” the cone, which also includes a way to think about the lived experience of the past, using tangible, intangible, remembered, and forgotten things. The piece also includes a recorded audio track with slides, the lovely expression “information as illumination” and describes forecasting as “not seeking one certain future, but learning from many possible ones.”

You should fight against the trend of making lovely, designed versions of the Futures Cone with gradients, different coloured cones and so on; though they are perhaps logical in the act of making a nice presentation, they are not helpful for you in the practical application for the method. […]

“Assemblage theory provides a bottom-up framework for analyzing social complexity by emphasizing fluidity, exchangeability, and multiple functionalities through entities and their connectivity.” […]

Even if the idea they pull in is seemingly from their own head, not based on research at all, the world around them, and their experience so far, has led them to that point. […]

These four things (Tangible/Intangible/Remembered/Forgotten) seem so far to be a useful way to start unpicking the “where did that come from?” question, and naturally help people focus even the most flippant futuristic notion in some vestiges of evidence from the past.