Note — Nov 08, 2020

Experiments in Feral Futuring

“Gah!! I missed this during my Twitter break 😭” was my first reaction at reading this account by Anab Jain and Alex Taylor of a series of zoom sessions held starting in March. They ended up calling these “feral futuring” and recount some of the insights the participants shared, how these simple discussions with no specifically organized practices or tools ended up being quite valuable, and how they found solace and ways of interpreting their locked-down present through these discussions.

I had saved the preceding Lebanon piece and this one in my newsletter folder during the week, without reading them. It’s quite the synchronicity to then read both of them one after the other, so similar are the conclusions and benefits of the two projects.

Often it is the “futurist” who takes on the enviable job of extrapolating trends and projecting them into our future worlds. Yet it now seems that many more, globally, are dreaming and imagining about entangled futures. This is a stay-at-home futuring, a common world-making, an impulsive response to the collective and contemporaneous forces shaping our world. […]

These sessions created an opportunity for strangers to collectively hold space for each other’s imaginations without a specific agenda or goal. A space where, for brief periods of time, we could encourage each other to let our minds wander, to challenge, question, and reflect on what other, different worlds could feel like. […]

Feral futures make room for futuring, but not just from the studios and laboratories of creative actors or articulate academics. Instead, feral futures allows futuring in and through other lives—in the banal and unruly moments that are too often cast aside, because they cannot, will not, add up to what comes next. […]

[W]e seek to ask more of futures—not just ask how human visions of domesticated futures are overrun by the unruliness of nonhumans. We seek a new way of thinking about the future, one that recognizes the uncertainties and that operates at the limits of what can be told.