Note — Feb 14, 2021

Protopia Futures

In this outtake from Scenario magazine, an interview with futurist and futures designer Monika Bielskyte to explore her work and thinking on Protopia futures, “a continuous proactive prototyping of possible futures.” One thing which always draws me into her work is that she starts from (or that’s what it looks like from the outside anyway) from a very broad multi-cultural outlook on the past and present, and displays her work very visually, which stands out from the more analytical and often text-based work of most futurists. To really summarize her work and the interview; neither dystopias nor utopias are really desirable or inclusive enough, protopic futures are closer in time, constantly prototyped, evolving, generative, very de-colonized and multi-cultural, include and take inspiration form the biological, and aim to evolve solutions, not simply dreaming out loud.

Protopia Futures is a continuous proactive prototyping of possible futures, and one that pushes back on restrictive narratives of futures imagined by a privileged group of people. […]

“I am continuously dismayed when I read futures reports that keep centring white, Western, upper-middle-class, heteronormative and abled perspectives, and thereby erase the reality of the majority of the world’s population,” she says. What we need, then, is a change of perspective so that we are able to imagine our future differently. […]

And that makes it even more urgent to centre those who could be most directly harmed by any future developments, instead of those who would be the key beneficiaries. […]

It is a proposal that tries to eschew our current cultural imagination of the future and scrutinize and challenge the role of technology. Instead of being used for warfare and surveillance, technology becomes an extension of biology, enhancing human and ‘more than human’ relations and supporting creative expression.