Prototyping Futures / Occupying the Present is a three-day conference with workshops initiated by the Piet Zwart Institute. The event gathers scholars from diverse disciplines to explore strategies of resistance, intervention, and critical production in response to the crises of the present. Rather than foregrounding critique, the focus will be on experimental practices that work towards the production of alternative narratives and the imagination of different futures. The term “media” is at the center of the symposium’s conceptual frame and is interpreted in its broadest sense so as to encompass a variety of methodologies and approaches that materialize ideas through technological, spatial, ephemeral, and poetic forms.
Key to the event is the notion and ethos of prototyping. Used in fields such as architecture, software programming, and design, the word has a range of meanings from simple working models to developmental processes. The prototype–in its etymological and theoretical senses–is an original form, an archetype. But it is also–in the applied fields of software development, design and architecture–the alpha version, made to test a concept and with the expectation of flaws, bugs, kinks, and failures. Rather than hammering down prototyping to a single definition, this symposium seeks to embrace its tentative, iterative, and speculative qualities, with the aim of promoting interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration.
The conference will also be a participatory occasion through which to launch an alternative to the traditionally edited essay collection. Working with Active Archives and other multimedia, our aim is to create an online publication that documents and reflects upon the various issues raised. Here you can find more information and view the entire program.