Here you can find a list with some examples of how we have used the future archive method and platform for facilitating collective processes, making radio shows, doing consultancy-style institutional analysis, researching specific issues, etc. This list does not include one-off radio shows, workshops, writings and exhibition participations, nor spin-off projects that use this method – there is a considerable number of all these. See bottom of this page for some such instances.

2010-2013 /////////////////// Manuela Zechner

Care networks, collective processes (Phd research)

How do we imagine and project the future of the networks that sustain our everyday life and practices (political, cultural, etc.)? In the context of growing precarity and decomposition of social rights and welfare, how do we deal with the insecurity that our future embodies? Within creative and caring collective processes and social movements, what capacities do we have to imagine sustainable ways of collaborating, co-inhabiting, supporting eachother? What can the perspective of care bring to social movements and theories previously focussed around the image of fast-chaning networks, relations of opportunism, flexibility, precarity, of creativity and spontaneity?

These are some of the questions that underpin my research in the framework of my writings on collective processes between creativity and care (via a Phd at the Business and Drama Departments at Queen Mary University London). To engage these questions beyond (as well as within) a doctoral project embedded in and inevitably limited by the grave-like neoliberal university, I attempt to build and make accessible research materials beyond a thesis that no one will ever read – for instance here. This research is focused around Spain and the UK.

Some links:

  • Subjectivity and Collectivity: problems of relation: text, Manuela Zechner, in: Cadernos da Subjetividade, PUC/Sao Paolo. Here’s a rejigged text touching upon care and creativity.
  • Un futuro de cuidadoa beautiful video that the Noticiero Intercultural made concerning the future of care, imagining a strike of care workers.

2010 //////////// Anja Kanngieser, Manuela Zechner

Shanghai futures

shanghai badmintonIn July 2010, we initiated a series of conversations with young workers, students and interns in Shanghai. At that time the city was in the midst of hosting a World Expo. After the event we wrote our collaborative reflections on questions asked about desires, possible futures, labour conditions, bodies, psyches and mobilities. These conversations were always infused by a backdrop of Shanghai’s LED dreams of becoming a world city of urban sustainability, a thread that runs through all of what follows. This work was carried out as part of the transit labour project. http://www.transitlabour.asia

body-mapShanghai-collectivity-conviviality_graph-small2Aside from doing future archive interviews, we worked with a series of mappings – of the way young creative workers used time, space, of the effects of work on the body and relationships.




You can see some of these maps here http://www.transitlabour.asia/blogs/Mapping_Shanghai

And we wrote a text, which constitutes a reflection on our conversations and experiences in Shanghai, published in an abridged version in the transit labour digest no.2. and available in full here.

You can find extracts from two of our future archive interviews here

shanghai expo 2010There’s a video interview with us here Interview with Anja K and Manuela Z

And a text that Anja wrote: Expo: the Future is LED? by Anja Kanngieser 

2009 ///////////// Valeria Graziano, Manuela Zechner

Procesos de Archivo

intermediae workshopFuture Archive propone un taller en Intermediae, organizado por Manuela Zechner y Valeria Graziano para crear un archivo a partir de las experiencias acontecidas hasta el momento dentro del marco de Intermediae, incluyendo a aquellos que hayan estado vinculados a ellas de forma directa o indirectamente: colaboradores, artistas, públicos, asociaciones, colectivos, el equipo del propio centro, otros espacios de creación… A través de conversaciones bajo formatos experimentales y dialógicos se tratará de recoger, descifrar y entender los deseos y relaciones puestas en juego por todas las partes. Se trata de rescatar experiencias pasadas y presentes como material a partir del cual negociar e imaginar posibles formas de futuro.

DSC01962Future Archive es un proyecto que se aproxima a una serie de respuestas al problema de cómo plantear distintos futuros. Recoge conversaciones basadas en posibles tiempos y espacios por venir, propuestas en las cuales dos o más personas habitan performáticamente versiones del futuro. Desde ahí, la sociedad contemporánea es recordada. Sobre cada conversación se negocia un futuro diferente a través de un método discursivo que toma prestado metodologías de la investigación militante y la pedagogía radical, así como de técnicas de entrevista y diálogo.

criteriaTratando de ofrecer espacios para desarrollar cuidadosamente vocabularios y gestos que puedan señalar potenciales maneras de pensar, actuar y existir, Future Archive implica la articulación de esperanzas y deseos para futuros modos de coexistencia, negociando el espacio entre un presente recordado y un futuro potencial, así como haciendo frente a las problemáticas de las propuestas y los imaginarios actuales.

En cooperacion con Intermediae / Madrid, Es: aqui esta la pagina del Proyecto.

2008 ///////////////////// Manuela Zechner, Valeria Graziano

futuros cubanos

zona futurea: san agustinInvitadas por el Laboratorio Artistico de San Agustin, por ocasion de la decima Bienal de La Habana, Valeria Graziano y Manuela Zechner se fuen a Cuba para hacer unas archeologias de futuros locales. A partir de 19 intervistas con gente del barrio de San Agustin se producieron cuatro emisiones de radio, emisados por el radio cultural cubano (CMBF). 

Invited by the artistic laboratory of San Agustin, at the occasion of the tenth Biennal of Havana,Valeria Graziano and Manuela Zechner went to Cuba to be archeologists of local futures there. Based on 19 interviews with inhabitants of San Agustin, they made four radio shows which were broadcast on the Cuban cultural radio (CMBF). 

en la zona futura

This project formed part of the ‘public essays/attempts’ of the laboratory in San Agustin. In collaboration with Laboratorio Artistico de San Agustin, La Havana, Cuba.Este proyecto fue parte de los ‘ensayos publicos’ del Laboratorio de San Agustin.




2007 /////////////// Manuela Zechner, Anja Kanngieser

The articulation of resistance: activism and activist speech practices

How do some of the different modes of rhetoric, apparent in contemporary political artist and activist circles, translate into action? How do different political artists, activists and collectives utilize speech and language in the construction of their identity and belief systems? What are some of the effects of particular speech taxonomies upon how political artists and activists view their activity and the activity of others? What are the benefits of examining speech in the political artist and activist context: i.e. how much does speech effect action? When does speech become a speech act? How can examining speech and its impacts upon action help investigations on new and inventive modes of artistic and political praxis?

cropped-blockade-2-5.jpgThese questions will be conducted through a methodology developed in the Future Archive project, in which discursive techniques are used in order to extend divergent “activist” discourses into a future by constructing “fictive” conversations, whereby people come to inhabit self-imagined spaces of futurity. These conversations act as starting points for various modes of enquiry into the use of artistic and activist vocabularies. An example might be; via a conversation in a proposed future where nation states are a phenomenon of the past, the concept of the border becomes subject to critical examination and a certain shift of its use in a discourse is proposed. For instance, what kinds of borders might a post-national world have? What can we see happening to the more abstract notion of border?

in was fuer einer welt wirst du leben?In line with this methodology, the work undertaken in the proposed project aims to tie together activist speech, rhetoric and practices, in which imaginings of the future are constructed as a methodological tool to expose and analyze the relations and disjunctions that occur in such processes. Like the aim of the wider Future Archive, this process may become useful to deconstruct and transform popular discourses in order to explore how these can come to function in present and future relational artistic, social and political contexts.  The project aims to research, generate and share tools for developing performative and transformative ways of thinking and speaking, that can assist in the creation of spaces in which exchange and debate can occur on issues produced in and by conditions of late capitalist society. Influenced by an acute awareness of increasing social, ecological and economic crisis, and in affinity with critical and theoretical investigations on the intersections between aesthetics and politics, the project aims to interrogate the traversals between language and socio-political change.

2007 //////////////// Manuela Zechner and many contributors

playback, playforward

This is a newspaper publication concerned with projects and practices that work in arts, activist, and educational contexts. It brings together texts, methodology outlines and interviews, aiming to offer a modest but detailed topology of people and strategies that work upon the dialogic, questions around social and political change, open source and collaboration. Self-published with th support of Medienkunstverein Unna, September 2007

With contributions by: Anja Kanngieser, Rozalinda Borcila, Valie Djordjevic, Grim Svingen, Neil Cummings, BLW, Critical Practice, Everybodys, Collide/Collabo, Paz Rojo, and Manuela Zechner (editor).

All open content, you can DOWNLOAD it here http://www.archive.org/details/PlaybackPlayforward_pdf  To request a print copy, get in touch with Manuela.

Here’s an excerpt form the editorial:


One day, some of the futures of today will have been presents (and then pasts). Others won’t. This is hardly news. But what kind of apparatus is “future”? It carries many things; promise, determination, hope, imagination, anticipation – or a present. Many a newspaper holds many of those together. This here looks a bit like a newspaper. An analogue device that can be useful to play forward, play back or pause some ideas.

This is a publication that aims to draw together some questions, methods and projects addressing organizational, learning and semantic practices as of 2007. In an attempt to remember certain of our ambitions of the time, this newspaper aims to draw out some of their problems, possibilities and consequences- it has been edited by Manuela Zechner and refers to persons and undertakings that can be said to connect in the first place with the contexts of art, open source, activism and education.

In this extensive playing field, there are many projects that have struck me as interesting and which I hope to open out and interrogate in different formats here: Self-organized and open collaborative assemblies, temporary self- inaugurated gatherings in educational, arts and activist contexts. At the same time, this publication will have offered an opportunity to look closer at individual practices (as of 2007) and the strategies, wishes and ideas invested in them, their states of discourse and
visibility- this happens via texts, transcripts of interview from the future archive project (which holds as a frame for this newspaper), as well as via presentations of methodologies.

playback,playforwardMy intention here, as with the future archive, is to draw together and open out a topology of divergent practices in relation to their political stakes, the ideas for change and movement that people invest in them, through looking at the language, organizational forms and contexts they operate with(in). Apologies if much of this seems outdated, admittedly most of the content of this newspaper is from 2007. This was however a conscious selection made by the editor- to suggest possibilities for back projection as well as for leaning forward perhaps. However while giving points of approach, this publication is not made to tell or determine what the old days were or became, but perhaps to look at some ways of using this “future” apparatus. The views expressed here are impartial and stem from experience as much as research and discussion: any resemblance between places or characters dead or living could be fictional.

Expanded list of initiatives


to be updated, see above.


  1. future session at MyCreativity workshop, wintercamp, amsterdam, march 2009
  2. future radio shows, residency project at LASA in LaHabana, Cuba, in collaboration with Valeria Graziano, as part of the LaHabana Biennal, march 2009


  1. may: future session around cultural work, at workshop with the committee for radical diplomacy, as part of ‘temporary agency’ show, chelsea space, london
  2. oct: interview on the future archive project and method, edited by Carla Bottiglieri, published in italian performing arts magazine Art’o
  3. nov: group session suring workshop around conflict, MA choreography, university college of dance in stockholm
  4. nov: future archive workshop at université paris 8, as part of the body-image seminar, performance studies department
  5. various other small group sessions


  1. june 13; project presentation on how to perform futures at QUORUM, Drama and Performance studies Research Forum, Queen Mary University, London
  2. june 27th (presentation at Chelsea College London), june 23-30 (development and writing) of G8 and education summit material, London (Anja Kanngieser, Manuela Zechner)
  3. june 1-7 ; research phase with interviews at G8, heiligendamm, germany; on activism and speech praxis (Anja Kanngieser, Manuela Zechner); local and web boradcast of interviews via kein.tv
  4. june: publication of future archive materials in Critical Practice Vol.1, London
  5. may 24-28; presentation and interstitial interviews on relations between eduaction, activism and art at Summit of non-aligned initiatives in education culture (Manuela Zechner/ Anja Kanngieser)
  6. may 21-22; future envisaging sessions and project presentation, at media space Unna (MKRU), Germany (Manuela Zechner)
  7. may 11- 15; research and conversation lab at “No Artist is an Island” project space (Cinzia Cremona, Manuela Zechner) at the Artillery, London (11th may 11am- futures envisaging workshop; 13th may 3pm- open conversation on futures of critical art practices)
  8. may 29- june 3; exhibition at Changing Room Gallery, London
  9. April 19, 12.30pm; discussion on “research; remembering theory/practice”, at Future Reflections conference, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London
  10. conversation lab and screening/presentation at spend-it festival, Brussels, 15-17 April 2007
  11. august 1-12: Performing Arts Forum, Reims, France; Summer University; presentation, research and interview period around themes of self- organization
  12. 22 september- mid-october: installation in exhibition at Steirischer Herbst festival, Graz, Austria
  13. October: forthcoming publication around future archive
  14. October: article in etcetera performing arts magazine


  1. display of the future archive at graz university, austria – kunst am campus , nov, dec, jan 2006/07
  2. presentation at performing arts forum reims, france, dec 2006
  3. radio shows on radio helsinki, graz (see front page, or helsinki webstream), nov+ dec 2006
  4. discussion-event at brighton university, critical fine art practice department, nov 2006
  5. presentation of project at “diasporic futures” conference, victoria and albert museum london, june 2006
  6. presentation of interviews during chelsea college degree show, june 2006
  7. presentation of project at “diasporic futures” conference, victoria and albert museum london, june 2006

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