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At its very base, the future archive method works like this: you imagine you’re in a desirable future, and you’re remembering the present – as if it were the past.

the future archive method draws on various popular and radical workshopping methods and games as well as futurologistical exercises for imagining and predicting futures. as such it’s more of a toolbox of different modes of use than a rigid method, and takes on a slightly different form according to context. let’s say it’s a kind of methodology that relates to future imaginaries.

[DE] Travel to the future: do try it out!

A “future (archive) session” can consist in a conversation of a group of people, in a dialogue between two people or even in a monologue. it may involve props (special futuristic sunglasses, ribbons to delineate a future zone within the present, and many many other things) or not. it may take place in reference to a specific space or not (a room, a building, a park, a city). the conversation settings may be static (sitting/standing/lying) or mobile (a drift, an exploration, travels). it can be recorded (audio, video, writing..) or not. it can happen monolinguistically or not. it can be more or less strongly guided, involve exercises or not. there may be a clear facilitator or not.

Crucial to this methology is the format of the conversation (unless you wanna try it as monologue, but then you may consider it as a chat with yourself). it is the desirable futures of those in the conversation that are at stake. and it’s useful for there to be someone to begin by asking questions, and so to take a facilitating role at least initially – this person may then join to conversation with strong future visions or remain in a facilitating role.

The conversation happens in a desirable future. watch out: desirable may neither mean utopian nor dystopian. it may mean complex and interesting. you’re not imagining heaven nor hell, but a possible future you’d like to live in. before you begin the experiment, choose a date: if you go 10 years into the future, you can still discuss realistic change based on concrete processes. take 20 years ahead and it gets a bit more abstract, you’ll have more room for speculation. choose 30 or 40 years and you can go even more wild, but this may also turn frustrating with few concrete reference points. most of the conversations in this archive are stage some 15-20 years into the future.

The facilitator begins by saying: “so good to see you again! i remember we were here in autumn 2014 in fact [insert present date]. you still look the same, amazing. pleasure to be with you. [insert other jokes, trivia, references for warmup]. i’m a bit senile these days, memory is hard to hold on to. do you remember the world we were in when we came together here that time? what were you up to back then? do you remember what you cared and worried about?” with this, the floor is opened for memories.

People then answer and begin to remember. don’t fear silences. if some people don’t get to speak, make sure they do (speakers list or turns). people will follow their most realistic as well as most creative and obstruse imaginaries, ideas and fantasies here, let them go into those. the facilitator as well as others may find it useful to question people’s memories, asking things like “really, how was that exactly?”, to playfully provoke by saying “but i remember something quite different happened”, to ask for clarification “i don’t remember that word. what did it mean?” to propose things “ah but that’s so passé! luckily now we don’t do that anymore”, etc. discussion will ensue playfully. keep it open and respectful, let yourself try out different things.

If you wish to explore a very specific topic with this future conversation, and to reach a new stage in a collective or thinking process, then keep this in mind. it may be useful for a facilitator to help keep the conversation close to its subject in that case.

Keep going as long as you like – an hour is usually a good finishing point, in a bigger group you may want more time. give some time to debriefing and taking notes.

Interesting aspects to reflect on may include: utopian/dystopian tendencies ; the role of technology ; the role of language ; what things are we unable to imagine, what comes easily? ; how do we speak and relate to each other in the desirable future produced ; whose future did we imagine exactly ; how do the participants imagine their process of working/being together to develop (if they know eachother) ; what kinds of knowledges seem more or less legitimate in relation to the future produced ; what would it take to get to that future ; what can we do to get to that future ; etc.

[ES] Manual para establecer un proceso de proyección: el método del future archive

Duración de la propuesta: 60-90 minutos
Para dos o más personas

1.Elige una fecha en el futuro en que se emplazará la conversación. Una fecha bastante próxima permitirá una reflexión más orientada a procesos específicos que se conecten con el presente; una fecha mas lejana en el futuro permitirá una especulación mas abstracta. Se puede navegar entre fechas cercanas y lejanas, pero se recomienda establecer un punto de referencia general. Una fecha situada en torno a los 10 años funciona bien (por ejemplo si estamos en el 2009, podría ser el 2019).

2. La sesión se inicia con un ‘bienvenidos al futuro’ articulado por culaquiera de las personas presentes (pueden hacerlo todas). A partir de este momento, cada persona va a habitar su propio futuro deseable, que se presentará cómo si se estuviera recordando el pasado. Las y los participantes empiezan recordar cómo fue el año sobre el que se ha especulado, hablando siempre desde el futuro. Para dinamizar se pueden lanzar preguntas cómo: ‘Que bien de verte después de tanto tiempo – la ultima vez que nos hemos visto fue en el 2009 ¿no? Estoy intentando acordarme… ¿qué hacías tu entonces? ¿Dónde vivías? ¿Qué caracterizaba esa época? ¿Cómo te sentías? De esta manera se pondrá en marcha un proceso destinado a recordar el presente como pasado.

3.Desde aquí, la conversación se puede continuar usando diferentes temáticas, preguntas específicas, periodos o historias personales, o explorando de forma conjunta de todos estos niveles.

4. Una vez que se han descrito cambios históricos, se pueden buscar los procesos que las podrían haber facilitado. Se puede preguntar: ¿Pero te acuerdas cómo pasó esto? ¿Cuándo empezó este proceso? ¿Qué papel habéis jugado en todo este proceso? Esto facilita vislumbrar la manera en que las personas se implican en estos procesos, y se pueden pensar estrategias concretas para dinamizar estos cambios desde el presente.

5. Si los participantes tienen ideas discordantes o versiones opuestas del mismo evento, de cómo se va a cambiar o desarrollar un determinado ámbito o una cuestión determinada, puede ser útil intentar imaginar come se podrían amalgamar o mezclar los diferentes escenarios, negociando una visión que podría contener elementos de estas visiones distintas. Pero, en algunos casos, también podría ser mas interesante mantener los diferentes escenarios y explorar cada uno colectivamente.

6. Cuando una base de memoria o momento histórico esta establecida se puede viajar mas allá en el futuro, preguntando que cambios se han producido.

7. El proceso se termina según lo decidan los y las participantes. Si hay un motivo concreto para que la conversación sobre un asunto específico, o una pregunta concreta se desarrolle más o menos, siempre tendrá que ser consecuencia de una decisión de las y los participantes.

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