Speculative design workshop – “Alternative present”
Arts Academy, University of Split | 23 – 28 March

Atelier 1

The world will end completely

At some point in the distant future the world will end completely. Relatively recently science has given us a definitive number – approximately 5 billion years from now, the sun will expand into our orbit and the world will end (Schröder and Smith 2008).

Before that, we will change it beyond recognition: we will encounter a number of ice ages and massive changes to our climate, population, eco-systems, political systems etc. that may well signal the end of the world as we know it. The term Anthropocene was coined to describe the current epoch, beginning when humans began to make a significant impact on the earth’s eco systems. Though the date that the anthropocene started is still being debated, we are now in this epoch and have been for several years (Morton 2013). The tools that have been made for us to make changes to our planet have been designed and made, these tools have become enablers to grow populations, extract energy, travel, spread disease, industrialise farming etc.

People imagine different ends of the world

Global warming, nuclear holocaust, world wars, meteor strikes, ice-age, tidal waves, earthquakes, floods, being over-run by zombies or animals, financial collapse, revolution, genetically modified crops, or bio-engineered disease, famine, artificial intelligence and so on.

People are also planning for and designing for the threat of the end of the world. Corporations and governments plan for various end of the world scenarios: insurance companies speculate on disasters from ecological to meteoritic, aiming to make profit from these disasters. Others look to the end of the world as an exercise in utopianism, where new, better, fairer futures can be imagined.

As designers we will be instrumental in imagining and making what might be beyond the apocalypse. The brief is to imagine end of the world scenarios and use them to create new futures after an apocalyptic event. In doing this we’re going to look at the current dialogues, studies and statistics around disaster to imagine what the apocalypse might be, turning these apocalypses into fictions.

We’ll use the event of an apocalypse as a framework to build new worlds and design for post-catastrophic events. We will then design for a speculative future positioned after the apocalypse you have designed.


Liam Healy
University Goldsmiths, London
Pika Novak
Institute for Transmedia Design, Ljubljana

Atelier 2

[ __________ ] Labour

Labour: productive activity, especially for the sake of economic gain
Labour: Work, especially hard physical work (Oxford Dictionaries)

This workshop aims to decode the transformation of labour processes as a global phenomenon of the last decade. The advance in the development of digital systems and interactions has become a catalyst for this change. But apart from the emerging working models that we all embrace (working remotely, collaborating, being autonomous, etc), there are activities carried out that challenge our perception of labour. The fine line between leisure activities and work has made it possible to constantly fuel economy without even being aware of it.

We will begin the workshop with a quick reference to indirect labour tasks that we perform, especially through our participation in the online realm.From recaptcha and the Amazon Mechanical Turk, to participation in research, we will look at the overlapping activities of life and work. The aim is to reconsider the laboring body and think about the social implications of new technologies.

For this workshop you will have to decode and simplify this model, bring it to an everyday level and invent a process to engage people in public with labour activities, blurring the boundaries between work and entertainment and achieving production of some sort.


Dionysia Mylonaki
Royal College of Art, London
Oleg Suran
New media design / University of Split