About Future Technology Products

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uture Technology Products imagines inclusive futures through the creation of artworks as “products” inspired by diverse voices in science fiction. Artists and technologists are invited to critically engage with ethical and political questions raised in diverse sci-fi through the hands-on creation of technologies within these texts. The site currently features a collection of three objects from its premier project Digital Alchemy by Mirabelle Jones: More of What You Want (The Influencisizer) inspired by “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” by James Tiptree Jr., e-Protea inspired by “From the Lost Diary of Treefrog7” by Nnedi Okorafor, and It’s Time We Talked (Quantum Crystal Communicators) inspired by “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom” by Ted Chiang. These objects explore and extend ethical themes raised by the texts including surveillance, data mining, gaze tracking, biofeedback, sustainable technology (e-waste) and deep fake technology.

Whose Future Is This?

There has been a long and rich history between science fiction and the development of new technologies. From virtual reality to teleconferencing, science fiction has left its ongoing influence on our present day device-driven world. But technologies are not neutral: they are imbued with the values of their creators. What are the implications, then, if many of the works of sci-fi which we see attributed to modern technologies were penned by authors of the same gender, sexual orientation, and race? What are the implications if the same dominant voices are overwhelmingly centered in the design and development of new technology products? Who gets a voice in creating the future and who gets excluded?

Critical Engagement Through Making

Future Technology Products addresses the existing inequalities embedded in technologies by exploring diverse alternatives through hands-on inquiry. By engaging with speculative works written by a diverse body of authors including women, LGBQTQAI* folx, and people of color, we engage with questions pertinent to realizing diverse futures found within these works including questions which may have been historically underrepresented in industrial design and development practices. Situated at the intersection of speculative design, educational activism, science fiction, and HCI, the project seeks to assist artists in embedding questions found within these literary works into artworks in the form of interactive prototypes. The resulting installations and sculptures provide for hands-on critical engagement with ethical and political concerns raised by the texts while inviting public engagement through physical and virtual exhibitions and educational opportunities.

Education as Activism

In addition to exhibiting artworks with supportive documentation, this site offers a calendar of free ongoing workshops and a library of open source beginner-friendly tutorials that describe the making process. These educational tools seek to address the lack of comprehensive public knowledge around technologies which are increasingly present in our lives though less frequently understood. Workshops are offered in collaboration with local arts institutions such as Catch: Center for Art, Design, and Technology Education and research entities such as Artsformation. These workshops combine discussion with skill-building exercises to address contemporary ethical issues in technology through tangible explorations and knowledge sharing.

Project Origins

The project was started in Fall 2020 by artist and AI Ethics PhD researcher Mirabelle Jones through an artist’s residency at Catch supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union in a collaboration with the Feral Labs Network. The resulting exhibition Digital Alchemy has been closed due to COVID-19 for its duration with exception to the exhibition’s opening presentation. FutureTechnologyProducts.com provides an opportunity to visit the exhibition Digital Alchemy online while extending the conversations and questions raised in the exhibition and inviting artists from around the world to participate.

Collaborators Wanted

The platform is open to all artists, makers, scientists, writers and creators who seek to explore questions proposed by diverse works of science fiction through a process of making as thinking and technological art as activism. Please get in touch if you are interested in contributing.

Gallery of Works

Works inspired by diverse voices in science fiction.

Digital Alchemy Workshop Series

The Digital Alchemy Workshop Series extends the questions, hands-on making as thinking, and speculative design inherent in the physical exhibition Future Technology Products through an ongoing series of free-to-the-public web-based workshops. You can review the past sessions below as well as workshop materials. The Digital Alchemy Workshop Series is a collaboration between Mirabelle Jones, Catch: Center for Art, Design, and Technology Education, and Artsformation. To stay updated on future workshops, please visit Catch.dk. Workshop 1: The Future Gallery Text – What would it be like to step inside the art gallery of the future? What kinds of art objects, materials, technologies, themes and aesthetics can we expect to find there? What would the exhibition wall text, catalogue and other written materials in the exhibition be like? How does the way the exhibition is presented to us reflect the values of this future society? In this design fiction / speculative writing workshop, we will take a deep dive into the language of art. We will begin by having a look at present day practices, investigating the language artists and curators use when discussing, describing, and evaluating works of art. We will put our knowledge into creative action by speculating about future exhibitions. In the end, we will each create our own exhibition text for an art exhibition of the future. No materials are necessary for this workshop which is open to artists, designers, curators, and creative thinkers alike, especially those who want to improve their ability to discuss artwork and exhibitions through text. The workshop is also an opportunity for artists, designers, curators, and other arts enthusiasts to meet and collaborate with each other during a time of social distancing. Discussion led by Mirabelle Jones and curator Majken Overgaard. Workshop 2: Diverse Sci-Fi Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon – There has been a long and rich history between science fiction and the development of new technologies. From virtual reality to teleconferencing, science fiction has left its ongoing influence on our present day device-driven world. But technologies are not neutral: they are imbued with the values and interests of their creators. What are the implications, then, if many of the works of science fiction which we see attributed to modern technologies were penned by white cisgender heteronormative male authors? What are the implications if the same dominant voices are overwhelmingly centered in the design and development of new technology products? Who gets a voice in creating the future and who is excluded? In the workshop we will work together to collectively decide and develop wikipedia entries around the subject of diverse works of science fiction. In this hands-on Wikipedia edit-a-thon, we consider the role of Wikipedia as a source of knowledge by examining the entries for science fiction and science fiction technologies. No prior experience with editing wikipedia is required. Sign up information can be found at Artsformation: https://artsformation.eu/news/science-fiction-hackathon/