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Predicting the future with Canberra artists

Natasha Rudra

Published: August 17 2016 - 5:57PM

When you think about the future, what do you see? And why do so many of us believe it'll be a techno wonderland where robots and apps run the world? Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centre wants to find out. The centre is organising a series of monthly events labelled "Future Possible", where artists, academics and the audience talk about what's next. 

Creative producer Adelaide Rief came up with the idea because she's interested in the study of the future(s). "A lot of the time people like to refer to futures, to acknowledge that the future is not just a river that we're all travelling down towards one predetermined end," she explains. 

"We understand the future as this sort of technological utopia where an app can do everything for us. But I'm also interested in exploring what the future might be outside of those kinds of stereotypical tropes."

The first event, on Tuesday August 23, is in many ways a representation of this techno future - it involves a Queensland academic appearing via video link, and an artist who uses photovoltaic paint to create solar stained glass art. (Try imagining that when you were a child in the 1990s. And hoverboards still aren't quite a thing.)

The academic, Eleni Kalantidou is from Griffith University and specialises in design psychology, "where you try and understand human behaviour in relation to design and how design changes or impacts on our behaviour or our patterns of thinking," Rief says.

The artist, Dorothy Hardy, is part of a show at Craft ACT entitled Embracing Innovation, and is one of several artists from the show who will be contributing to Tuesday's event. 

But it won't just be a boring panel discussion. Rief is also trying to create dynamic conversations with the audience, rather than having people sit for an hour in silence, listening to experts, before tea and biscuits and small talk.

"We'll be asking audience to engage in conversation with each other in five key areas [related to the topic]," she says.

"These are social conversations, they don't require you to have any background knowledge. Taking your emotional or personal response to those conversations. And then Eleni is going to offer her five responses to the questions  and there will be drinks and opportunities for a break."

The Future Possible events will be held every month until November. The next one is with designer Mez Breeze who works in "interactive fiction", computer games and cross media projects. And there will be further events on writing, the future of storytelling and the arts. 

"People imagine there are certain things in the future like VR but really VR has been around for a long time and it's now in your living room with VR headsets," Rief says. "Sometimes the future is already here."

Future Possible is on Tuesday, August 23, at 6pm at Gorman Arts Centre. $10-$15. See agac.com.au

This story was found at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-life/predicting-the-future-with-canberra-artists-20160817-gquw5o.html