Future-making Living Labs: the Emergence of Speculative Culture and New Challenges for Curatorial Practice

The project acknowledges the emergence of a speculative and future-oriented tendency in our contemporary culture, and describes a context of rapid technological change and endemic, supply-driven innovation. The research is aimed at suggesting new challenges and opportunities for curatorial practice in such context and locates in the concept of the lab a crucial space for engaging publics in trans-disciplinary discussions around innovation and development in science and technology.

The research is conducted by addressing a series of case studies and by developing specific collaborative practices in the forms of workshops and exhibitions. The project is funded by the AHRC and is a partnership between Culture Lab and FACT Liverpool.

One of the case studies is Connecting Cities, a European network of media facades initiated by Public Art Lab (Berlin), and involving 18 arts organisations including FACT. This project allows for an interpretation of the city as lab, where digital artworks in the public space can facilitate in the citizenship an understanding of the transformations cities are undergoing in connection with the development of sensing technologies, data gathering and visualisation and smart cities initiatives.

Design is addressed as an expanded field for the convergence of research (and innovation), public engagement (and public understanding), and the construction of reality, future practices and behaviours. Curatorial practice can draw inspiration from design approaches such as design fiction and/or critical and participative design, to find ways of mediating the dynamics of innovation to the public and allowing more voices in the debates around technological change.

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For further information please visit: dm.ncl.ac.uk/