Prototyping Futures / Occupying the Present

Prototyping Poster

Prototyping Futures / Occupying the Present, was a three-day conference with workshops I organized with Carolyn Guertin, Rita Raley and Allison Carruth for the Piet Zwart Institute. The event gathered scholars from diverse disciplines to explore strategies of resistance, intervention, and critical production in response to the crises of the present. Rather than foregrounding critique, the focus was on experimental practices that work towards the production of alternative narratives and the imagination of different futures. The term “media” was at the center of the symposium’s conceptual frame and was interpreted in its broadest sense so as to encompass a variety of methodologies and approaches that materialize ideas through technological, spatial, ephemeral, and poetic forms.


Key to the event was the notion and ethos of prototyping. Used in fields such as architecture, software programming, and design, the word has a range of meanings from simple working models to developmental processes. The prototype–in its etymological and theoretical senses–is an original form, an archetype. But it is also–in the applied fields of software development, design and architecture–the alpha version, made to test a concept and with the expectation of flaws, bugs, kinks, and failures. Rather than hammering down prototyping to a single definition, the symposium sought to embrace its tentative, iterative, and speculative qualities, with the aim of promoting interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration.

Prototyping Futures talksContributors: Inke Arns / Bik Van der Pol / Karin de Jong of PrintRoom / Danja Vasiliev / Julian Oliver / Paolo Davanzo & Lisa Marr of Echo Park Film Center / Michael Murtaugh / Failed Architecture / Jan Jongert of 2012Architecten / Mitchell Joachim of Terreform ONE/ Gordan Savičić / Florian Cramer of Creating 010