We have finally reached the future and it is glorious! All Apple white and shiny, not a hair out of place nor a leaf on the ground. Everything is just so…so…clinically sexy! It would bring a tear to my eye if I hadn’t had them removed in 2057 for reasons I don’t wish to go into. Let’s just say it involved a dolphin named Ralph.
No. This is not how I see the future, nor how Field Futures has been for me as an experience. It has been anything but clinical. It has been gritty, dirty and downright exciting. Like a miner exploring a cave, it took my eyes a little while to adjust to the darkness, but now they have, I can see more than I ever have been able to see before.
Allow me to expand.
Futures presented us with the opportunity to explore the unseen; to take control of the space in between the spaces. Illuminate the present by exploring a future. That’s the key, it is a future, not the future. Not the only future. We, as a society (global) are on a train heading towards Sucksville, and I am a passenger. I didn’t knowingly pay for my ticket, but I’m along for the ride. I want to get off, but I can’t; this particular train has no doors. We are hurtling towards a future destination that cannot be sustained, where we are striving for a bald planet, filled with boring objects of no worth, surrounded by identical morons who are desperate to get their hands on the next big thing, just so the can vlog about it, where they receive get more free s*** that they can sell to their fans which makes the marketing agencies think they are doing a bangup job. High fives all around, lattes on me. Soya milk in mine please. I don’t believe in mistreating things for human gain.
Screw this s***!
I need to get off this train! There may be no doors but there are windows. Pass me that speculative hammer, no time for questions, this train needs to be diverted!
Speculate to accumulate
Train disembarked. Where am I now? No man’s land? Purgatory? Swindon? If I am not on this train, heading blindly to the future that I do not want, where am? I’m in the best place of all – anywhere I want to be! I have…dun, dun, DUN…freedom! More specifically, creative freedom. Field Futures has provided me with the opportunity to be free, to live without the burden of specific deliverables, user centered testing or injection moulded plastic. My shackles have been released and I am free to formulate a world I want to propose. So what is the problem? Like an animal released from captivity back into the wild, I need to unlearn everything that has come before.
Something needs to have obvious function? Nope. I think the end user would prefer it in white? Who cares. It may be better to reign in the whole death coming back to life thing and make a lamp? I disagree. This is what Futures has done for me. It has allowed me to reset and start again. I have discussed more out-there thoughts during these last five weeks that I have in a long, long time. I have suggested things, OUT LOUD, that I once would have held back for fear of ridicule. The humdrum is the ridicule, not this! This IS THE FUTURE!
So what has Futures taught me? Nothing and everything. I have unlearnt everything I had previously absorbed and allowed myself to be free. As a fledgling, I still have inner barriers to myself that I need to break down, but that will come with experimentation and reading. Ah, reading. The ‘ol paper and card constructions that are books. I have bought many during this period and am actually reading them, not leaving them on the shelf to look like more of a designer. Speculative Everything, Design Futuring, Design Noir and more. I’m a slow reader and am pretty sure I have fairly strong dyslexia, but hey, I’m still learning.
It is not just my designs that I am changing, it’s the addition of art into my works. With the deliverables so open for this project and the final outcomes undefined, I was able to explore my creative side. No neat sketches, (which I can’t do), no CAD, (which is boring), just straight out of the box creativity. Again, I am still wearing my arm bands – or if you’re American, Water Wings – but I am trying to break out. I took on the role of sketching and I enjoyed it. Not concerned with whether the perspective was right or the detail was clear. Sure, we ended up made some products, but this is just because we are surrounded by products and it seemed a fitting response – maybe this is some of my personal restrictions kicking in again. I did, however, make a video. I didn’t plan to make a comedy video, but it seemed as though people found it funny. I took great inspiration, from an amazing artist, to create the final piece. David Bowie. Someone who was never happy to be pigeonholed, who always challenged convention and was a creative madman. He is my Amazon Pulse powered hero.
Previous to this year, I was like a firefly in a jar: glowing with energy but buzzing around without a sense of direction. As time went on, my light started to fade, the air getting more toxic; the glass becoming opaque. Dink. Dink. Dink on the glass ceiling, unable to go anywhere, trapped by my own creativity and the restrictions of the need to progress. Pop. Finally, the lid has been removed, the air thick and luscious, the view is breathtaking and my glow is back. I buzz around with a new sense of direction and purpose. I have a swagger in my flutter. This was level 5 constellation. Dink. Dink. Dink. Wait? What is this? Another glass ceiling? I thought someone took the lid off the jar? Oh wait, I was in a jar, inside another jar.
My light is fading…pop! Lid released again. Phew. This was Futures. Freedom again. I know that there is another glass ceiling to this jar, but this is my own. The more I unlock, the more explore, the higher the chances I have to truly be free. For now, I have the air to breath, a light to shine and the space to move around. I just need to make sure I don’t get trapped back in that smaller jar.