DREAMSCAPES: WORLD BUILDING NARRATIVE MACHINES
Being critical speculative thinkers in India is both easy and difficult. We grow up with stories about the weird, the absurd and the magical - except we believe that those things happen only in far off mythical worlds. So, as speculative educators, one of the primary tasks we face is to bring the magical close to the everyday.
Living Midnight Narrative Outfit was born almost two years ago of this desire to create a bridge between the real and the magical. It is the time of the night when fairies and fantasies, angels and apparitions dance. Our inherent interest lies in critical inhabitation of the spaces we encounter in the everyday. Narratives become our apparatus for this critical interaction. Narratives, as layered form, offer the possibility to create more processes and sophisticated apparatus which are more valuable than the outcomes. Thus, the stories mounted upon the media of curiosity and wonder become narrative machines that have an embedded agency to spore worlds within the world. This methodology, born from our collective belief in the power of stories as machines to transform the immediate environments understood as topologies of multiple scales permeate our design pedagogy. That is what guided both the courses that we want to talk about today.
The two courses - Built-Environments and its Histories and Speculative Environments 2050 - have been welcome non-coincidental experiments that fell in the LMNO lap this spring. One of us worked our way through understanding speculative approach to history so that it becomes multiple histories, while the other went about using foresight techniques to see what kind of futures could be plausible. This shaped a collective space to sculpt time as it travels, and as it is perceived within design decision trees. It made visible the interchangeable relation that history and future take within speculative worlds - thereby liberating their frozen locations on the timeline. The representations born of interwoven convergent and divergent models of thinking not only illustrated solutions, but envisaged alternate modalities. Histories became a present that had just transformed, while futures were perceived as the present being sculpted in motion.