Recipient of the Journal of Public Space Prize.



Speculative Futures is a large-scale, multidisciplinary and interactive installation that encourages playfulness and self-guided inquiry through the activation of senses. Inspired by the line of enquiry posed by the question ‘can sound alter our future?’, the project experiments with 3D modelling and printing technology to explore the phenomena of sound and considers its impact on the built environment. It poses the question, ‘what will our future cities look like if formed by sound?’.

Sound is present in all matter; it is complex, fluid and ephemeral and this work highlights its presence as a visual and physical disruptive force that transgresses boundaries and territories. Sound, when recorded in different environments, documents that locale. Each location can be characterised by the sounds that are present. These could be natural or human-made; the screams of children at play, the roar of a plane overhead, the clank of machinery. In Speculative Futures these sounds are used as data inputs and become the key variable in a simulation that predicts what the future may look like if sculpted by sound. This complex and yet singular input is analysed by an algorithm. Although this seemingly removes human interference in the process in place of an outcome determined by the program, it is the hand of the maker – an external force manipulating the code – that predetermines and controls the outcome.

Speculative Futures seeks to examine the impact of these external forces and considers the impact of technology on society. The installation posits a bleak dystopian future, where the deployment of new technologies such as 3D printing creates homogenised suburbs with the population segregated by economic, social and political factors. It seeks to examine the asymmetry inherent in how data is collected, stored and used and questions what invisible forces are at play in defining the future – in particular, how technology can be used and abused by government, corporations and individuals to control and codify the population. Where will this increasingly pervasive presence in our lives lead to if unchecked? Speculative Futures is an algorithmic meditation on what our future may become if political, social and economic forces are left unchecked in the use of our data.

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Ourania (Rani) Amvrazis