Image courtesy of USGS
2022-23 artist residency: Investing in futures
Flotilla in which all children live together, all news must rhyme, supercell storms abound, and money expires after one day. 2017. Drawing by Sarah Rothberg and Marina Zurkow.
In 2022, Blue Lab hosted Sarah Rothberg and Marina Zurkow as artists in residence in support of their ongoing project Investing in Futures (IIF). The residency was made possible with support from the Princeton Humanities Council Magic Grant program and the Effron Center for the Study of America.
What is investing in futures?
Investing in Futures (IIF) is a creative framework and workshop designed to facilitate imagining future worlds and what it would be like to live in them. The heart of the framework is a deck of playing cards—and complimentary online version—that are used as a starting point for worldbuilding.
The project includes themed decks and facilitation guides tailored to different user groups on topics such as the environment, currency and technology. A typical IIF workshop is a three-hour hands-on experience in which participants are guided, step-by-step, to co-imagine desirable futures through conversation, craft and play. IIF can be used in classrooms, think-tanks or organizations looking to create a shared vision in order to find novel ways to think beyond the present-day.
Investing in Futures original printed card deck, 2016.
IIF asks participants to "cut the cord to the present" and work backwards from a co-created vision that might seem unlikely, impossible or absurd. Workshop facilitators invite participants to think beyond the presumption that there is only one possible future.
Through these acts of playful worldbuilding, participants…
- articulate values that may be otherwise difficult to discuss
- create a shared vision in order to find novel ways to think beyond the present-day
- connect the personal to global systems
- understand new possibilities for the present
Blue Lab research cohort
As part of their IFF Blue Lab residency, Rothberg and Zurkow worked for three months with a multidisciplinary team of Princeton graduate students to refine the impact and broaden the reach of IIF. This research cohort’s fields included anthropology, architecture, civil and environmental engineering, geosciences and history of science.