RTTA 3/3: Probing Future-Oriented Deliberation

RTTA 3/3 brought a major ASU conference and series of workshop to life in 2012. More information on that event is below.

Emerge 2012: Artists and Scientists Redesign the Future

Dancers dressed in neon lights at an Emerge eventImage credit: Robbie McCarthy

Co-directed by RTTA 3’s Dr. Selin, Emerge was an event sponsored by CNS-ASU that took place on the ASU campus March 1-3, 2012. Emerge brought together artists, scientists, engineers, students, and educators in an attempt to ‘redesign the future’ by thinking critically about the future of emerging technologies.

Emerge was a large-scale interdisciplinary collaboration and event that explored anticipation, deliberation and emerging technologies, central themes in RTTA 3. Emerge kicked off with nine expert presentations about nanotechnology, information technology, biotechnology, synthetic technology and robots. These ‘Futures@ASU’ presentations were orchestrated as fodder for nine 1.5 day workshops where faculty, students, futurists, and professionals utilized foresight methods to consider the implications of such technical research. The workshops presented their results on the third day of Emerge to a large public audience. In this Saturday event, the workshop report-outs were complemented by keynotes by world-class future-oriented thinkers (Steward Brand, Neal Stephensen, Sherry Turkle).

The finale to Emerge, Immerge, involved evening performances, installations, and exhibits that performed some of the themes explored in the workshops. This joint collaboration between Dr. Selin, Dr. Rikakis (the Director of Arts, Media and Engineering at ASU), and futurist Joel Garreau engaged over 1000 faculty, students, professionals and members of the local community in an exploration of the future of technology and society. 

At the heart of Emerge were nine simultaneous workshops designed as social science experiments in futures thinking and practice. Each workshop employed a different foresight methodology to engage an interdisciplinary group in creating games, products, monuments, images or stories in an effort to reveal the texture and feel of emerging futures. Dr. Selin oversaw a substantial Event Ethnography providing the opportunity to capture and analyze the workings of these different methods. The workshops thus served as quasi experiments to investigate the effectiveness of exploring the future and deliberating through diverse mediums.

More information on the annual Emerge event is available from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.