OUR Collective Future Project (September 2017) was a collective experience in imagining an alternative, ecologically whole urban future. The design used text, film, spatial design, and the idea of fortune telling to provoke thought and interaction. The experience centered around a 12-foot high matrix of fragrant solitary bee nesting blocks, freshly cut from Oregon Douglas Fir mill ends and installed in the foyer of the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. During the event, participants who gathered in the lecture hall were invited to each randomly choose from one hundred numbered tabs that would direct them to a description of a moment in their own future. Shortly after, participants were guided in a procession to the nesting block matrix in the foyer to find, remove, and read a written description of a fictional future moment in their own life. The placement of the text in the holes of the nesting blocks and the grid design of the structure were meant to organize the group into shared spaces as they considered together what their individual and now collective futures could hold.
Just as the space of a city is never experienced as a whole, but only as the aggregation of a series of moments in a series of places, these individual texts can only be read one at a time and never as a whole. At the same time, a video scrolling the numbered texts one at a time did offer a glimpse of descriptions of related future moments.
At the conclusion of the event, participants took home the solitary bee nesting blocks to install in their own far flung home cities, a longer-term chance to consider the nature of the individual and the collective in our shared future and to consider what it might mean to live an ecologically whole urbanism.
OUR Collective Future Project was commissioned by the Dhillon Marty Foundation for the 2017 State of the Community Symposium, UNESCO Management of Social Transformations Programme, Paris, France September 12-13, 2017 and was conducted by FLOAT architectural research and design (Erin Moore, design and fabrication; Kathleen Dean Moore, text; Chris White, logistics and installation; Serena Lim, design and fabrication intern, http://www.floatwork.com).