Scenario planning involves artefacts and materials of many kinds.
Modest in size, extremely short in duration and limited in audience to those who happen to be at the Egrove Park building in Oxford for two days in late May 2014, the Future Things exhibition was fleeting and exclusive. The practices of scenario planning involve artefacts and materials of many kinds, the practices of designers more self-consciously so. The point of the exhibition was to bring these two fields together and showcase a few exemplars in order to trigger and deepen the dialogues at the Oxford Futures Forum (OFF).
Works for the exhibition Future Things were selected from responses to an open call to all OFF invited participants. Together they presented a range of analogue and digital materials that captured some of the different ways that futures are materialised in scenarios and design practice. Calling them future things emphasized how their objectness is tied up with the practices of commissioners, creators and users of scenarios and designs. Drawing on design theorists using the term “thing”[i], the title of the exhibition recognized the irony of de-contextualising objects from their contexts of production and engagement. Captured in this exhibition, many of the objects were severed from the worlds they grew up in, although some of the works – notably Ilona Gaynor’s Paper Moon – are native to exhibitions.
Curated by Lucy Kimbell and Cynthia Selin
Assistant curator and photographs by Kerri-Anne Chisholm
Assisted by Eleanor Turner