October 26, 2010 Visions from the future: the Mobile A2K workshop in Basel
On 29th October, Mobile A2K
will take part in the Swiss Design Network Conference
with its Afrofantasy
workshop. The Swiss Design Network Conference
is an annual symposium on design and innovation and this year’s theme is Negotiating Futures – Design Fiction
. The event, which will be held in Basel, is organised by the University of Applied Sciences - Western Switzerland. The Mobile A2K
workshop will take place during the three-day programme, providing an opportunity for reflection on imagination, future and design in Africa.
In their work, African artists and science fiction writers imagine future worlds, impossible technologies and new interfaces (as highlighted by Stacy Hardy during her participation at Festivaletteratura 2010
). These visions can help us to take action in the present, particularly in addressing the objectives of Mobile A2K: Access to Knowledge
. This lettera 27
project supports the creation of new tools for training and education, for promoting access to knowledge and for telling tales of urban change in Africa. Mobile A2K
is a travelling project which supports the activity of a number of African associations. One of its next stops will be the city of Douala, in Cameroon, as part of the 2010 SUD-Salon Urbain de Douala
from 4th to 11th December.
Since 1991, the cultural association Doual’art
, a Mobile A2K
partner based in Douala, has been working across the city’s districts on projects focusing on infrastructure, design, artwork and installations. As part of Douala Ville d'Art et d'Histoire
one of Doual’art
’s recent projects, during the past few years specially designed information panels have been placed at sites of historical significance. This project has also proved to be a powerful tool in making Douala a safer city, promoting active citizenship and facilitating access to and sharing of knowledge. Doual’art
is continuing its work, enhancing the cultural panels project, as a reproducible, innovative and educational tool, through access to information on the web and via mobile phone.
The workshop encourages participants to contribute to Doual’art
’s work with ideas and connections in a way similar to how the African artists represent future worlds, impossible technologies, and new interfaces.
The discussion is focused on two fictional scenarios, a 'Creso' scenario and an 'Apollo 13' scenario. Working in 'Creso' modality as suggested in the book by Ian Ayres and Barry Nalebuff
, unlimited wealth and the best technology are taken for granted. In the 'Apollo 13' modality, participants are trapped in an emergency situation, with limited and low tech tools. In response to “Houston we have a problem”, they must somehow come up with a way to save their skins and make it back home using the available resources. The methodology, which compares 'Creso' and 'Apollo 23', has been developed for Mobile A2K
from an idea by Robert Casati, to help think about resources, contents, and interfaces in Africa and across the world.
The workshop, led by Davide Fornari and Iolanda Pensa, The workshop brought together leading names from the world of design, such as Gaia Scagnetti
and Nicolas Nova
with Mobile A2K
. Project's next stop, promoted by Doual’art
, will be at the SUD-Salon Urbain de Douala
in Douala, Cameroon, from 4th to 11th December 2010.