22 episodes

Talking Uncertainty is Emergent Futures CoLab’s online talk series. We feature scholars, artists and practitioners who are collaborating on projects that speculate emergent futures in times of radical uncertainty. This series highlights how individuals and communities are staging, designing, performing and transforming futures.

In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we also seek to understand how - and why - scholars, artists and practitioners are navigating their projects during a time of collective grief and unprecedented uncertainty.

Visit us at urgentemergent.org

Talking Uncertainty Emergent Futures CoLab

    • Science

Talking Uncertainty is Emergent Futures CoLab’s online talk series. We feature scholars, artists and practitioners who are collaborating on projects that speculate emergent futures in times of radical uncertainty. This series highlights how individuals and communities are staging, designing, performing and transforming futures.

In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we also seek to understand how - and why - scholars, artists and practitioners are navigating their projects during a time of collective grief and unprecedented uncertainty.

Visit us at urgentemergent.org

    TU#04 Insight - Building trust through data

    TU#04 Insight - Building trust through data

    How can data and technology help farming communities navigate uncertainty and improve their livelihoods? Farming as an activity has always been filled with uncertainty. Although farmers in Bihar have generations of experience dealing with uncertainty and transforming it into something very literally productive, the agricultural sector has recently been struggling immensely due to many factors. Combining engineering with farming approaches, Samarth’s interdisciplinary model provides fresh perspectives that move beyond disciplinary-specific biases and make it possible to solve complex problems and drive innovation. This model highlights how agricultural data and emerging technologies can be used to inject some level of certainty into the sector. However, technological interventions also run the risk of bringing about unintended negative impacts. It is especially important in these situations to stay on in the community to maintain trust and ensure that the benefits of data-centered interventions emerge in the long term. After all, trust building is usually an ongoing and improvisational process. Read all the insights here - https://www.urgentemergent.org/talking-uncertainty/sumarth


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    • 14 min
    TU#04 Insight - Sustainable interventions towards redundancy

    TU#04 Insight - Sustainable interventions towards redundancy

    How do we approach the training of community members when the goal is to create sustainability? Long-term, in-depth, on-the-ground engagement can help us develop context-specific knowledge that can be turned into effective, critical interventions. For example, Samarth creates one-minute training videos highlighting the processes involved at each stage of the agricultural cycle of crops that are introduced into the Bihar region for the very first time. Consistently sharing such new, sustainable agricultural practices through accessible language and media in the farmers’ Whatsapp group increases the likelihood of farmer buy-in and engagement. Furthermore, such training structures are more likely to succeed when the objective of the interventionist organization is to become redundant and create sustainable, farmer-owned and operated producer organizations. Read all the insights here - https://www.urgentemergent.org/talking-uncertainty/sumarth


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    • 11 min
    TU#04 - Seeding Happiness: SumArth’s Farmer-led Agri-Models for Rural Development in India with Prabhat Kumar

    TU#04 - Seeding Happiness: SumArth’s Farmer-led Agri-Models for Rural Development in India with Prabhat Kumar

    This talk features Prabhat Kumar who has been building holistic models to establish farmer-led institutions, foster sustainable livelihoods, reduce the carbon footprint and provide nutritional security to farmers in Bihar, India. We reflect on the politics and imaginaries of these community-led programs and partnerships, in light of the 2020-2021 farmers' protests in the country. Read the talk insights here - https://www.urgentemergent.org/talking-uncertainty/ethno-science-fiction


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    • 1 hr 7 min
    TU#03 Insight - Projective improvisation, activism and healing

    TU#03 Insight - Projective improvisation, activism and healing

    How might participating in ethno-science fiction films create a space for activism, healing and speculating futures? In ethno-science fiction, uncertainty is put in dialogue with imagination. It is a liberatory space where you can projectively improvise and play out different versions of your everyday life. Ethno-science fiction brings personal imagination in dialogue with the predictions of scientists. It involves speculating different possible scenarios that help build future strategies. By creating alternative fictional worlds, science fiction can provide a critical distance between ourselves and the mundane world through the concept of “cognitive estrangement” (Friedman). This can be a kind of activism, in terms of an action towards positive change and healing. However, in this kind of filmmaking, a certain level of trust and willingness to play must exist between the collaborators, to ensure that the film does not end up being a totalitarian act by the filmmaker. Read all the insights here - https://www.urgentemergent.org/talking-uncertainty/ethno-science-fiction


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    • 14 min
    TU#03 Insight - Ethno-science fiction, temporality and futures

    TU#03 Insight - Ethno-science fiction, temporality and futures

    How does ethno-science fiction challenge our notion of temporality? Ethno-science fiction is a co-creative genre of ethnographic film where interlocutors express their imagined future through improvisation, applied theatre and other artistic practices. This genre disrupts the ethnocentric, linear progression of time. It shows that our understanding of the future reveals the contradictions of the present rather than a grasp of the past. We always tend to project ourselves into the future. However, talking back and forth between the present and the future self within ethno science fiction provides us with a certain agency where we are not a subject of time. This genre also allows us to try out different future scenarios, navigating the possible and impossible, especially as we face the rising threats of climate change. Read all the insights here - https://www.urgentemergent.org/talking-uncertainty/ethno-science-fiction


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    • 11 min
    TU#03 Insight - Media ecologies and Ethno-science fiction

    TU#03 Insight - Media ecologies and Ethno-science fiction

    How might ethno-science fiction reinforce and replicate dominant imaginaries and media ecologies? As seen in Sjoberg’s film “Call Me Back,” our collaborations often project scenarios that seem to replicate popular culture narratives of desire for fame, recognition, and commercial success. Although ethno-science fiction can provide a generative, healing space for speculating futures, it tends to act as a “sponge;” it absorbs and reflects all kinds of media and imaginary ecologies that we consume on a daily basis, such as telenovelas, surrealist films, realist films, documentaries, etc. Therefore, projective improvisations sometimes fail to produce alternative forms of imagination. By creating such future-oriented films, we risk releasing stories that reinforce narratives produced by the larger media ecology. We must be cognizant of the way that narratives, dominant or otherwise, emerge through our imaginative and performative work with our interlocutors. Read all the insights here - https://www.urgentemergent.org/talking-uncertainty/ethno-science-fiction


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    • 10 min

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