Thickening of Futures

Abstract: This paper engages with biodiversity loss. In particular, it focuses on observations and scientific facts: the decline of pollinators and what that entails for the co-living of humans and more-than-humans. This kind of work often reaches the publics as thin stories of limited futures. The article explores how to situate the issue of out-of-sync plant–pollinator relationships into thick, ongoing presents rather than as a distant future that is out of one’s own hands. This is done through a collaborative design project that experiments with various formats for staging more material, embodied and experiential ways to sensitise and invite humans to experience the issue of pollination. We therefore explore and give an account of how we have situated the issues in a thick, ongoing present as an anticipatory practice. We thus suggest a practice that becomes both sticky and sweaty; in addition, the practice moves some pollination facts into not only matters of concern but also matters of care.

In doing so, we forward the role that design researchers can play in environmental and collaborative anticipation by engaging with emerging approaches to both biodiversity loss and collaborative future-making that are simultaneously conflicting and harsh as well as hopeful.

Paper by Åsa Ståhl, Kristina Lindström and Li Jönsson: The Thickening of Futures.