Helping to unravel what it might entail is Manchester’s FutureEverything festival – a citywide programme of design, installations, art works, sound, music and film.
It’s a concept based around the idea of ‘festival as laboratory’, and draws in some of the most exciting future-thinkers around.
The festival is now in its 19th year, and this year’s event is themed around the idea Tools for Unknown Futures.
As such, the festival will look at how life is being shaped by new tools and systems, and how these can contribute to design, art and democracy.
‘Now that digital is everywhere, part of everything, [the festival] has evolved into a laboratory for future culture, a place to hit pause, test and question our headlong rush into the world ahead’, says Drew Hemment, FutureEverything, chief executive and founder.
‘FutureEverything creates a space where the ideas and insights of creative communities can be experienced and made tangible. It’s a place where the future can be made as a cultural practice, one with a sharp critical edge’.
Among the many highlights will be a pop-up city taking over two blocks of a new Manchester city quarter for a day, where art and design are used to imagine how the cities of the future may look.
It’s a surreal and highly imaginative array of ideas, featuring Ben Dalton’s NoPayPhone telecoms service, providing free telephone communication through the redistribution of donated free minutes from inclusive mobile plans to public telephones; collaborative storytelling piece Storystorm and Hello Lamp Post by PAN studios, a showcase of sentient street furniture.
As well as seeing venues around Manchester host a vast array of artworks and explorations, there is also a two-day conference for more that 700 world-wide delegates taking place in Manchester Town Hall. As well as speakers from fields including design, urbanism, art and academia, there will also participatory sessions, workshops and fringe events exploring topics such as the uses of graphene and emotional computing to the principles of play in open-source development.
Speakers include designer Adam Harvey, founder and director of Superflux Anab Jain and co-founder of Dunne & Raby Anthony Dunne.
The live music programme is superb – featuring the likes of Nicolas Jaar, presenting the UK debut of his Darkside collaboration with Dave Harrington; Canadian sound artist Tim Hecker and a ‘multisensory installation’ by Emmanuel Biard (EMN) and David Leonard.
FutureEverything runs from 27 March – 1 April at various venues around Manchester. For more information visit futureeverything.org