27 May 2017

Uncertainty Scenarios – Session #4

SYNC at l'ISELP, Brussels, BE

Time: 14:00 - 17:00
Location:  l'ISELP, Boulevard de Waterloo 31, 1000 Brussels, BE
Entrance: 1,25 € / 2 € / 5 €
Free entrance for: Members of I'Iselp, currently unemployed, < 18 years, ICOM, IKT.

Available links of participants: Maxime BonduSimon Ripoll-Hurier, Amélie Bouvier; Daniela de Paulis; Marjolijn Dijkman; André van Es

Afterwards: a performative film installation The Temporary Telecommunication Union by Simon Ripoll-Hurier at Greylight Projects from 20:00 - 20:45.
Open from 19:00 - 22:00.
at l'ISELP:

The idea behind SYNC! is to synchronise the energies of various Brussels-based collectives at one time. From nomadic duos to artist-run spaces and pop-up studios, artist collectives have an increasingly important place in the art scene. Why? How? Who for? Who by? So many open-ended questions to be discussed in a forum bringing together an array of Brussels based collectives. 


Artists impression of SKA, Square Kilometre Array, Australia / South Africa

Uncertainty Scenarios - Session #4 will relate to astronomy, cosmology, radio transmission and the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI) ; its visions of the future in history and its strong speculative ideas spread in our contemporary times : a topic of common interest in the work and research of several Uncertainty Scenarios’ participants. This session is an informal and participatory event where the audience is invited to join the discussion.

With: Maxime Bondu (Artist); Julien Griffit (Technologist / Programmer); Simon Ripoll-Hurier (Artist / Film maker); Daniela De Paulis (Artist); Amélie Bouvier and Marjolijn Dijkman (Artists / Initiators of Uncertainty Scenarios); André van Es (SETI-Philosopher / Engineering Project Manager at SKA (Square Kilometre Array)).

Throughout time space has often been used as a surface for speculative projections by scientists as well as artists. The recent discoveries of TRAPPIST-1 and  Kepler-452b and other exo-planets, possible Earth 2.0's, revived the discussion of possible extraterrestrial life once more. The newly launched 100 million dollar project ‘Breakthrough Listen Initiative’ founded by Yuri Milner, a Silicon Valley-entrepreneur of Russian origin, is the largest initiative to seek scientific evidence of life in the Universe. Stephan Hawking gave a speech at the launch of this initiative in July 2015 in London on the 46th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, and concluded by saying: “We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know.”

A universe, or multiverse, inhabited by other civilisations has been a source of inspiration for critical fiction writers who use these other worlds to imagine alternative societies. All science fiction is to some extent an exercise in world- building and a form of exercises in the fantastic imagination but they are also exercises of the political imagination. We often have trouble imagining what a positive future would look like. If we want a better future, maybe we need better stories. The science fiction writers who've tried to imagine plausible scenarios for getting to another planet tend to be hopeful about the future. And their stories have inspired some of the billionaire entrepreneurs who are now looking to the skies.

According to science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson there is a danger though: “It is a fantasy that if humans could just start over on another planet, we could escape all the problems we have here on Earth. This idea of a utopia happening on another planet is a story space you go into. So in that sense, on Mars we can do things right, and it will serve as an illustration or an example for people back on Earth but we don't need to go anywhere because this planet is our one and only home. And no matter how much we dream, it's where we're actually going to live.”

> Afterwards there is a performative film installation The Temporary Telecommunication Union by Simon Ripoll-Hurier at Greylight Projects from 20:00 - 20:45. Open from 19:00 - 22:00.


Uncertainty Scenarios is a collective experimental research project that explores the ways people throughout history have tried to speculate, predict and anticipate the future and different attitudes that go along with this. The project creates a common ground for a group of artists that all share interest in the concerns of the project and aims to establish a context for the development of new works. Together we reflect on possible consequences of current global socio-political or ecological issues and question our position as artists towards these. Uncertainty Scenarios tries to become an artistic tool to grasp the ‘futurity’ that is already, and increasingly, a part of our present.

Collectively we research for instance notions of speculation, methodologies used to predict the future, strategic thinking and scenario planning, risk and crisis management, divination and spiritual forecasts, Big Data, artificial intelligence or science fiction. How do these phenomena affect our thinking, behaviour and acting? What operations are we dealing with when we speak about speculation? How have technologies, like for instance computer modelling and calculating, affected our thinking about the future?