We were very lucky to be invited to hold one of our meetings as part of the Taking Place event put together by Occupy Space and held in Faber studios. This time we went through a load of videos form the internet and discussed the implications of emerging technological and social trends.

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The title of this entry is paradoxical to say the least, how could the future that unknown distant point ever be here. By chronological definition the future is always that unknown point after the present. Unlike the past it has no place in our mind other than what we can purely speculate, like the past it occurs in the same place in our mind’s eye. When we try to relate to the future we construct our thoughts around it like we do the past. In fact we can only truly relate to the future by constructing memories, like how we place ourselves within our minds eye in a past moment in time by taking the information we can readily recall and assuming the rest. Our memory itself is imperfect, our brains being the organ they are do retain the majority of information they perceive via the course of our lives but they are incapable of totally reconstructing the past. Our minds will readily make up for these inaccuracies, a tree here a person there. Like how when we dream and you are aware of the information of what is occurring, the experiential but not the fact. Like a dream you are not entirely sure that this or that has happened, but the mind has no choice but to go on this available data. The future is like a dream, it is a constructed reality, something that is not real but is.

The act of mental time travel is known as Chronesthesia, this is not some hokey paranormal activity it is a function of the human and animal mind that allows us to anticipate future events and reconstruct past ones. These constructs are never entirely accurate but they often come close enough, and if they come close enough then the present an evolutionary advantage. Many species perceive time in this way, but none is more honed then the Human ability. Is this due to superior intelligence? I think not. Could it be that what we actively perceive as greater awareness of chronological perception is also what we interoperate as greater intelligence? What the hell is intelligence anyway?  It is easy to speculate in evolutionary terms about what may occur, you’re either wrong or right and at the end it did not really matter. If we are capable of constructing the past and the future within the same cognitive ability, then the two things as far as our mind is concerned in the present moment are the same things.

The Past never happened, it was only a memory.

The Present, is the past that we remember as it occurs.

The Future has not happened yet and never will.

We are alive for a very short period in a cosmic scale. After we die we are gone forever, back to the place we were before we ever existed. What are you memories of your childhood? Surely you remember that time you broke the plate in the kitchen or was it something you saw on TV as a kid? Do remember all the names of your stuffed animals or has your mind given the names since because you feel they should have them?  Do you remember the face of the older child who made your life a living hell or has the memory of their face been twisted and contorted to demonic proportions in the water damage filling cabinet of your mind? What about that movie you saw that you knew you were not meant to see? Do you remember what you had for lunch this time last week?  Or was that someone else?

When I was young, I was out in Gourtnagoona Co. Tippereary with my dad, near Templederry. We used to visit my uncles a lot back then, every weekend nearly; they ran a farm along the side of the road in a very mountainous region. After a day of walking through fields and tempting fate getting past electric fence after electric fence they both paused before we went into the house for the evening. I looked up at them and what seemed like there infinite tallness as they gaped open mouth looking at the black empty abyss of the sky above. I looked at it too. I saw a light moving across the sky, something I had never seen or noticed before. Like a star only more solid and moving.

I asked “Dad what’s that?”

My father looked at my uncle and said “That looks like a UFO, doesn’t it Paddy?”

Paddy said “it does Willy.”

Years later I recalled this memory to a flat mate of mine who asked had I ever heard of False Memory syndrome? False memory syndrome (FMS) describes a condition in which a person’s identity and relationships are affected by memories which are factually incorrect but are strongly believed. This got me thinking about that particular memory and why I believed it occurred. Even being the staunch skeptic I was at the time and as I saw it not falling prey to superstition and paranoia, I kept a small little place for this memory tucked away. Why did I believe it? Why did I give it strength, why didn’t I put two and two together and also recall that I watched a lot of conspiracy theory documentaries at this time and was an avid X-Files fan. Or why didn’t I remember that I spent a lot of time hiding under the bed sheets afraid of being abducted by aliens. Our thoughts and often our actions are at the whim of emotion and sentimentality and are untrustworthy. Only now I know better right? My point is if what we assume has happened can be so subject to the ebb and flow of our present mental process and if our perception of the future works via the same mental ability. Then why should we put so much stock in the act of Speculating when it is inherently flawed?

Talking about the future is not the same as the future. What may happen is unknown, truly. But discussion about what we think may happen characterizes who we are here and now more than what we actually assume we know about ourselves. Our hopes and our aspirations exist in a fictional land, the future is as unreal as a dream but like dreams it can function to explain more about ourselves than we already know. Whether it’s a dystopia, utopia or other the world of tomorrow exists only today in its depiction. And what tomorrow can characterize I can only speculate.

As soon as all the hustle and bustle of the launch of Particular Future Scenarios and the showcase is complete The Speculative Society will be continuing collaboration on several projects. One of the main projects in the running and one that has generated lots of interest at the meetings is the radio broadcast  project which is as yet unnamed. The project will most likely be a half hour segment on local student radio station Wired FM, this will be followed by several submissions to national radio broadcasters with an effort. The proposal for national radio broadcast segments will aim to fulfil  the cultural rebate of several stations. Two different research influences have been discussed. One influence is that of Orson Welles infamous radio episodic radio broadcast adaptation of H.G. Well’s The War of The Worlds. This would probably involve an examination of radio and hype. The second influence comes from a more esoteric origin, that of SETI, The NASA programme for the Search for Extra Terrestrial intelligence. This is a radio telescope based programme searching for intelligent non-natural paterns in background noise in an attempt to determine if there is life out there.

All the funds from the sale of Particular Future Scenarios will be invested towards the next publication which will be completed and released hopefully by the end of the year. The first issue will be disseminated nationally prior to this, as you are reading this galleries, art spaces, Zine libraries, independent distributors and independent book stores throughout the country are being contacted in regards to its sale. The first issue was intentionally a D.I.Y.  aesthetic, this was born out of both choice and financial constraint but the proceeds from the sale of the first issue will be put towards making the next issue a more durable and professional release. This will allow the publication to be sold in more “reputable” shops.

There is of course more to come, I can only speculate what though.

This is the first Issue of Particular Future Scenarios a publication created by The Speculative Society, the publication is A5 in international format and was assembled over the last week by Steve Maher. The first run of covers had a bit of a typo so it took a bit longer to finish putting it all together than originally intended. But eventually after three days of physical production and a prior three days of digital production the book was finished. This is not the first publication that the Speculative Society has been part of, in August 2012 The Speculative Society were lucky enough to be part of Paper Visual Art Limerick, as part of Gracelands at EVA2012. This is however the first publication and project which we have finished so far, it was a project that took a lot of work.

Meetings were held about meetings but in the end consensus was met and I think everyone is happy witht he fruit of our labours  The cover is a two tiered cover cut diagonally to reveal the cover illustration produced by the talented artist Mike O’Brien. The grey cut cover details the coordinators note as well as credits on the interior, on the exterior front lies the title and the book blurbs by Aimée Lally and Alicia Lydon. The book blurbs have a corresponding table within. The first entry is a A History of the Future by Tim O’Neil,  this is a narrative told through the web history of an Irish computer in 2015. After that is work by Carla Burns which feature two graphs over laid upon impressionist and romantic paintings. An essay follows  then by Lorna Maher called The Future of Music as a Demonstrative Tool  which is at once as serious as it is hilarious. The very same artist responsible for the amazing cover illustration continues with more work on the interior, a text based work followed by three demonic and menacing floating heads. Then there is a work of sequential art by the project’s coordinator Steve Maher called In This Day And Age. The artist Matthew Quain replicates a exerpt from The Guardian on-line, everything seems normal except upon closer examination the viewer will see the date reads 2085. This is followed by a visual piece by Gimena Blanco which seems to make reference to two elements, the void and chance. Each takes a near equal portion of the page layout both subjects when considered are vast and leave the audience considering the unknown. This seems to be a metaphor for the future itself.  The next entry is a a play by Mark O’Connor who is both a talented actor and musician and now it seems he can add playwright to his list of professions. The play is really worth the read especially for the ending which is laugh out loud absurd. Next is an image of the previously mentioned Tim O’Neil taken by the kind folks at Google Maps, this is followed by the aforementioned table by Alicia Lydon and Aimée Lally which details of the work which is title …Commendation…..  The penultimate entry is a poem by Bryan J Moore called The Death Of A King, this is about the next stage of life and the associated mourning in this new stage about the old way. Which leads to the end note by Anastasia Artemeva This is About to Expire which says as much about the physical turning of a page as it does about possible future of the printed word. All in all each speculator has made an attempt to communicate with the reader an idea or a feeling about potential possible reality.

This is the E-Zine version of The Speculative Society’s soon to be launched publication, the physical publication itself will be on sale Friday the 21st of September at the MA Social Practice and the Creative Environment showcase 2012. This will be a showing of all the projects undertaken by this years post graduate students including project coordinator of The Speculative Society, Steve Maher.

The E-Zine edition of the publication has some slight difference in layout but is essentially the exact same. Some alterations where made for the sake of it being a digital publication but everything that is visible in the physical publication is visible in the digital publication. Want further proof? Have a look for yourself.

Just click the Image bellow to open the E-ZINE.

Particular Future Scenarios

Steve Protesting

This could be seen as of topic in terms of what I mostly go on and on about on this blog but I am about to make the case for a demonstration me and my wife attended last month. The demonstration was in support of the the Punk Rock Art Activist Performance group Pussy Riot. In case you are unaware Pussy Riot are a group based in the contemporary artist activist community of the great Moscow area. Under the rule of  Vladimir Putin a lot of social injustice has raised its head over the last decade, many young and educated Russians have taken it upon themselves to be the only aspect of modern Russian society willing to act with braveness and express there opinions which are counter to the dominant pro Putin culture. They attempt to do this by highlighting the many contradictions which surround there everyday lives, groups like Voina who painted a large cock and balls on a mechanical bridge adjacent the former KGB headquarters.

Pussy Riot performed a Punk Rock Prayer in a very prominent church in Moscow city centre, which caused three of their members to be arrested.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Yekaterina Samutsevich

Maria Alyokhina

A show trial commenced and as we protested we learned the news that all three would serve a sentence of two years. I have placed this demonstration into this blog because it is clear that speculation alone is not enough, it has to be used to forecast the outcomes many factors including injustice. Here is some of the documentation of the day.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mary Conlon and Ormston House for hosting The Speculative Society meetings. When Mary was first asked if the meetings could be held in the gallery she immediately said yes. She also joined in on the meetings and thanks to her The Speculative Society was included in the Paper Visual Art Limerick edition.