MDEFest – Exploring Alternative Presents

Recap of the first festival organised by the Master in Design for Emergent Futures.

  • Jul 2, 2021

System change, decolonization of sustainability, and climate science – The non-profit festival addressed radical issues divided into four thematic categories. The activities were extensive, ranging from workshops and panels to interactive activities and exhibitions, all with the aim of promoting future literacy, empower the collective force of creatives, and create greater consciousness about the pressing urgency of the climate crisis and the environment. By involving the local community collaboration was being fostered and conversations created. Let’s explore some of the activities from the four categories Spatial Justice, Empowering Care, Posthuman Awakening, and Planetary Mutualism.

Spatial Justice

This section aimed to build relationships through dialogue in an effort to connect rural and urban communities. In the Spatial Justice roundtable, local decision-makers discussed the topics of fair mobility, place-making, and rural futures. The Interactive Session Aquí: collaborative placemaking gave participants the opportunity to work with residents of C/ Sancho de Ávila to rearrange modular street furniture made from recycled materials and decide together on the best arrangement. The furniture will remain placed on the street until the end of the month, creating a peaceful vision for the city. The #SISTERLOBACHALLENGE encouraged participants to share their own experiences regarding safety and interaction in the city, in order to contribute to the development of fair mobility practices.

Empowering Care

Intended to provide an impetus for reimagining the way we learn, work, and care through empowering the individual. In a morning Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice, participants were offered the opportunity to get in touch with the 7 energy bodies called chakras, unionizing the individual consciousness with the universal, leading to a perfect harmony of body, mind and soul, human and nature. As an interactive session, Silent Playscape Game dealt with co-creation using implicit communication. Participants formed and built in a communal silence different parts made of different biodegradable materials such as bioplastics, wood and canvas encouraging a critical look at the material world around us in an undirected and free manner.

Posthuman Awakening

This section aimed to reframe relationships between ourselves and non-humans to enhance awareness and progress toward collective success. The Autonomous Tree® is designed by HYPOTHETICAL AUTHORITIES, a project that aims to reshape the relationship with authorities. Participants were able to review their annual consumption and impact assessment and engage with a non-human entity with enhanced capacity. In the guided meditation Phygital Awakenings technology and materials were used as tools to augment and enhance the participant perception, giving them the opportunity to explore the connection with themselves, others, and the natural world.

Planetary Mutualism

The focus of the activities of this category was on mutual collaboration between all actors in networks at all levels. Within this, Sensing Matter explored inversion of the power roles of our material reality through an expansion of sensory perception with active meditation. The materials used were naturally shaped by environmental forces such as light, humidity, temperature, and gravity, deforming, shrinking, and growing without human control. Thus, subjugation to the materials resulted, aiming to recognize them co-creators and collaborators in the process. In the Mycelium Board workshop, participants were able to build a small object out of mycelium boards. This allowed them to learn about the process of making the composite material while discussing possible future applications.

Master in Design for Emergent Futures

MDEFest celebrated the Master in Design for Emergent Futures (MDEF) students final projects. Curious about the program? Read more about it here. Applications for 2021/22 edition are still open.

Jul 2, 2021