Playful: Anab Jain and Faerie Stories

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Anab Jain. Superflux Faerie Stories for the 21st Century

Superflux looks at humanising technology. Her background, in India, where there was little TV, no game consoles. The play world were the stories, comic books. Is going to take a look at how fairie stories allow us to make sense of the world around us. From Tolkien, faerie stories are about the worlds in which faeries exist. They are about fantasy, which is about imagination. They allow the reader to view their own worlds from a different perspective.

When we grow up, we leave these fantast worlds behind. We start to package things. Nature or culture or technology. But things get mixed and churned. (Anna showed lots of tweets, where tech stories, robots, asteroid mining etc get mentioned) They are all about how the modern world is miraculous but we fail to recognise it. (showed video about how people complain about airlines…not amazement at flying)

Adults normalise the fantastic. That’s how you can be successful. fantasy gives psycholgical freedom – Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 all restricted thoughts. The Chinese Gov has banned a fictional programme about time travel – they had the wrong imaginative effect on population.

How can we effective bring the wondert back. What would it look like to ‘weaoponise’ playful engagement? Superflux got people to imaging the future, imagination to think about problems. How about robot bees to pollinate crops. Upper Toronto is another project, looking at building a new city above the city…it allows people to have conversations about what kind of city they would like to live in if they start afresh.

The Golden Institure; Artic Trader are all ways of looking at alternate business and political worlds. Eneropa, think about a low-carbon Europe in 2050. Where do they get energy from? Sea, wind or sun. Thinking about fantasy worlds is a way of engaging with issues of the times. Eg Postcards of the Future. Looking at the cities after sea levels rise. Anna ran through more projects that think about the future. FoundFutures. Hypothetical Museums. Farmland World.

The projects explore many aspects of the faerie, the marvelous and miraculous. They help us engage with the present from different perpectives.

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