Speculative Futures

As the United States recalibrated its global position as an economic, military, and political actor in the twenty–first century, it was an opportune time to interrogate the various speculative practices that are seen to have jeopardized or destabilized futures worldwide. While the conversations about such matters as national security, financial speculation, and ecological and technological catastrophe were largely the purview of policy analysts and governmental agencies, we proposed an interdisciplinary approach to questions of risk and uncertainty that engaged with imaginative and open-ended forms of speculation in fiction, videogames, art, and film. To this end, we brought together public intellectuals, scholars, media practitioners, and artists — in addition to technical experts, analysts, policymakers — so as to mobilize critical speculation on the spectrum of possible futures.

Questions we considered: What role do risk calculations play in confronting growing uncertainties? What security measures forecast “futures” in the face of radical uncertainty? Are such measures adequate, threatening, and⁄or necessary? What speculative practices might be put into play to imagine futures differently?

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