Future Imaginary

Future Imaginary is a video art project submitted for Professor Lila Pine‘s RTA201 Video Art Production course at Ryerson University. Drawing inspiration from Jason Edward Lewis’ definition of the Future Imaginary (see below) and the Indigenous seven generation principle, this piece loosely tells the tale of a future in which the wealthy have forsaken the Earth in favour of a virtual paradise called the CloudHeaven. When the CloudHeaven’s servers crash, the lives of all who were connected to it are lost; as an allusion to the COVID-19 crisis, this is suggested to have taken place a year ago. Despite this tragedy, those who were left behind — the lower classes, the marginalized — have learned to reconnect with nature, support their communities, save and share seeds, and above all, recognize the unchecked hubris that brought the world to this point. Within times of chaos and uncertainty, there is vast potential for a shift in mindset.

The Future Imaginary is the collection of stories, images, and ideas that we use to talk with one another about what the future will be like, what kind of people will be in it, and what kind of society they will build. Digital media designer Jason Edward Lewis talks about why it is important for Indigenous people to be involved in the dreaming up of the Future Imaginary through science fiction, and be engaged with the building of it by participating in the creation of the technologies on which it will based.

Jason Edward Lewis co-founded Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC) to research and create media content and technology for enabling the participation of Indigenous communities in the building of our common future. AbTeC is based at Concordia University, where Lewis is an Associate Professor of Design and Computation Arts. His research studio, Obx Labs, explores how digital technology amplifies and mutates our expressive capabilities.

The future imaginary: Jason Edward Lewis at TEDxMontreal