Our symbiotic life

This project will introduce one way to deal with multiple futures and investigate the opportunities speculative approaches offer when it comes to highly complex problems. Grounded in the field of design fiction, this work combines insights of the climate impact research community, technology meta trends and plant science, which work as base for the exploration of relationships between humans, plants and technology. In the next steps we will explore this theoretical framework, the methodologies applied, future research and speculative design. The last chapters will introduce the design drafts which aim to create an entertaining, inspiring and engaging way to deal with abstract scenarios.

This project introduces 4 scenarios for 4 plausible futures dealing with human-plant relationships. The framework is based on recent insights in plant science, climate impact research and technology meta trends. For more details visit: https://fhp.incom.org/project/8620
Shared goods and gardens have become common. Instead of self driving cars the streets are crowded with self driving landscapes. Wordy, green vehicles. There are different types for different speeds: A contemplative driving garden, where citizens can take a walk by approaching a destination and a faster type crowded by lower, resistant plants that don’t mind acceleration. Energy is gathered by sun, wind and the plants’ bio power. Some of the vehicles even carry urban crops to supply citizens that enjoy gardening. The plant needs are equalized with people’s needs. 

When a mobile crop unit is ready to be harvested it informs the garden community. It is also possible to order certain fruits or vegetables in advance and the garden sends a message when ready. Outside the cities there are different vehicles, less floral and faster, to reach a destination far away. Decisions within the communities are mostly made together which often causes delay. But this is taken into account for the sake of democracy.

Robots and drones maintain huge monocultures that struggle with climate conditions. Invasive species learned how to hack the agricultural communication systems and misuse them. Pollinator drones become handy vehicles for dissemination, and machines that apply herbicides are tricked by mimicking the crops language. The most effective invader is a thistle called Equinops Cupidus. As this invasion is becoming overwhelming and is starting to endanger national food supply, the government involves special forces to fight the plague. Strict rules for agriculturists and a code of conduct aim to contribute to the fight against the greedy thistle.
Plants can be printed or rearranged. They embody botanic principles like modularity, symmetry and cells but can look completely different. Humans can customize them to their needs and taste in easy steps. There are even DIY kits to learn how the process takes place. Fashion and style are central elements of daily life. One trend is to grow fashion accessories, flower crowns and diadems are especially en vogue. This phenomena mirrors young peoples longing for nature in a world shaped by technology.

Amongst all the pollution and waste a special species has developed, a highly eutrophic algae that accumulates contaminants, especially lead. It has become a treasured, unconventional resource for the poorer population. It is especially popular for teenagers, as it enables them to join online communities. They call them powerpets that are utilized as a kind of battery: If kept in the right surrounding and with the right conditions they produce energy when triggered by a concurring species. People started to use DIY circuits and accumulators to generate energy for their mobile devices, a practice which is not entirely harmless. Accidents often occur and harvests as well as markets are controlled by gangs, that profit from the popular demand.
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