A collaborative Pop-up and fictional research space exploring possible technopolitical scenarios.

Automated Control Wars (ACW) is a collaborative-fiction pop-up research space designed to explore the weird, eerie and hopeful potentialities of our convulsive post-normal times. ACW uses low-frequency conflict to expose often contradictory emerging scenarios pulsating on our present, where different ideological agendas and understandings of what technology could and should be, are confronted.

ACW offers a framework to imagine possible technopolitical systems where these tensions are consolidated in more or less stable worlds. Several futures are beating in the present simultaneously, struggling to consolidate and define their place in a possible future. In this context, ACW acts as a pop-up exploratory device that adopts research-fiction to unlock imagination about scenarios that may (or may not) become reality tomorrow. Starting from a structure where four sociotechnical scenarios defended by different sectors of today’s society are opposed, the participants will design strategies and look for the means to impose their idea of the future to the rest of the teams. At each round groups’ actions will provoke reactions and will have to respond to new unexpected events.

As a result, different research fields collapse into a single game space where both collaboration and conflict take place: In this context we want to explore these three temporal coordinates. ACW has been designed by Becoming, an emerging scenario action-research collective composed of Andreu Belsunces (professor of sociology of design and technology at Escola Massana and Istituto Europeo di Design, and researcher on fiction material agencies), Grace Polifroni Turtle (strategic designer and futures researcher) and Raul Nieves (professor of interaction design at Escola Massana and Elisava); together with Bani Brusadin (curator of The Influencers and researcher in post-digital cultures), and with the collaboration of Antonio Calleja (philosopher of science and technology, activist and member of the IN3-UOC Tecnopolítica research group).

The Automated Control Wars programme was presented as part of the New Networked Normal at STRP.