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Forecasting 2: More Scenarios for the Future

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Organizer: Imre Szeman

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Description: The forecast is for 100-year storms and record-breaking temperatures to be the new norm. These daily and weekly predictions are microcosms of what is, in all likelihood, going to be a full-blown climate emergency by the end of the century. It is not just climatologists and scientists that engage in forecasting these future weather scenarios. Scholars, artists, writers, activists, planners, and policy makers are all trying their hand at forecasting, at casting projections forwards through careful prognosis and/or radical acts of imagination. They do so as a way of grappling with the complex and uncertain scenarios that lie just ahead of us, as well trying to imagine entirely different futures than the ones to which we collectively seem fated.  The aim of this seminar is to engage in a comparative exploration of varied genres of forecasting (including fiction, poetry, manifestoes, policy documents, activist texts, vernacular imaginaries, popular culture, and more), with an emphasis on the way in which these genres have been shaped in relation to predictive scenarios. How do these distinct genres understand and narrate climate futures? How do they sustain particular narratives and imaginaries of energy, the environment and the relationship of the human and non-human? How are they positioned within the wider socio-political landscape, especially in relation to practices of governmentality that also depend on forecasting to manage and control populations in relation to time? What do these genres promise or threaten? What are their symbolic, aesthetic, and formal qualities?  The practice of forecasting is shaped in distinct ways by and in relation to communities around the world. As such, we hope to learn about and investigate diverse expressions of futurity, projection, and prediction. 

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