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At the “Future Fictions” exhibition in Hasselt, Belgium, we visited our friends and colleagues FoAM work area, a documentation of their ongoing projects with various practitioners to develop, among other things, future literacy. Taking a walk around, there were all sorts of more or less optimistic, fantastic, mundane and unlikely futures perspectives. A recommendable visit.

For those interested in aquatic themes, some works attract attention. Perhaps the nicest piece in that subrealm is Liam Young’s New City series, with the “The City in the Sea” piece attracting attention. A video loop portraying a city built upon a floating mass of plastics rubbish, swaying slightly in the swells, a kind of unanchored Kowloon. Attached to this video backdrop, the ultra short story from Pat Cadigan, carrying the same title, narrates a small, highly subjective glimpse into this future world.

It is interesting to see a speculative future of the garbage patches dotting the world’s oceans, merged with the dreams of seasteaders and other free spirits trying to evade the burdens of the land and their governments, their social contracts that apparently make them unhappy. There are dreams within dreams and levels of fantasy in these plans that defy reason or desire. This world seems to evade that hoped for freedom and leads the population of this city into a social contract closer to feudalism that utopian libertarianism. But they still help us think about what we are doing and where we are going today.

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