Grace Polifroni Turtle & Andreu Belsunces


Grace Polifroni Turtle; Queer Futurist, Cyberfeminist at Becoming & Experience Design Manager at Deloitte Digital

Grace is an Experience Design Manager within Deloitte Digital. A design futuring and experimentation protagonist and conductor for human-centered design creating at the intersection of design thinking, design doing and social science.

She is a driver of co-creative and transdisciplinary practices in speculative futuring, experimentation and participatory design research. Critical to Grace’s role is the application of systems thinking to prototyping and testing activities to help organisations solve complex problems, design solutions and execute strategies that achieve positive societal and ecological impacts. She does this by developing build-to-think approaches to innovation, prototyping and simulation that put experimentation, collective making, play and testing at the centre of the creative process.

In a past life Grace co-founded Three Farm and Makers Place, both multifaceted social design focused practices specialising in sustainability, emerging technology and the democratisation of knowledge, goods and services through STEAM social learning experiences and community-making.

Andreu Belsunce; Sociologist of Design, Technology, and Fiction & Co-Founder Becoming

Andreu researches the intersections between the sociology of media, design and technology, the politics of fiction, and collaborative practices. He is currently an associate professor of critical thinking and speculative design at Escola Massana and Istituo Europo di Design.

In the field of art and culture, Andreu has collaborated with Sónar +D (Barcelona), STRP (Eindhoven), UNESCO (Montevideo), The Wrong Biennale (International) and Medialab Prado (Madrid) among others.

He writes in different media and his work has been published in books, such as Crossmedia Innovations (Peter Lang) andDesign Does (Elisava). Andreu works as a consultant for different companies and is co-founder of Becoming, an experimental research studio on emerging scenarios.

Automated Control Wars

Automated Control Wars is a collaborative-fiction pop-up research space, exploring potentialities of our post-normal times - exposing emerging scenarios pulsating on our present, where different ideological agendas and understandings of what technology could and should be, are confronted.

Automated Control Wars (ACW) is a platform designed to imagine the emergence of possible technopolitical systems in more or less stable worlds. Through the exploration of those potentialities, we aim to test creative and design strategies to intervene towards a more livable world.

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. Furthermore, ACW is an effort to decolonise future rewiring our imaginaries to project other becomings.

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.

- Today: Inquire contradictory emerging scenarios

- Today-tomorrow: Imagine possible worlds where actual and emergent ideologies, behaviours, powers, uses, aesthetics, sociotechnical practices and corporate and activist agendas are consolidated in different fictional realities

- Tomorrow: Explore other possible assemblages between society, ecosystems and technology and subsequent techno-political and sociotechnical strategies to achieve more livable becomings

After an introduction to the experience and brief description of each scenario, participants choose an available scenario - a potential future pushed by different actors, institutions, philosophies, political agendas, lifestyles, media and technologies. These will guide each group of participants through the battle for the future.

Based on a series of cards with possible tactics, features, attacks or defences, each team will design several (cultural, infrastructural, economic, psychological, political, environmental) weapons (using objects like old toys, electronic waste and cardboard) to make their scenario prevail over the rest.

In turns, each group makes their move on an oversized game board. After each move, the attacking group explains their strategy, weapon and consequences over the scenario arising from the conflict. After each round, teams will analyze emerging situations and competitor moves and tactics, and rethink and make their strategies and weapons in response for all subsequent rounds of attacks.

After 6 rounds of attacks, the world in which the participants find themselves will already be the future. Each movement will have changed the relationship between society, technology, cities, environment and politics. Once the team scenarios are built, we try to design a single unified world ‘where many worlds exist’ - embracing the complex, contradictory faces of the real.

Key Workshop Takeaways

  • A different posture and understanding of how to use design art, technology development, education, activism or public policy to influence worldbuilding decisions that lead to actual becomings.

  • Strategic direction and agency for navigate change and coordinating (actions, initiatives and influences) to be able to transition towards different futures.

  • Insight into how to use grounded, experiential learning in crafting textural analysis of social behaviour, posture and mindset in response to near futures from a post-anthropocentric point of view.