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On 'Horizon': Garreau discusses Emerge, an ASU-wide collaboration of scientists, engineers, designers, artists in redesign of future
ASU Lincoln Professor of Law, Culture and Values
appeared on Channel 8’s
on Feb. 28 to discuss ASU's Emerge, a conference Garreau organized with Professor Thannasis Rikakis, director of the ASU School of Arts, Media and Engineering in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and Cynthia Selin, assistant professor in the ASU School of Sustainability and the Center for Nanotechnology in Society.
will be held March 1-3 on the Tempe campus. The public event portion of Emerge, co-sponsored by the College of Law, begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 3.
"We've got all these emerging technologies," Garreau said. "They're changing our minds, our memories, our metabolisms. The big question is, if that's true, what kind of humans to we want to be? That's what we'll be reinventing."
Garreau, Selin and Rikakis agreed that the conference would bring together several disciplines, and that it couldn’t have happened anywhere beside ASU.
"At ASU there's this really fertile ground where there is a lot of interdisciplinary collaboration," Selin said.
To watch the video, click
The conference will explore singular questions about what it means to be human in the face of emerging technologies. An unparalleled campus-wide collaboration, Emerge unites artists, engineers, bio scientists, social scientists, story tellers and designers to build, draw, write and rethink the future of the human species and the environments that we share.
Leaders from industry and prominent authors and futurists will join ASU faculty and selected students for an intense exploration of emerging technology and the implications of those breakthroughs for people and environments.
“This is a time for humanists, artists and designers to leave their ivory tower and seek to integrate their knowledge in interdisciplinary teams that design the future,’’ Rikakis said.
The three-day conference has attracted such internationally prominent change makers and futurists as author Bruce Sterling (
Beyond the Beyond
), Sherry Turkle (
Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
), Bruce Mau (
Incomplete Manifesto for Growth, Massive Change Network
), Neal Stephenson (
he Diamond Age
) and Stewart Brand (
The Whole Earth Discipline
“I’m amazed at the nerve we seem to have hit with Emerge. We have people flying in from all over the world and the country – on their own nickel – just to be part of it,’’ Garreau said. “We have a Nobel Prize winner who’s happy to be a participant in a workshop – not even its leader. And there he’ll be right next to extraordinarily talented students, faculty, and people from the community."
Emerge is built around eight areas where ASU research is breaking new ground from disease destroyers to human enhancement. These Futures@ASU presentations will lead into interdisciplinary workshops where one of the most exciting results of the conference is expected to happen.
Much of the excitement generated is the anticipation of the intense, highly interactive workshop format that allows artists and scientists such freedom to collaborate, experiment and explore future possibilities together.
“A storyteller is as insightful to a sustainability team as a climatologist. The biodesign lab is as creative as the sculpture studio, a musician is as important to an educational technology team as a programmer, and an engineer is as crucial to an immersive theater play as the director,” explained Rikakis.
Selin agreed. “Emerge is a chance to rehearse, play with, articulate, and build out alternative futures,” she said. “It will spark new ideas for how to thrive amidst uncertainty and the escalating complexities of modern times. We are not searching for utopias but a measure of moxie in charting sustainable pathways."
Leaders in the “Design Fiction’’ movement including Sterling, Julian Bleecker, co-founder of Near Future Laboratory, and Stuart Candy, a senior foresight and innovation specialist at Arup, a global design firm, are among the workshop leaders. The products of these workshops – provocative and evocative stories, games, performances and objects from which a vision of the future develops – will be shared with the public beginning at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 3, when ASU President Michael Crow will be joined in Neeb Hall by authors Sterling, Stephenson, Mau, Turkle and Brand in a series keynote talks and panel discussions inspired by the workshop explorations.
Throughout the three-day conference, the Digital Culture Festival celebrates the collaboration of artists, engineers and scientists with a series of installations and interactive happenings on public display. Among the exhibits will be a lighted sculptural passageway of Plexiglas “blossoms’’ that pulse with sound and light in reaction to movement passing underneath; educational mixed-reality games and a miniature golf game that responds to player’s successes and failures. These creations fill indoor and outdoor spaces spanning the design and arts buildings at the west end of the Tempe campus.
Emerge culminates in a Saturday evening interactive media show at the Nelson Fine Arts Plaza on the Tempe campus. Here, buildings surrounding the plaza become the canvas for a movement, image and sound show that engages and immerses the audience in the futuristic themes explored throughout the three-day conference.
The audience will interact with mediated sculptures and installations. Actors will move throughout the audience encouraging the interaction. The audience will drive real-time graphics and sound engines to produce three-dimensional visual displays on the building and surround sound displays in the plaza. The cutting-edge show is being developed by a diverse group of faculty and students from the arts, design and engineering units at ASU.
Emerge is sponsored at ASU by the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, the Office of the President, the Prevail Project of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the School of Sustainability, LightWorks, the Center for Nanotechnology and by Intel.
For more information, including times and locations, visit emerge.asu.edu.