Future Coast

FutureCoast is a massively participatory “authentic fiction” about climate-changed futures. The immersive cli-fi learning game launched in February and ends on April 30, 2014. We’re in partnership with Columbia University and funded by the National Science Foundation. In the FutureCoast game story, the software system of the future has sprung a space-time leak. But since it’s only in their voicemail storage, it takes them decades to get around to fixing it. Meanwhile, we get to listen to the messages that people leave for each other in the years 2020 to 2065 – by turns banal, mysterious, and terrifying. In reality, the messages we are hearing have been created by people playing the game. We ask players to imagine the future and then create a voicemail that someone left for someone else in that future. This seemingly simple moment of “future thinking” reconnects people to the human element of possible climate-changed futures. For BLOOM, FutureCoast proposes to create a call-and-response experience inspired by the Lighthouse Point setting. At a central location, visitors learn about the arrival of voicemails of the future. They set out to find the Listening Stations elsewhere in the park, where they hear voicemails from the future on their cellphones. They return to the central point to discuss what they’ve heard. We then encourage them to make their own voicemail, as authentic-sounding as possible, expressing the vision they’ve formed of the future. They create this message on their cellphone, either in our “future phonebooth” or in a quiet corner of the park, with nature’s sounds as ambiance and inspiration. For BLOOM, FutureCoast is collaborating with new media artist Jacob Garbe of UCSC.