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New Survivalism: The Futurist Storyteller (Futures)


Commissioned for the 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial, New Survivalism uses designed objects and storytelling to explore the survival strategies of a disparate set of protagonists, each with a very different take on what they “need”. The project consists of the survival kits of these protagonists, containing a mixture of found and designed objects, and accompanied by short narrative texts. Conventional survival kits address only the bottom of Abraham Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs (the physiological and safety needs of food, water, shelter etc.). Rather than replacing such kits, the alternatives proposed here represent the higher concerns of our protagonists.

The Futurist Storyteller is concerned with losing the ability to make long term plans, but also to generate fictional stories and dreams for the future. Their Case for Hypothetical Worlds contains objects that represent and symbolize various entities, concepts and phenomena providing thinking tools for new fantasies and realities.

The following short text accompanied the kit.

The Futurist Storyteller
As an eight year old, I would often set out my action figures and building blocks in a line and begin to forge new alliances and build indestructible hideouts, creating superhuman strengths from the animal sprit of their choosing. I was in control of a fictional land, making my own rules and making tangible what I did not understand around me.

One day, heaven forbid, you might find yourself reluctantly alive in a derelict place. You may no longer know who your leaders are or what the future holds. In preparation for that desperate prospect my parting wish is for you to have
in your possession, this. I call it my Case for Hypothetical Worlds.

It is filled with miscellaneous objects attempting to taxonomize existing entities, concepts and phenomena. There are maps, pens, modeling clay and no rules. It’s a thinking tool to hypothesize genuine futures and fantastical stories
in a time when clear thinking may prove difficult and the morale of a good yarn may be hard to come by. Consider it an insurance policy for your dreams.