Reclaiming the Future?

Please join our on-going work to develop alternative societal futures. Our collection of utopian suggestions for the year 2040 is there for you to experience and contribute to. Utopian? Utopia is a place that is good, but is nowhere. Except that now it’s here. So, what kind of a good future can you imagine?

The thesis of this exhibition is that we should persistently cultivate our capacity to imagine good futures. Without ideas about desirable, dignified life we are left with coping, adjusting and fearing for the worst. What distinguishes utopian thinking from mere daydreaming is that the dream should be about common good – not only about individual success. It should be built on transparently communicated ideas of social justice.

Two areas of thinking open from such mind game. First one is about critique. What are the current structures that stand in the way of a better future? Can we even imagine them away, can we think them otherwise? Second, where can we find ready-made proposals and ideas for social change? Where are societies in fact given form to, and who has the opportunity to construct alternatives?

We think it is time to reclaim this capacity. During the last year a group of active and free-spirited students have been busy educating themselves about the systems and structures that play major part in the way our futures will turn out. We have met with scholars, specialists and provocateurs that dare to think against the grain, but who most importantly are capable of imagining other kinds of societal arrangements. In this exhibition you can see the outcomes of this utopian design work. We welcome you to discuss these propositions and to develop your own with us.

Friday 27.5.2016 17.00–19.00

FutureHistory: State of Sharing Democracy 2040| Riikka Theresa Innanen

Future History 2040

This project is presented in a form of a lecture on Democracy in 2040.

During our fictive visit to a Utopia, where democracy a commons practice and a shared, decentralized peer to peer governing of local needs and global responsibilities, we will discuss the shifts in democratic practices and the political landscape in the future history of the passed 25 years.

The work attempts through a narrative structure address how citizens activism could become an asses for diverse yet efficient means democracy to operate, rather than a perceived by the established powers structures as potentially subversive agent to constrain.

With Ubuntu at core of the ethos for taking pride in community wellbeing, Shared Democracy enables citizens with rights and responsibilities upon decisions concerning their own lives and environment. In 2040 economic actors have accepted their influence as a political power and investments are seen as a commons question rather than an private right of individual corporations. The structure of Future history lecture is a game to facilitate conversation about the conventions and potential we have in redesigning our political reality.

Riikka Theresa Innanen is a physical and visual artist studying currently at Aalto Arts. Working with choreographic systems, Minds, ecologies and strategies that could cradle creativity and lateral embodied thinking, she looks at societal structures as choreographies. From this point of view, she hopes to enable ways of to (re)think our futures collectively..

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Monday 30.5.2016 15.00–16.00

Najeeb, the telerobotic Imam, on video chat

Join us for a video Q&A with Najeeb as he presents ultimate connectedness via two layers of telepresence. One is the "physical avatar" - transmitting his physical self to a robot in Otaniemi, and then the "multiplexer" - broadcasting his robot's virtual presence online. Najeeb will present his Utopia for 2040 and take questions from the audience.

Presented by Avner Peled

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Monday 30.5.2016 17.00–19.00

Paavo Järvensivu & Livelihood in 2040

Join us on Monday 30.5.2016 for talks from Paavo Järvensivu & "Livelihood" team from Redesign of Society group. Topics of the event deal with work, livelihood and meaningful life in a post-capitalist society.

Paavo Järvensivu shares his thoughts about the future through the themes of his book “Rajattomasti rahaa niukkuudessa”. In addition, Livelihood team from the Redesign of Society group presents their discussion game “Tivoli Utopia 2040 – Carnival of livelihood”. After the talks there will be time for discussion.

Event starts 5 PM and finishes at 7 PM. After the event you have a chance to play the Tivoli Utopia 2040 game.

Come and share your own ideas and utopias with us!

The event is open for everyone interested in the topic or thinking about societal structures of the future. The talks and discussion are held in English.


Paavo Järvensivu is a researcher studying environmental changes and resource scarcities and the way they translate into inequalities of individuals, geographical areas and industries. He is leading a research project “Realiteetit ja visio Suomesta” where scientific results, international networks and innovative media concepts are gathered to back up the current affairs journalists working in the public service broadcasting company YLE with a hope to create better ground for tackling these issues. Paavo maintains a website and blog about Degrowth with his brother Timo. Paavo’s focus is on “social practices of production and consumption, environmental disruptions, socio-material dependencies, art & research & journalism and degrowth.

Paavo is also the author of book “Rajattomasti rahaa niukkuudessa”, published in 2016.

“Tivoli Utopia 2040 – Carnival of livelihood” is a discussion game developed by AK Varjus & Jenna Puikkonen from Redesign of Society group. Aim of the game is to present and combine different practical utopias; desirable, feasible societal designs of the future. The game also gives tools for thinking about one’s preferable futures.

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Wednesday 1.6.2016 17.00–19.00

Brazil as a country of the Future that Never Comes and Yet Makes Sense

A popular Brazilian saying goes "Brazil is the country of the future". It doesn't specify, however, a timeframe for the achievement or what it means.

In this session, we will explore some of the utopian elements already present in Brazil.


Maria Manner is journalist at Helsingin Sanomat and has worked as the journal's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro. Teivo Teivainen is professor of world politics at the Collegium for Advanced Studies at University of Helsinki and has worked as visiting professor in Brazil. They have recently published a book on Brazil ("Brasilia", published in Finnish by Siltala) and they will be reflecting on utopias in Brazil based on their book. Copies of the book will also be available at the event.

Leonardo Custódio is a Brazilian Ph.D. candidate at the School of Communication, Media and Theatre (CMT) at the University of Tampere, Finland. He will defend his doctoral dissertation entitled "Favela media activism: Political trajectories of low-income Brazilian youth" on June 11, 2016 at 12:00 at the University of Tampere (Main building, auditorium A1).

Régis Frias (moderator) is an M.A. student at the Media Lab Helsinki of Aalto University participating in the Redesign of Society 2016 Minor. He works as a research assistant at Arki Research Group and is a co-founder of an interaction design agency in his hometown São Paulo, Brazil.

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Friday 2.6.2016 17.00–19.00

FutureHistory: State of Sharing Democracy 2040| Riikka Theresa Innanen


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Friday 3.6.2016 17.00–20.00

Utopia 2040 - Debate and closing celebration!

Debate and closing celebration

Final chance for time travel with the Utopia Café crew! Come to recap the different project themes: Food, Livelihood, Republic of Knowledge, Sharing Democracy, Telerobotic Imam, and debate utopia and the future in general. Our two week event space is now closing tonight, so this is the last chance to meet us all live together!

You are also very warmly welcome to come before 17 - we are open and you can study the exhibits and play the Carnival of Livlihood game and develop your own utopia with us.

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Food | Régis Frias, Ekaterina Ohotnikova, Mikko Laajola, Kyoko Maruo

We might think that having diverse cheap food every day is the result of an industrial progress and is our right. Instead it is just a privilege. Abundance of food is based on unfair work and trade deals, excessive use of finite resources, pollution of soil, water and air. The system is undermining its own sustainability and now it has already reached its limits.

In our project we attempted to create an example of one possible future. We explore ways to re-design existing system and achieve positive changes in Finland 2040. Decentralized, localized and self-sufficient agriculture, fare farmers' livelihood and tasty, nutritious food are in the core of our vision.

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Iulia Radion

Species fight for survival. This leads either to one's evolution or to one's disappearance. In the human quest for livelihood, we have destroyed environments, we have watched some starve while others accumulated, we have warded off from our communities in order to pursue the means to prosper. But we are facing now the prospect of our own disappearance. It is time to design our evolution! If not, nature will thrive without us.

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Carnival of Livelihood | Anna-Kaisa Varjus, Jenna Puikkonen

We are happy to introduce you to a new model of livelihood and the key elements of the transformation: from a work centred and growth-oriented capitalistic economic system, in which people are just trying to succeed and maintain living standards, to a holistic values and humanity emphasising livelihood model.

Welcome to the world of fun and games, meaningful work, fulfilling life and flourishing livelihood! This is the CARNIVAL OF LIVELIHOOD! In this amusement park game you are allowed to live a life you are the most eager to live. The goal of the game is to fill your livelihood score sheet in a way that suits you the best.

So, come and play with us and see by yourself what has made this new system possible!

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History of the 1st half of the 21st century | Riikka Theresa Innanen

A lecture series addressing the economical, political, cultural and social changes which have molded our reality today in 2040.

We will be discussing the economic shifts from 1% to 100% i.e. how going from growth economy and the height of IPR culture via the commons movement led to the current global abundance economy. What challenges, cultural changes and systemic leaps had to be made in order to arrive where we are now.

Secondly we will be taking a look at the development in democracy, which, after facing serious challenges both from losing governance power in the early 2000 to the technological and cultural challanges of citizen participation to the fall of the old Nation State system, which have led us to where we are now

Thirdly we will talk about the ecological and cultural challenges of today, trying to find inspiration and means to tackle issues with the same impact and vigour as the post-capitalistic 2020's found it's way to start redesigning our society under difficult challenges.

We will end with an open Q&A and conversation over coffee, tea and biscuits.

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Najeeb, The Telerobotic Imam | Avner Peled

An Imam is local spiritual leader in different branches of Islam.

When addressing global conflict, I don't believe in top-down solutions, such as reforms and redesigns to societal policy. No organizational unit should have a monopoly over power and arms.

On the contrary, I think that hierarchical structures of power should eventually be dissolved completely. Peace should not be enforced, but rather grown organically from the grassroots.

Such growth is driven by global contentedness, communication and communal livelihood.

Existing barriers - geographical, social and economical can be broken down once the people claim their right on technology, knowledge and the science of freedom.

As a first step, I am honored to present Najeeb, a local Imam from Kabul, Afghanistan, in his robotic presence.

Najeeb is a strong believer of using technology for the the dissolution of hierarchy and nurturing of peace. He has composed for us a series of Haiku poems that carry across his message.

He has also generously agreed to hold a Q&A regarding world peace, and will answer questions about Islam & Terrorism, as he believes his religion is not well represented in the west.

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Republic of Knowledge | Soujanyaa Boruah, Jami Sarnikorpi, Sebastian Müller

"Republic of Knowledge” is a school in the future. It functions on a framework that allows students to decide what they learn and what they are taught, thereby recognising children as an active participant of the political decision making of our society.

With the freedom to choose between courses online, in the school or far away from school, comes the responsibility of every student towards their society and their environment. Living through this system students explore their potential beyond the bounds of institutionalized education and come out as a responsible citizen of the future generation.

Emile 2040 is a narrative used to highlight the essence of “Republic of Knowledge” as a living democracy. It is an automated log of a day in the life of Emile who is an outbound student of this democratic school.

With this narrative we’d also like to open up discussions on democracy, education and the future that we want to see in 2040.

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Deep Freedom | Ilpo Jauhiainen

Deep Freedom is a generative sound composition, inspired by the idea of a new global narrative and "spiritual" revolution that would replace religions and capitalism as our defining belief systems. It draws on the book The Religion of the Future by philosopher and Harvard law professor Roberto Mangabeira Unger in which he argues for a religious revolution that dispenses with the concept of God and elements of the supernatural, and expands individual and collective human empowerment through revised social and political structures; designs that enable life of creativity, risk, experiment, cooperation and meaningful personal connection. He calls this condition 'deep freedom'. The composition is further inspired by such complementary ideas like long-term thinking (our concept of 'now' and perspective of the world extending for thousands of years) and ecology (how things come into being through interactions at the bottom, not hierarchically from the top).

The composition consists of recordings of various religious sounds from different cultures, but reimagined and projected into the year 2040. It is generative in nature, meaning that it is constantly and 'infinitely' self-evolving and -organizing, yet sustaining a unified characteristic throughout. The piece is accompanied by an illustration and text contemplating the concept of 'deep freedom'.

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