NFD Riot: Nefula workshop at NextFest 2015

On May 24th, AOS together with Nefula, performed  a one day workshop to explore Near Future Design methodology in the context of NextFest by Wired Italia.

NFD workshops are topic based: for NextFest we decided to investigate the near future of Riot, which turned out to be an highly interesting topic for the whole group.

About 20 participants from allover Italy formed a stimulating group who worked passionately to understand and apply NDF methodology.

Near Future Design workshop at NextFest

Near Future Design workshop at NextFest

After a general introduction, participants collaboratively explored Consensual Reality, Curious Rituals and State of the Art and Technology in order to produce the Future Map:

Near Future Design workshop at NextFest

Near Future Design workshop at NextFest: class at work

Near Future Design workshop at NextFest

Near Future Design workshop at NextFest: Future Map (detail)

In the design phase, two smaller group were formed with the aim to develop two separate concepts:

Near Future Design workshop at NextFest

Near Future Design workshop at NextFest: design phase

The result of the workshop, under the form of a the documentation produced, was given to the CS Cantiere in Milan: a work in progress “to be continued”, a small contribution to the current debate and possible evolution of new form of protest in social movement.

Near Future Design workshop at NextFest

Near Future Design workshop at NextFest: group photp



HE/BA: installation, workshop, talk at Festival dell’Innovazione in Bari

Art is Open Source and Human Ecosystems, together with Nefula, and Ubiquitous Commons,  performed an interactive exhibit, a workshop and talk in the city of Bari during the Festival dell’Innovazione 2015.

The exhibit “HE/BA – Human Ecosystems Bari“, placed in the beautiful location of Teatro Margherita, realized a temporary version od the Realtime Museum of the City of Bari along the three days of the event.

HE/BA - Human Ecosystems Bari, interactive installation, Teatro Margherita

HE/BA – Human Ecosystems Bari, interactive installation, Teatro Margherita

For the occasion an hand-made furniture was realized, describing the Human Ecosystems strategy of implementation (functions and mechanism of harvesting, processes analysis and outputs, including the Realtime Museum of the City, the Lab and the education process) and role of Ubiquitous Commons.

HE/BA - Human Ecosystems Bari, installation, Teatro MArgherita

HE/BA – Human Ecosystems Bari, installation, Teatro MArgherita

HE/BA - Human Ecosystems Bari, installation, Teatro Margherita: hand-made forniture completed

HE/BA – Human Ecosystems Bari, installation, Teatro Margherita: hand-made forniture completed

More photos are available at this link.

The 6 hours workshop was structured ad an intense hands-ho experience, from the theoretical and philosophical approach of Human Ecosystems to the description and use of the HE platform, and the exploration of possible use cases scenarios.

HE/BA LAB: Human Ecosystems Workshop at Festival dell'Innovazione, Bari (Italy)

HE/BA LAB: Human Ecosystems Workshop at Festival dell’Innovazione, Bari (Italy)

The group participants, mostly composed by young policy makers, students and researchers, installed on their machines latest version of HE: all of them is now able to autonomously start their own experiment.

And is is already happening. XYLab, together with FF3300, is now joyfully playing with Human Ecosystems: as you can see from the pictures below, after the exhibit Bari observation is still open. This is the best result we could hope for from our workshop.

HE installed by XYLab in Bari

HE installed by XYLab in Bari

HE at work: view of Bari, by XYlab

HE at work: view of Bari, by XYlab

More photos from the workshop are available at this link.

The talk, conceived as a Lectio Magistralis and dedicated to Human Ecosystems and Ubiquitous Commons, was an effort to describe and communicate the complexity, tensions and conflicts emerging from our ubiquitous hyperconnected lives to an audience of high school students.

HE/Ubiquitous Commons Talk: showing the relational ecosystems of the city

HE/Ubiquitous Commons Talk: showing the relational ecosystems of the city

HE/Ubiquitous Commons Talk: describing Ubiquitous Commons

HE/Ubiquitous Commons Talk: describing Ubiquitous Commons

HE/Ubiquitous Commons Talk: interacting with high school students

HE/Ubiquitous Commons Talk: interacting with high school students

More photos can be found at this link.

Special Tanks to:

Alessandro Tartaglia, Alessandro Balena, Arti Puglia, XYLab, FF3300, Giacomo Equizi, Alice Vallini, Sara Diaferia, Annibale D’Elia, all the visitors and participants of Festival dell’Innovazione

“Iperconnessioni Rurali”: hyper-connectivity in rural space

Join us in Calvanico in Italy from April 12 to 14 2015 together with the Rural Hub who made this possible, for an intensive workshop in which we will learn to use social networks to create hyper-connective human dynamics and relations, to promote wide, inclusive participatory and collaborative actions in rural space.

View the program online on Rural Hub’s website.

View additional information about the workshop.

IperConnessioni Rurali, the workshop

IperConnessioni Rurali, the workshop

How can we use network theories – and all of the things we have learned from Netnography and from social networks – to create participatory and collaborative processes whose aim is to build social conscience and activism in cities and in rural areas?

We will find out by using the tools and solutions available in the Human Ecosystems and Ubiquitous Commons projects during the 3 intensive days of workshop held by Oriana Persico and Salvatore Iaconesi from Art is Open Source, and by Alex Giordano, co-director of the Centro Studi Etnografia Digitale, in the mediterranean scenario of the Rural Hub in Calvanico.

IperConnessioni Rurali

IperConnessioni Rurali

Human Ecosystems is a project which is running in multiple cities across the world (Rome, Berlin, Sao Paulo, New Haven, Montreal) to gain better understandings about the relational ecosystems of territories by harvesting opinions, emotions and relations among people in real-time: the dynamic relational architecture of communities and local cultures.

This information, published under the form of accessible Open Data, become part of an inclusive education process in which citizens of every age, designers, researchers, entrepreneurs, public administrators, artists and activists can understand how to use them to create peer-to-peer organizational models, shared decision making processes, collaborative initiatives, social conscience, new services and products, artworks and more.

The project began in cities, using the information spontaneously produced on social networks, and has also been experimented in rural areas and small towns (like Castrignano de’ Greci, in Apulia), using different modalities, Describing what has been called P2P Ethnography.

Ubiquitous Commons is the corollary and necessary complement for all of this. Created by an international network of researchers and activists, the project is designing a legal and technological toolkit which allows people and communities to decide how to use the data and information they produce every day, for example on social networks and in the scenario of the Internet of Things.

At IperConnessioni Rurali (Rural Hyper-Connections) we will work on all of these concepts, theories, data, software, visualizations, social graphs, and flows of information and knowledge in the relational ecosystem of the territory, to understand how to design and implement participatory, inclusive models in rural areas and in small country towns, creating prototypes and application examples.

An opportunity to reflect of the approaches and tools of smart rurality, as enablers of communities.

XY: a Castle, a Lab and the Near Future of Education

Art is Open Source will be at XY Lab in Puglia, from the 17th to the 31st of July, in the beautiful castle of Castrignano de’ Greci, for a massive workshop on knowledge, data, information, Human Ecosystems and the Near Future of Education.

It will be the first workshop to participate to the Knowledge Ecosystem we have been creating with the Knowpen Foundation. (learn more about the new education system we’ve been creating, HERE)



The workshop is FREE, you will be in a beautiful castle with us and multiple other designers and researchers from all over the world, exploring the themes of “New Publishing” and “videomHacking“: new ways to tell stories and to create shared, ubiquitous narratives and participatory ecosystems.

The lab is divided in two interconnected experiences: X and Y.

X has been created by FF3300 and by Pazlab, Y has been created by Inuit and Dinamo Film, and both are implemented with the support of Laboratori dal Basso.

You can see more info about the the XY Lab HERE, and you can apply HERE.


The Near Future of Education

This will be an important workshop for us. For two reasons.

The first one: after the global event “Education is a Commons“, in which people from all over the world took part in the initial design of the Near Future Education System we’re defining, XY will constitute the first massive effort to create the tools and techniques through which this system will come to life.

We will be inventing and designing communication strategies, software, information visualizations for the Knowledge Common, the Alternative Currency which is used in the Education Ecosystem, the information visualizations which will show the well being of the ecosystem itself, including the relations, economies and productions which take place within it and thanks to it. We will be designing and implementing the Ecosystem itself, creating a peer-to-peer knowledge environment, an ubiquitous network-of-networks.

We will try to answer an enormous question: how is an inclusive, ubiquitous, participatory, mutualistic knowledge ecosystem made?

The second reason regards the fact that XY Lab will also be the first participatory education process which will actually take part to the Knowledge Ecosystem of the new Education System which we’re designing!

This means that all materials, documentation and tools will be open and accessible from the Ecosystem, that they will be usable in “recipes”, and that we will all be able to start assigning each other some Koinoos, the currency of the Knowledge Ecosystem, to evaluate the perception of how active we have been in participating to the well-being of the ecosystem: the new definition of value in the economy of the Education System we’re defining. (to know more about what this all means, you can read the initial description of the Education System designed by the Near Future Education Lab, follow developments on the P2P Foundation wiki, and join the Facebook Group of the Near Future Education Lab to ask us directly and start participating )

During the next months we will be openly supporting more projects, workshops, courses, tutorials, hackathons, learning environments, fablabs and more who will join the Knowledge Ecosystem, to start making the Near Future Education System a shared reality.

This is an important, fundamental first step!

XY Lab in the castle

XY Lab in the castle


The two-weeks workshop will be about New Publishing and VideomHacking. There will be two groups and multiple chances for cross-pollination.

We will be in the New Publishing area, exploring how to design and implement an ubiquitous knowledge ecosystem.


These are the teachers and tutors for the New Publishing area: X

Salvatore Iaconesihacker, designer and teacher at ISIA of Firenze

Oriana Persicohacker, designer and teacher at ISIA of Florence

Mauro Bubbicodesigner and teacher at ISIA of Urbino, among the leading experts in communications in Italy

Leonardo RomeiLecturer of Semiotics and member of the Academic senate at Isia (Higher education institute for industrial arts and design) of Urbino; co-founder of the communication design studio QZR. He received the PhD in Communication sciences from the Sapienza University of Rome and worked in the ESCoM – Cognitive semiotics and new medias team at FMSH (Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme) in Paris. He gave several workshops and lectures and he wrote for Nova24 de Il Sole 24 ore, Alfabeta 2, iS Pearson, il Verri, Progetto Grafico. He is co-editor of the monographic issue of Progetto Grafico n. 25 “Text and Image in the Scientific Realm”.

Salvatore Zingalesemiotics teacher at Politecnico di Milano

Silvio Lorussoartist and designer. His ongoing PhD research in Design Sciences at Iuav University of Venice is focused on the intersections between publishing and digital technology from the perspective of art and design. Since 2013, he manages the Post-Digital Publishing Archive

Emilio Macchiagraphic designer and researcher, former participant at the JvE Academie, Maastricht. Curator of “Fahrenheit 39” – publishing fair and Head of “Offset” designers in residency program since 2011.

Antonio Vergari: analyst and informatics, a.i. and automatic learning system expert from Politecnico di Bari

Danilo di Cuiacreative technologist with a background in graphic design and a focus in human-computer interaction. In the past few years he has been crafting games, interfaces and interactive installations in the US and UK for clients such as ITV, Google and BBC. His latest installation ‘Collate’ has been selected for the London Design Festival and exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Jacopo Pompiliivisual designer, currently attending a master’s degree in Communication Design at Politecnico di Milano. His bachelor final thesis at ISIA Urbino — Iperlibro (Hyperbook) — focused on digital publishing and new reading experiences specifically designed for new digital media.

Eugenio Battaglia: Neurosciences and biohacking expert

These are the teachers and tutors for the VideomHacking area: Y

Marcus Ströbelsoftware developer, contributor of Magic Lantern

Cosimo Bizzarri: storyteller and journalist, he’s currently working as the executive editor of COLORS Magazine and as a tutor at the Design faculty of the San Marino University

Gianpaolo D’Amico: PhD in Computer Science at the University of Florence, is freelance creative technologist for digital media and founder of the blog sounDesign

Paolo Patelli: PhD candidate at Politecnico di Milano, researches and designs between architecture, media technologies and public spheres

Giacomo Leonzi: has a degree in Science, and he currently works as a developer and interaction designer around the world

Nicholas Caporusso: researcher in the field of human computer interaction, and hospital risk management, CEO at QIRIS

Michelantonio Trizio: information engineer, hacker and enterpreneur, CTO ad QIRIS

Matteo De Mayda: photographer and art director based in Treviso. ADCI Award in 2012

Lea Dicursi: video-maker, video-editor and producer based in Barcellona. She had worked for Benetton, Colors Magazine and Fabrica

Matteo Bencini: interactive and web designer at Lcd s.r.l. in Florence

Ruggero Castagnola: IxD and Creative Technologist. Iuav graduate, currently research fellow at PoliMi

Giuditta Vendrame: designer and currently enrolled in Social Design Master at Design Academy Eindhoven


inside the castle

inside the castle

Join Us!

Join us for these two weeks of whorkshop! We’ll be happy to work with you.

The workshop is FREE!

You can see more info about the the XY Lab HERE, and you can apply HERE.

Openness and Near Future Design at I-Lab at Luiss University

We will be at I-Lab at Luiss University for a workshop on Near Future Design and the concept of Openness, on November 14th 2013, from 2pm to 6pm.

Here is the EventBrite page for the workshop and here is the Facebook page for I-Lab Luiss, where you can know more.

In the workshop we will explore, from the point of view of our experience across arts, design, architecture and business, the idea of Openness, Collaboration and Participation, as a driver for many of the things we do in our contemporary world.

We will approach the subject from the point of view of Near Future Design.

To understand the mutation is essential to direct it, and to be able to confront with the emergency and with the effective risk of catastrophe (environmental, economical, political) which «the normal flow of things» certainly does not allow us to avoid. It is essential to study and to forecast the future in order to confront with all of these issues. At the condition by which all of this work (as in all the other areas of the sciences) does not produce a caste of super-technicians who claim the right to decide – alone of together with the bureaucracies which govern us – everyone’s destiny. There must be no doubt about this: the people have the right to decide their own destiny.

Antonio Caronia

From this quote by Antonio Caronia, it is clear how the possibility and opportunity to collaborate to design our own future is an essential part of our freedom. To do this – to enable this opportunity – we adopt a series of methodologies which enable to transform the future into a performance: a dynamic condition whose aim is to help us become active (performers) in trying to give answers to the question “What future do we really want?”.

This is a previous article about Near Future Design which we wrote a few days ago. David Gray and Jon Husband helped us a lot to rewrite it, to convey both the message and the methodology in more direct and accessible ways. You can find this new version article below, and we thank them for being so helpful, and for bringing a whole new level of accessibility to the things we talk about.

See you at the workshop! (or if you can’t make it: see you here on Art is Open Source for the updates!)

Near Future Design: the role of design in creating the future

There are many possible futures. Perhaps the most important question we can ask ourselves is:

What future do we want?

The future does not exist. We live our lives in the present, and the future exists only in our imaginations, in our hopes, dreams, wishes, plans, forecasts and blueprints.

“The future,” in other words, is something we experience today. It is a performance, a global conversation about what we want, what we fear, what we expect, and what kinds of possibilities we can imagine.

We establish the future by the conversations we have about it.


Innovation is the art and science of bringing valuable new possibilities into being. That is, futures that are both desirable and possible. Thus, innovation is both design and implementation: designing a possible future and then making it happen.

But which future do we want?

Near future design.

The near future designer serves to activate the imagination; to help communities “conceive possibilities which do not yet exist” — possible futures — using dialogue, visualization, modeling and performance.

One of the central assumptions of near future design is that the future is not singular. There are an infinite number of possible futures, and we bring futures into being first by imagining them, next by exploring and examining them, and finally by selecting them.

The near future designer helps society and communities imagine, explore and examine possible futures, in order to increase the “possibility space” and improve the quality of decisions we make about what we value and how we want to proceed.

The near future designer helps us decide: Which future do we want?

The conversations we have, and the explorations we make in the present are important because they change the ideas that we have, and the decisions we make. Thus in a very real way, they change the future, because altering the present in such a way that we can make better choices and bring better futures into being.

The near future designer situates possible futures into the present, so we can explore them, think about them, talk about them and make value judgments about them.

To do this, we must understand the state of the arts and existing technologies. But that in itself is not enough. We must also understand the limits of our imaginations, the rituals and tensions of our times, including our deepest conflicts as well as those things which inspire us and provoke a sense of wonder.

We must create a tangible “sense of the possible” that feels real.

The near future designer presents us with tangible possible futures in the form of objects, visualizations and performances, to give us a more visceral understanding of what those futures mean, how we might experience them, how they might feel. By creating a space where we can suspend disbelief and simply experience the possible, the near future designer helps us develop a sense of the possible by giving us things to play with and ways to act it out.

This is Near Future Design.

A performance exploring possible futures, in which the observed current state of the arts and technologies mingles with culture to create a collective “sense of the possible”.

In which we improve our ability to explore, examine and experience possible futures, in order to make better decisions about which futures we want.

In which we connect and synthesize multiple sources of knowledge, in all disciplines and modalities, across cities, cultures, and virtual domains.

In which we can better understand tensions, conflicts, harmonies, dissonances; rituals, and tendencies when they are in their early stages, when they are still only suggestions.

The near future designer plays a fundamental role for society, creating spaces where people can perceive possible futures and take an active role in a conversation to build, create and perform their “collective possible,” helping more people make better decisions about the future we want.



We have developed a formal process for Near-Future Design.

  • Define the areas of interest  for a topic

    • during each cycle/project we define the topics and areas of interest in each topic.  Those topics and areas  form our research domain;

    • these can be contiguous, complementary or contextual, providing continuity but also the possibility to expand to observations about indirect influences on the transformation of human societies identified by the research;

    • the output of this stage is a visual representation of the research domain, along with rigorous documentation;

  • The Future World Map

    • the map aims to collect information about what is perceived as “possible”, “impossible”, “desired”, “feasible”, “preferred” and “envisioned”;

    • it has two main areas, regarding the state of the arts and technologies, and the anthropological, ethnographic, psychological and emotional analysis of relevant cultures, communities, groups, organisations and individuals;

    • the part of the map that takes into account the state of the arts and technologies mainly deals with technical issues concerning the evolution of technologies, the data and information about the relevant contexts, and a description of trends;

    • the part of the map that takes into account the anthropological, ethnographic, psychological and emotional analysis deals with collecting and curating evidence about the ways human societies shape themselves (in the given contexts), and describes approaches, strategies, tactics, rituals, relationships, networks, emotional expressions, gestures, economies, dynamics, ecosystems and their relative equilibria, both current state and in transformation;

    • in all sections, information is provided about background, the socio-technical settings, the possible actors and stakeholders, and an expanded context for the stories that are about to be told;

    • the output of this stage is a visual map, a report and an extensive knowledge base.  This output can assume different forms, depending on the context and circumstances;

  • The Story Setup

    • it is the instantiation or launching of the story;

    • it describes in general terms the future scenarios which we aim to describe, at the same time limiting the scope by excluding certain areas which will not be examined, and by opening up the domains which will be the focus of the research;

    • its output is under the form of a narrative, expressed in visual and textual terms;

  • The Concept(s)

    • each possible future is examined by describing it conceptually (often abstract or diagrammatic sketches) as well as with a draft narrative which highlights the main modalities and sets up the development of the story;

  • The Story Functions

    • each story is designed according to a formalised schema (usually the three-acts of Setup, Conflict and Resolution), to provide consistent, solid narratives;

    • for each story, the basic story functions are created, highlighting the core theme of each narrative, which describe in growing detail the “stories of the chosen future”;

    • multiple stories can be created for each concept, even following different paths among the identified possibilities;

    • the output of this stage consists of the list of central events for each story, as well as a diagrammatic representation of their relations and those carried by the different (and alternative) storylines being developed;

  • The Event Maps

    • each story is expanded into an Event Map;

    • each Event Map is a diagram in which the main parts of the stories are grouped into circles, starting from the core (the main phases of each story) as well as some additional events which might be added to balance the story logic;

    • satellite events, alternative paths and time-based items are added to the Map to create context, and to enhance the world-building characteristics of this stage;

    • each story described in this way constitutes a world, giving a full sense of context and of credibility;

    • the output of this stage is constituted by the Event Maps diagrams and by the pertinent documentation;

  • The Story Maps

    • the Event Maps are transformed into sketches;

    • the representation in sketch form increases granularity and makes each Event more concrete;

    • this phase allows for some iteration with the previous ones, as its concreteness gives immediate evidence about the balance of the stories and about the necessity to re-factor them at one of the previous stages;

    • the output of this stage consists of the sketches and the pertinent documentation;

  • The Design Fictions

    • Simulacra

      • the objective of this phase is to create a simulacrum, a credible, possibly functional, “prototype from the near future” (a pre-totype), through product design and communication design, working across different media;

      • the objective is “world building”, creating not only “the object” (or service, or idea, or …) but also to create the world around it, for its credibility;

      • we answer the questions “What would be the world like, if there was object X? What would be in it? How would people behave?”, and we try to implement as much as we can about the answer using different media;

      • the final result should create a state of “suspended (dis)belief” in which it is impossible (or at least somewhat difficult) to decide if the “object” is real or fake, as there are multiple clues and evidences that point to its existence;

      • the simulacrum (and its state of suspended dis-belief) is the tool which we use to “shift the perception of the possible”, and to start the global dialogue around the possibilities for transforming human societies, thus triggering the performative dimension of Near Future Design;

    • Transmedia Narratives

      • the output of the Design Fiction phase, thus, is a set of Transmedia Narratives implementing the simulacrum for the story;

      • the Transmedia Narrative is a multi-modal storytelling technique which is able to move and combine the effects of multiple media, from physical objects, to websites, urban interventions and more.


UPDATE: These below are the slides from the workshop: