Global Friction: How Do We Change What We Cannot See?
COVID-19 is arguably the first “Global Friction” event. While it amplifies much of society’s “preexisting conditions” like inequality, polarization and mistrust, it may also provide some lessons for our slow and insufficient response to climate change.
The talk will offer a design-based framework of mapping friction and flow as a way to address invisible looming changes that are either too small (virus scale) too large (planetary scale) for us to grasp. It draws on previous futures work and methodologies like anticipation, thick presents and backcasting.
Some examples would include foresight work on sustainable and equitable transportation policies, as well as artistic interventions like the Sea Change speculative project exploring the past and possible futures of geo-engineering the sea levels of the Mediterranean.
The framework presented is currently developed as a book on Friction and Flow – a design theory of change. It would offer a new perspective on the unique moment we’re in – the global friction event of the COVID-19 Pandemic, how it changes our space of possibilities and how it requires new anticipatory tools to amplify our agency towards what lies ahead of the curve.