Concept developer

Wired italia - The map of the future

The italian magazine WIRED asked us to draw a map based on the scenarios developed by the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto to help the reader in the net of ideas and hypothesis built by 7000 influencers from all over the world.

Format: 82x27 Print (Gatefold)

The editor in chief of Wired Italia, Riccardo Luna, asked us to visualize the complex net of ideas and assumptions the Institute for the Future produced. Even though predicting the future is not a game, a game is exactly what the Institute for the Future used to answer these dilemmas: 8 October 2008, Jane McGonigal, reasearcher at IFTF launched Superstruct (Su` per`struct ‘vt 1.To build over or upon another structure; to erect upon a foundation), a massively multiplayer online role playing game that outlined the world of the future, thanks to the ideas and the collaboration of hundreds of users.

“The goal of the project is to engage a broad public in considering the dilemmas we face in our current, everyday lives and think together about resolutions that go beyond the familiar ways of dealing with problems” (Jane Mc Gonigal)

The research for alternative solutions – hence going beyond the more familiar approaches – also requires an alternative visualization.

We began analyzing the keywords provided by IFTF, at the base of which there are 7 key ideas: they are the guiding strategies for the creation of each new “superstructure”, and like satellites they revolve around our future world. They are:

Amplified optimism
Scale extreme
Adaptive emotion
Simulation as game
Collaboration environment
Reverse shortage

Under these, the verbal level, connecting words and concepts that make up the network of superstructures, divided into 5 macrocategories – policy, infrastructure, environment, economy and society- which in turn can operate in three areas:

Networks and individuals
Tools and knowledge
Practices and projects

The map is designed to overlap a semantic level (the network of keywords and groups of ideas) to the allegorical plan of the illustration. Each concept presented in the first level has been reconstructed through an illustration in the second one: the result is a collage drawing influences from the imaginary of the fifties. In this way mapping the future becomes an illustrated game where retro-futuristic imagery references are linked with words and concepts that foresee our future.

From left to right are presented the macro-categories formed by the supersturctures, from the most abstract, like policy and infrastructure, to those which concern more closely in the everyday lives, like economy and society. Amid the environment as a meeting point between abstract and current, with new ideas about global geoengineering and translocalism.

Even for the composition of the collage we want to keep the same sense of reading to level the narration of the world to come: indeed on the left the illustration starts with the abstraction of the map, then move gradually through info-graphics and illustration until reaching collage and photo on the right.

The map, thanks to the layer of allegorical illustrations, not only wants to disseminate the ideas generated during the project ‘Superstruct’ but also provide a starting point, a common imaginary, to start discussion and analysis on the world to come.

In this spirit, the meeting in Rome “A map for the next ten years,” within the cycle of meetings CapitaleDigitale organized by Wired, founding Rome Europe and Telecom Italy, has fully exploited the possibilities of this tool engaging in an interesting discussion on future developments of technology.

Hi-res version
Zoomable widget
Hi-res sketch

This effort has been developed by DensityDesign and shared day after day with (in random order): Donato Ricci, Luca Masud, Michele Graffieti, Mario Porpora