Future machines
in The machinic city
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Chapter 6 examines the role of performance art to speculate on future urban living. Blast Theory’s app-based project Karen is discussed as an example of how performance art adapts to emerging technologies. This is followed by an account of Dante or Die’s User Not Found, as an example of a participatory performance that examines the future consequences of a contemporary technology (social media) while using this technology as a key component to support the narrative; the participants are provided with mobile phones preloaded with fictional social media apps. Blast Theory’s 2097: We Made Ourselves Over is discussed as an example of a performance art project that conceptualises the future of city living through multiple outputs: live performance, film screenings and a downloadable app, which extend the duration and reach of the performance. The work of architect Liam Young is discussed as an example of speculating on the future of urban living through an ‘exaggerated present’, where the future of contemporary developments – such as smart cities built from scratch – is teased out from the current status of these developments and their interactive modes. Young emphasises the increasing autonomy granted to the technologies that mediate urban life and reflects on its potential outcomes. China’s Social Credit System project is analysed as an example of this outcome, while the importance of performance art is emphasised as a counterpoint to prescriptive future narratives that are based on the model of the machine-city.

The machinic city

Media, performance and participation

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