Villa Futuro

This a digital archive based on the artistic research of speculative digital narratives that critically engage with digital culture and the future of marginal spaces.

This website is part of the ongoing project Villa Futuro: Artistic research with digital media around the speculative story of a slum in the middle of nowhere by Gonzalo H. Rodríguez at the scientific/artistic Ph.D. program of the Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg.

Here you can accompany and participate in the process of developing storytelling and find out about some artistic proposals, activities, sketches, and images related to this project.

Do you want to know more about this project? Visit the links below:

About

Prelude:

About

Villa Futuro is an artistic research and an ongoing Ph.D. project by media artist Gonzalo H. Rodríguez at the Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg. It is inspired by the autonomous, communal urban cosmos and high level of social mobilization of the inhabitants of marginal cities in Villa El Salvador (Peru), Ocupaçao Izidora (Brazil), and Kowloon Walled City (Hong Kong) among others.

The project deals with digital media, contemporary narrative practices, and marginalized urban collectivities in precarious living conditions. Emphasizing the epistemological potential of artistic research, the project investigates narrative mechanisms in digital media. It critically unfolds the artistic process and methodology theoretically by relating them to philosophical concepts such as the rhizome, figures of possibilities, and forms of speculative narrative. In addition, the project engages with an artistic tradition in Latin America that approaches marginalized spaces of living as cartographies of disruption that challenge received narratives and concepts of territoriality. In this sense, the project takes an interdisciplinary and intertextual methodological approach interweaving scholarly analysis and artistic practice. The aim is to give shape to a fictive urban space called “Villa Futuro”, which addresses assemblies of the marginalized in their social, cultural, and technological aspects through transmedia storytelling, while at the same time, reflecting on the critical possibilities of digital media for the artistic research.

On this website, the transmedia story of Villa Futuro is formulated as a form of narrative cartography. With the use of digital media, the story is creating the narrative map of a fictive “periphery” where we shift to a threshold position of affection, reflection, and proposition. To this end, the storytelling is developing four media assemblages that are narratively interwoven: a web-based participative platform (Nomad Settlers -in development from 2022 to 2025), a mixed-media installation (Liminal City -planned for 2023), a series of audiovisual lecture-performances (Amadea -planned for 2023-2024), and a VR essay film (News From (Now)here planned for 2024-2025).

By handling digital media not just as cutting-edge technologies but as narrative networks that provoke critical connections, Villa Futuro is claiming a mechanism of recontextualization in the sphere of appearance for the technological means and marginalized urban spaces. By fictionalizing reality through the development of a story that affirms the capacity of any person to reconsider different realities as connected, rather than divided, Villa Futuro is asking about the extent to which digital media can offer narrative and non-site-specific frameworks for the artistic research to imagine how to live together. And by doing so, we propose marginal spaces as liminal spaces of disruption, re-connections, and possible collectivities. 

So then, by visiting this website you are accessing a narrative platform. It is structured in a participation-based storytelling development, which means that you can contribute  creating the story of the slum Villa Futuro

If you want to know more about the artistic research or be part of the creation of this story take a look at the media assemblages.

Nomad Settlers

a web-based participative story about the beginnings of a marginalized community in the near future called Villa Futuro.

The critical speculation with precarious urban communities contrasts the idea of the “nomad” with the idea of forced displacement and resettlement. “Nomad Settlers” is the denomination for a group forming among displaced people after the climate catastrophe. This group seeks forms of solidarity-based livelihoods and non-violent forms of resistance against a background of extreme deprivation. Within this speculative scenario, the story connects the struggles of similarly marginalized communities in the present with the role of political awareness and creativity in the construction of a shared future is highlighted.

If you want to participate, please select one of the sections of the story below. If you are new here we recommend you watch the introductory video before you continue. Although the sections are developed in chronological order, please, feel free to skip to and choose any section you prefer. Your answers (which are anonymous and confidential) will help the story to be developed a bit further.

How does it work?:

Here you can participate in the creation of a fictive temporary settlement by putting yourself in a situation of displacement. Think about the conditions in which you are put on and navigate the sections below. All collected answers from the sections will be filtered to find coincidences that can give some hints about the progression of the story. To this end, digital images and videos will be continuously created and published. Based on these results, new questionnaires and new digital material can be created so that the timeline of the story is expanded. Then, the process is repeated manually at regular intervals.

Depending on the quantity and quality of responses, the complexity of the story will grow over time. The narrative task is to create the fictional settlement of Villa Futuro collectively and little by little as we participate in the community narrative.

Sections:

Introduction – Arrival

Day 1 – Water Supply

Day 2 – Food Provision

Day 3 – Housing construction

Day 4 – Private and communal property

Day 5 – under construction

back to the media assemblages

Introduction: Arrival

https://youtu.be/YzfFGIfRp10
You can play the video and rotate in the 360° space by positioning the cursor of your mouse over the display, grabbing the image and moving the cursor in direction you like.

After a long journey we’ve finally arrived hoping to settle at last.

Please select just one item.
Please think on one single problem as your priority.
Please write roughly one or some ideas you can think of.
Please list some possible problems related with the provision of the item you selected in the first question.
Please write roughly one or some ideas you can think of.
Please list some issues of potential conflict you can think of.
Please write roughly one or some ideas you can think of.

Your answers will be processed to further develop the story of Villa Futuro. If you want to continue to the next parts please click here:

Day 1 – Water Supply

Day 2 – Food Provision

Liminal City

is a mixed-media installation that empirically deals with questions around nomadic territorialization, marginal environments, material, and social entanglements. The installation is conceived as a sculptural city model that represents the fictive “Liminal City.” The model is built out of the material waste of digital devices such as old batteries, broken motherboards, wasted mobiles, burnt wires, etc. The story of “Liminal City” can be experienced through the interaction of an augmented reality application with the city model.

Following this, the project builds two levels of perception:

Installation sketch.

The first perception level plays with the physical composition of material remnants and their transformation into components of the city model. For this, the artist recycles unusable electronic material on the streets of the city assuming the role of a “cartonero” (Latin American term for “rubbish collector”). All recycled material must be classified and resignified as the main physical element of the model. After this process, the city model of “Liminal City” can be built step by step.

Installation sketch.

Thereafter, on the second level of perception, the city model will be enhanced by an AR App. With the help of the AR App, people can wander around the model obtaining information about “Liminal City” whilst associating the projected information with singular elements in the model.

With this interaction, “Liminal City” highlights a contradiction between a playful use of digital information and the physical electronic waste used by the city model. Thus, “Liminal City” is an invitation to reflect on subjects such as technological globalization, environmental marginality, and social living spaces.

All the computer-generated visual and auditive information enhancing city model is based on the project “Villa Futuro: Artistic research with digital media around the fictive story of a slum in the middle of nowhere” by Gonzalo H. Rodríguez at the scientific/artistic Ph.D. program of the Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg.

An exhibition with this installation is planned for 2023 at MATJÖ – Raum für Kunst in Cologne, Germany.

back to the media assemblages