Emerge 2015 Research Study

Investigators: Megan Halpern, Brenda Trinidad, Carlo Allende, Ed Finn, Ruth Wylie

We would like to better understand your experiences at Emerge, in part, to create more engaging projects like Emerge in the future, and in part to understand the relationship between presenters and audiences. Our findings will be reported internally to build the next Emerge event, and will also be published as original research in peer reviewed journals.

We were observing Emerge 2015 and asking you about your experiences. We will be wearing “Research” buttons to identify ourselves as members of the research team. You may see us walking around with cameras or audio recorders, and we may ask you a few questions. If you wish to opt out of the study, please find a member of the “research team” and ask them for a yellow sticker. The staff will give you an unmarked yellow sticker that indicates you should not be approached for research purposes. You are free to decide whether you wish answer our questions. There is no penalty for declining to answer our questions. You are also free to decline to answer any particular question but to continue the interview. If you would like to speak with us more about your experience, you can contact us at emergeresearch@asu.edu and we will contact you for a more detailed interview.

In most cases, our research will not result in the collection of your personal information. Because you are participating in a public event, you may appear in photographs taken by researchers.

Who can I talk to?

If you have questions, concerns, or complaints, talk to the research team at emergeresearch@asu.edu.

This research has been reviewed and approved by the Social Behavioral IRB. You may talk to them at (480) 965-6788 or by email at research.integrity@asu.edu if:

  • Your questions, concerns, or complaints are not being answered by the research team.
  • You cannot reach the research team.
  • You want to talk to someone besides the research team.
  • You have questions about your rights as a research participant.
  • You want to get information or provide input about this research.
Posted in IRB

The Oracle


After you’ve been dazzled and challenged by all the other Emerge 2015 “visitations from the future,” you will of course have a head full of questions. Luckily, we’ve arranged a visitor from 2040 – The Oracle of South Scottsdale. This entity, this creature, already knows what our futures have turned out to be. And the Oracle knows what were the roles of our present-day choices and values in creating this future. So this is your big chance. As with any good Oracle, you get to ask one – and only one – question about the future. So make it the best, and most important question you can possibly imagine. Think hard. And listen hard to the answers. For sometimes Oracles can be cryptic. We will be collecting your provocative questions – and the Oracle’s responses – on Google Glass for future generations to ponder. (The Oracle sometimes responds to the name Brad Allenby.)

Posted in Visitations

The Happiness Project

Photograph by tinyfroglet on flickr "So Happy Together" CC License

Created by Scott Cloutier
Sustainability researchers and community members explore how we can work together to build happier neighborhoods through sustainability interventions.

Posted in Visitations

The Deep Time Photo Lab


One hundred years ago, Phoenix had fewer residents than Apache Junction today. Transportation was still primarily by horseback, although the steam locomotive had made a big difference.   There wasn’t a single high-rise on the Valley horizon back then. Yet over the next century, the region will be transformed even more radically. Visit the Deep Time Photo Lab to see into the future – and change what will happen beyond your own lifespan. Laboratory director Jonathon Keats will show you how to make a camera with a hundred-year-long exposure, for you to hide in the city, invisibly monitoring changes to the urban landscape between now and 2115. You might think of your camera as a black box that monitors local building decisions, making everyone alive today accountable to Arizonans not yet born. Or you may think of it as a collaboration with future generations on choices and values that will provide for the greater good. Either way, this is your chance to take part in the century ahead. Attendees of Emerge 2115 are depending on your participation.

Posted in Visitations

The Future Fairy Tales, With Legos

Photograph by Rupert Ganzer https://www.flickr.com/photos/loop_oh/3371868079 used via CC License

Created by Camilla Jensen and Tamara Christensen
Create your own fairy tale from the future in an epic Lego build led by experts in the art and science of Lego Serious Play.

Posted in Visitations

You Have Been Inventoried

Photograph by Kevin Dooley, used under CC License https://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/8562448300/

When it’s possible for everyone to know who you’re talking to, what you’re touching, where you are and who you are, how do you really feel about that? At Emerge 2015, you’ll find out. In You Have Been Inventoried, Eric Kingsbury – the Arizona futures-oriented marketing creative – produces a networked physical experience in which you can be explicitly cataloged and tracked using RFID and display technology. You will see yourself and everyone around you – simultaneously, suddenly, and subtly – as known objects within a system to which information can be added that everyone can see. Through these real systems – originally created for commerce – we challenge your traditional notions of your human relationship to all your surroundings, raising important questions of freedom of choice, and the value of privacy.

Posted in Visitations


Abraxa Dress Night

What do you call an iconic, elaborately-costumed slow-mo human “statue” magically projecting utopias, in combination with dozens of flickering images of utopian concepts, raw light, and collages of utopian experiments and dreams. You call it Abraxa, created by the renowned ASU artist Rachel Bowditch in collaboration with Emerge 2015 and InFlux. Utopians can be seen as visionaries representing the noblest aspirations of humanity. The utopian impulse can be seen since the beginning of the written word – the desire to dream of a better world. Often these utopias emerge as a radically different response to current societies. Rachel’s focus is on the concept of the “ideal city” – an ideal, utopic world that features an historical silhouette with a futuristic twist—a blend of old and new choices and values. In performance and installation.

Posted in Visitations

Artwork Forge

Photo by Brown Family Album, used under CC License https://www.flickr.com/photos/brown_family_album/4607229186/

Have you ever seen a whirring collection of gizmos the size of a truck create a painting that appears to be produced on the spot though the choices and values humans have made online? You will. Emerge 2015, in collaboration with Scottsdale Public Art and ASU techies, features this creation by the artist Toby Fraley. You walk up to this art installation and drop in a couple of quarters. A rough block of wood pops into the machine. You hear the whirring of motors and, as you peer through a window, sawdust flies and blades spin. Meanwhile – behold – this visitation from the future seems to be scouring the internet, seeking what is popular among our choices and values at that very moment. A screen rapidly displays a feed of words and images as the machine seems to think about what it should paint. Then, through the next window, you peer into a paint-splattered chamber where pencils move over freshly cut and sanded wood, before paintbrushes move in and do their work.  Finally a 4-inch by 6-inch painting drops down a chute, for you to take home and forever contemplate. Is this the future of art?

Posted in Visitations

Future Design Studio

Photo by jritts, used under CC License https://www.flickr.com/photos/jritts/406133692/

Come design the future. What does a parking ticket look like in 2030? What will be your most valued reading object in 2050?  Instead of a leash, what will you use to walk your dog in 2065? At the Future Design Studio, we will help you think through what kind of invention you want n in the future. We will help you build a low fidelity prototype that will be added to our Digital Future Artifacts Archive. Your concoction may also play a role in the Future Design Studio Improv Hour, during which professional improv actors build scenes around these visitations from the future. What will become of your future artifact? Will it save or destroy the world? Come play in the Studio of Megan Halpern and company.

Posted in Visitations

Ars Robotica

Baxter the robot

Start with Baxter. That’s a human-friendly Rethink Robotics industrial robot that looks like a hulking fullback on a golf cart. Add dancers and audience members. You teach Baxter how to move – as “naturally” as we do.   What you then get at Emerge 2015 is a team of artists and roboticists creating performance art and a laboratory working session that imagines positive – though not simplistic – futures for human/robot relations. Ars Robotica is a multi-year project that brings together artists, scientists, designers, and engineers to advance research in robotics and to produce creative performances. It’s led by Lance Gharavi and students and faculty at ASU’s School of Film, Dance + Theatre. In partnership with Srikanth Saripalli and his crowd at the School of Earth + Space Exploration. For Emerge 2015 you – the audience – gets involved in conducting on-site research in performance. Our roboticists want to learn about the performance of materials, technologies, processes, and systems. Our theater collaborators are just as concerned with the performance of organic autonomous systems – you.

Posted in Visitations

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