Past Emerges

Emerge 2018: Luna City

In March 2018, Emerge transformed the state-of-the-art Galvin Playhouse on ASU’s Tempe campus into a rich, immersive experience grounded in space-science research and the inspirational vision of our Writer at Large, Kim Stanley Robinson. Visitors could see, hear, touch and play the future in our unfolding story of human habitation beyond Planet Earth.

Our immersive experience transported guests to an alternate world: Luna City, a bustling metropolis on the Moon in the year 2175. Luna City’s singular history and authentic reality is a synthesis of art and space science, a gateway into a complex vision of a human future lived in a place separate from yet intimately connected with our own.

Emerge 2017: Frankenstein

The festival’s 2017 theme is Frankenstein, a 200-year old novel that still motivates us to think critically about our creative agency and scientific responsibility. This year EMERGE invites visitors into a house of wonder filled with speculative technologies, fortune tellers, music and film, and performative experiments that blur the boundaries between art and science. The festival revisits the past in order to reframe our sense of the present and inspire imagination of plausible futures, and asks what we can learn today by looking at emerging science and technology through the lens of art. Held concurrently with Night of the Open Door, during which ASU invites the public into its laboratories and studios, EMERGE focuses a critical eye on the future implications of research taking place on campus and around the world. Visit us at the University Club and the Piper Lawn February 25th, from 3-9PM for installations and performances designed for all ages.

Emerge 2016: The Future of Sport 2040

A festival of athletic, artistic and scientific visitations from the future featuring theatre, improvisation, interactive experiences, design prototypes, & multimedia performances.

What will sport look like in 2040? What would you like it to be? How can we steer development of the many elements of such a broad enterprise as “sport” to ensure it reflects our values, and desires and answers the cravings for competition and collaboration so common in our species?

Emerge 2015: The Future of Choices and Values

How do we decide what futures we want? What do those choices say about our values as a civilization?

Dancing robots. Google Glass theatre. Wearable electronic utopias. Cameras that record in deep time for 100 years. Fine art created by algorithms. Emerge is a festival of artistic and scientific visitations from the future featuring performance, improvisation, games, dance, hands-on opportunities to design and build the future, and a multimedia performance by Radiolab co-creator Jad Abumrad!

Emerge 2014: Carnival of the Future

Individuals have never had so much power – from Edward Snowden challenging nation states, to Bill Gates personally deciding to eradicate polio. Medicine is personalized, learning platforms are personalized, and entrepreneurs run global businesses out of their smartphones.

At the same time, individuals have become nothing more than tiny motes in networked systems that are so staggering in complexity as to be beyond understanding, much less control. The idea of individual human agency seems fanciful in a world of Big Data and ubiquitous surveillance.

Emerge 2014 challenges engineers, artists, scientists, designers, story tellers, ethicists, humanists, makers and futurists to explore questions of individuality, autonomy and freedom, as well as control, automation and facelessness.

Emerge 2013: The Future of Truth

We understand the world through stories. Our stories may be rooted in rigorous fact or unbounded imagination but, being incomplete, they are always lies. Many are useful, however, because humans are pattern-seeking animals. Stories are the way we make sense of a complex world. We build our very selves through the stories that make sense to us – that we chose to believe.

At what level of complexity did our truths dissolve into today’s noise and static? When did the strange truths of the 1950’s – “Our Friend the Atom,” or Popular Mechanics’ “flying cars” – become today’s postmodern pastiche: one truth from column A, two from column B – think “Blade Runner” or the “lonely crowd” wandering in different directions together while glued to their iPhone? What constitutes knowledge when archives become wikis and convictions become truthiness?

Emerge 2012: Artists + Scientists Redesign the Future

Global leaders from industry and creative practice will join distinguished ASU faculty and talented students for hands-on workshops as well as the Digital Culture Festival which includes exhibits, interactive shows and live presentations. ASU and Emerge are proud to present a line-up of world class keynote speakers for the conference-closing keynotes session including noted writers, designers and futurists such as Stewart Brand (The Whole Earth Discipline), Bruce Sterling (The Difference Engine, Beyond the Beyond), Sherry Turkle (Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other), Bruce Mau (Incomplete Manifesto for Growth, Massive Change Network), Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, Reamde) and ASU President Michael Crow.

Emerge aims to present some of the futures being created in ASU labs and use these as the fuel for reflecting on what kind of future do we want to make? This is our exciting, mind-boggling question. Faced with the accelerating pace of change in our lives, Emerge asks: In what directions are science and technology heading? What kinds of societies, cities, homes, even people will they lead to? And, most important, is that what we – the people – want?