The Big Plan

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” – Albert Einstein

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.

So what is the future of truth? What collective stories are we telling about history, digital data and scientific research? Or is the age of collective illusion dead? These singular questions will be explored on Feb. 28 – Mar. 2, 2013, when Arizona State University hosts Emerge – an unparalleled campus-wide event uniting artists, engineers, designers, futurists, scientists, humanists and makers to build, draw, write and rethink the future of the human species and the environments that we share. And then we’ll celebrate. Arizona State University, – the nation’s largest university – is determined to break down the barriers between those making the future and those thinking about what it all means. 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? We will explore the futures of truth through a series of performances, conversations and beautiful lies. Join artists, engineers, designers, futurists, scientists, humanists and makers in a festival of cognitive dissonance that explores our own complex entanglements with truth, reason and meaning.

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