Forging the world we want to live in requires social imagination, the capacity to envision alternatives to what is, together remaking reality. What if instead of another holiday commemorating the past, we took time to envision and celebrate the future?
THE ACTION: From October 10-18, 2015, the people-powered U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, along with dozens of partner organizations, will dispatch “Emissaries from the Future” to create pop-up Imagination Stations in public spaces nationwide. Through a range of creative activities, Emissaries will engage passersby in exercising social imagination, envisioning the world we wish to inhabit and—looking back from the future—celebrating the work we did to bring it into being. The resulting texts, images, videos, and more will all be uploaded to an online platform, yielding a crowd-sourced vision of the future, inspiring art, policy, and community action.
Stations can be up for one day, the entire eight-day stretch, or anything in between. They can be movable (think ice cream truck), tiny (think lemonade stand), ad hoc (think of a circle of soapboxes in a vacant lot), or elaborately planned (think art installation in a gallery space). They can pop up at pre-existing meetings, markets, or performances, or offer their own programming, shining a spotlight on the people, projects, and solutions moving us from imagination to action, toward a more just and sustainable world. Whether or not they spend time at an Imagination Station, individuals will be able to visit the #DareToImagine web portal to engage in this act of collective imagination and connect with partner organizations.
WHY: Imagination is our birthright: everyone owns this power and everything created must first be imagined. But too often, we’re persuaded to believe our voices don’t count or that the future is determined by a powerful few. In these times, social imagination is a radical act, restoring personal and collective agency, shifting dominant narratives, and affirming that all of us make the future. When we have the audacity to dream in public, when we begin to unleash imagination and turn it into action, we can move the world.
Questions? Contact USDAC Action Maestr@ Kate McNeely