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If We Ruled the World II

If We Ruled the World II

Sep 22, 2021 - Oct 27, 2021

If We Ruled the World II

Time Wed Sep 22 2021 at 08:00 pm to Wed Oct 27 2021 at 10:00 pm

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If We Ruled the World II | Online Event | If We Ruled the World II
School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe presents a 6wk online class dedicated to exploring world building and visualizing futures in 3D

About this Event

How can we imagine and visualize new societies and future scenarios using speculative design and 3D world building techniques?

/ Six-week Live* Online class begins 22. September ends 27. October

/ Every Wednesday, 8pm-10pm, CET

/ Small class of participants

Course Description

‘If We Ruled the World’ is a strategy exercise in which participants rethink global systems using tools from speculative design and worldbuilding. The live session refers to the Buckminster Fuller’s World Game, proposed in 1961, for the era of the global crisis and economic emergency. Fuller proposed the World Game as an information system that makes the resources around the world visible so they might be acted on.

By adapting ideas from the World Game, we hope to design strategies to address issues related to the ongoing public health situation, labour crisis, and power shifts. Furthermore, we aim to picture future scenarios in 3D to add a visual layer to the discussion.

During the session, the participants will analyze current trends, identify problems and envision what will happen next. They will use Unity as a main tool to create 3D collages that would represent their future scenarios. In the end, they will present their visions to the group to collectively negotiate how our preferable future will look like and discuss strategies that might get us there.

The participants will work in groups. The groups’ configuration will be decided after the first class. The course will be divided into six acts. Every act will start with an introduction to the theoretical concepts of the week and brief Unity technical workshop.

This course is based on a workshop developed by Aliaksandra (Sasha) Smirnova in collaboration with Calum Bowden at Strelka Institute.

In this course you will be introduced to:

Analytical and creative thinking and how to apply speculative design and world-building techniques in strategy design. The final outcome is a world visualization built in Unity. The participants will search for 3D artefacts available on the internet and use Unity as a canvas to create visions of future societies.

Speculative design is a tool, proposed by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, to create not only things but also ideas. They suggest seeing design as a process of addressing big societal issues speculating about how things could be—to open debate and discussion about the kind of future people want and do not want.

World building techniques are tools usually used in creating fantasy worlds. In this course, we will focus more on Liam Young’s approach, which combines speculative design, fiction and reality; we will build our fantasies from the analysis of the current state of the world.

Unity is a free to use, cross-platform games engine, which due to its ease of use and wide support, has become popular among artists. In this workshop, we will learn to use the software as a tool to create 3D visualizations of future societies


Week 1: A moment to get to know each other

This first act is about getting to know each other and learning about everyone’s background and expectations. What brought you to this course? What is it that you hope to learn and practice? We’ll also give a general overview of the course and share examples, and resources. After the first week, we expect participants to divide in groups.

Week 2: Context and trends. Introduction to Unity

The second act is aimed to set up the context. The participants will work in smaller groups. Each group will choose a “layer” (e.g. healthcare, labour, or border layer, etc.) to research current trends related to it. They will look for 3D elements that will represent and constitute their layer. Then introduce the Unity UI and learn how to import our 3D assets.

Week 3: Probable futures

During the third act, the students will explore connections between different trends identifying problems. The main question is: what will most likely happen in the future if nothing changes? The discussion will be followed by some examples of using lighting and materials to help bring life to 3D scenes.

Week 4: Possible

The fourth act will be dedicated to speculating on possible scenarios. After analysing current trends and discussing where they can lead us to, what futures can we imagine? Based on the previous sessions and collected artefacts, the participants will learn how to animate scene properties as well as a virtual camera to create recordings.

Week 5: Technical session: Unity Q&A

The fifth week will be a moment where the participants can ask technical Unity questions that would help to finalize the final pieces.

Week 6: Final presentations and discussion

The last week will be dedicated to the final presentation of each group’s visions. After the presentation, we will take time to discuss the outcome of the course and negotiate preferable futures and strategies to get us there.

Note: each class will be followed by “group homework”. The expended amount of time that participants might spend outside the class will be 1-2 h per week.

Who is this course for?

The course is designed for artists, students, professionals, and anyone interested in speculative scenario planning and design fiction. It will be interesting for people who want to analyze current socio-economic and political situations, learn how to think both critically and creatively and work in groups negotiating future scenarios. Creating 3D visualization for future worlds is an important part of the course; we think it is crucial to materialize abstract ideas in a particular outcome. No experience necessary.

The classes are live?*

Classes are 'live' meaning that you can directly interact with the instructor as well as with the other participants from around the world. Classes will also be recorded for playback in case you are unable to attend for any reason. For specific questions, please email info[at]

about tickets

Tickets for this class are currently available via Eventbrite. If you would like to avoid Eventbrite fees, please email us for direct payment options. We kindly ask that all “pay-what-you-can” students register through Eventbrite. Due to reduced staffing, we’re unable to handle specific payment requests for these registrations.

about vat

For tax purposes, we need to include the 19% VAT on top of ticket price for people living within the EU. IF YOU LIVE IN THE EU AND HAVE A VAT NUMBER— IT IS VAT ZERO! WE ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO HAVE AND PROVIDE THIS VAT TAX NUMBER. In order to utilise this feature at checkout, under Registration Type & Tax Receipt Information, select Business (which as a freelancer you technically are), then enter in your USt.ID. If you have any questions, feel free to email us.

about solidarity

We realise we're living in uncertain times. During this time, we are offering a limited number of pay-what-you-can solidarity tickets for this online class. These are reserved for women, POC, and LGBTQ+ who would otherwise be unable to attend. We are a small organisation with no outside funding and like many, we are also in survival mode and we ask you to consider this when making your donation. For more information, see the FAQ page here.

We kindly ask that all pay-what-you-can students register through Eventbrite. Due to reduced staffing, we’re unable to handle specific payment requests for these registrations.


Aliaksandra (Sasha) Smirnova

Aliaksandra (Sasha) Smirnova is an artist with a background in architecture and urban research. Through her artistic practice, she explores political, social and emotional dimensions of emerging technologies working with digital and time-based media, live performances and interactive installations. Her works have been presented and shown at Strelka Institute and Moscow Urban Forum (Moscow); Royal Academy of Arts (London); MAO (Ljubljana); IAM Weekend, Haimney Gallery, Mutek Festival (Barcelona); BloxHUB (Copenhagen); CTM festival (Berlin); Färgfabriken (Stockholm); Vapaan Taiten Tila and Black Box (Helsinki); Haishang Cultural Centre of Shanghai, and others.

Meredith Thomas

Meredith is an artist and creative technologist based in Berlin. He studied biomedical engineering and science communication at Imperial College London. After moving to Berlin he became interested in creative uses of technology. His work now focuses on intersections between artistic tradition and practice and new technology.

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Tickets for If We Ruled the World II can be booked here.

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Ticket Information Ticket Price
Artist/Student EU-based (Full-time) EUR 175
Artist/Student NON-EU (Full-time) EUR 175
Freelancer EU-based EUR 195
Freelancer NON-EU EUR 195
Professional EU-based EUR 215
Professional NON-EU EUR 215
Generous Supporter EU-based EUR 255
Generous Supporter NON-EU EUR 255
Pay What You Can - Solidarity Ticket EU-based Free
Pay What You Can - Solidarity Ticket NON-EU Free
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Date & Time

Wed Sep 22 2021 at 08:00 pm to Wed Oct 27 2021 at 10:00 pm
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