Neo-Futuristic Walks: Wetlands


Date: Saturday, 26 August 2023

Time: 14:00-17:00
- Low Tide

Beginning point: Rotherhithe

About Neo-futuristic Walks: Wetlands

Neo-futuristic Walks is a series of “walkable” city inspections – a project initiated in 2020 by two spatial designers – Aušra Česnauskytė and Goda Verikaitė, currently based in The Hague. Through the act of walking, neo-futurists explore primal bodily experience through unfolding new relationships in and with urban environments. They employ context-sensitive speculative scenarios to prepare for inescapable futures and provoke new urban visions.

In 2023, Neo-futuristic Walks entered new phase of research and collaboration, called Wetlands, focusing on 4 cities facing the threat of floods – London, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

In London, experimental illustrator and researcher Laura Copsey was commissioned to organise a walkshop aligned to the neo-futuristic manifesto. By inspecting each city on foot, together we created a laboratory of climate fictions, with participants in each city invited to envision their relationships between people and water in the urban environments that are at risk of climate breakdown and flooding.

Neo-futuristic Walks: Wetlands /// London

Beginning on the shores of the river Thames at low tide, this speculative walk explored the physical and imagined landscape 3 of future islands, that could emerge, should the Thames barrier ever fail, in the context of rising sea levels.

During the walkshop, we created new climate fiction, by experimenting with concepts of kinship to become speculative islanders of three future territories, reflecting on our values, resilience and resources. Participants encountered the river first hand (via ferry) and through mudlarked artefacts from the foreshore to consider London’s deep watery history. We played with our internal and external topographies in the present and our hopes and resources for a collective future.

The walk involved a range of tasks to support the groups to interact and improvise to create their community and write their future histories. This included trading resources participation in a collective water ritual, a silent walk to a hydrophone field recording by Action Pyramid and decolonising a cake on top of a multi-storey car park following a frantic search for higher ground. We asked participants to come with an open mind and the spirit of adventure, which they did.

The project Neo-futuristic Walks: Wetlands is funded by the Creative Industries Fund NL. Project partner in London: The Walkative Society