Interrogating Speculative Futures
A workshop on the politics of imagining a future with(out) chronic illness
19–20 July 2021

Mesoamerican Futurisms: How can Extended Reality (XR) Cultivate Human and More Than Human Transformations in Mexico City?

North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership Award (2021-2024)
PhD in the School of Digital Arts (SODA) – Manchester Metropolitan University

Collaborating with digital arts organisation FutureEverything, this practice-based PhD investigates how extended reality (XR) can operate as an immersive methodology to cultivate human (and more-than-human) transformations in Mexico City. Reframing XR as a shapeshifting methodology to co-imagine Mesoamerican Futurisms in Mexico City, this practice-based PhD will harness multiple perspectives of the past to re-envisage and disrupt futures more inclusive of its inhabitants.

Cultivating XR as a research practice, I will experiment with comics, film and immersive XR installation, developing a multisensory language particular to the signs, symbols and iconographies of Aztec, Mayan and Nahua Futurisms. This will help to speculate and re-imagine Mexico City; incorporating indigenous knowledge(s) as a strategy to understand complex systems in relation to societal, environmental and political justice (Moreman 2011; Barad 2007).

This transdisciplinary project draws upon decolonising theories from the ontological turn in Anthropology and Design (Escobar 2020; Fry 2020; Kohn 2014) and responds to the critical need for speculative research into how future cities can shapeshift and adapt to radical transformations in environments, cultures and subjectivities (Dunn 2021; Bell et al. 2020; Paradies 2020; Keane et al. 2017; Haraway 2016; Keating & Merenda 2013).