A futurecrafting experiment conducted in November 2017. We started from the current conditions and environmental challenges in the region. We asked, “What are the (environmental) critical uncertainties in the American Southwest?” and used the Causal Layered Analysis to probe this question. The result was a backstory of “Shadow Belmont”, a speculative urban centre in Arizona in a parallel present or possible future.

Pero a nosotros no nos dan miedo las ruinas, porque llevamos un mundo nuevo en nuestros corazones. Ese mundo está creciendo en este instante.  Buenaventura Durruti

The three critical uncertainties identified by the participants were heat, water and tech industry. The tables below summarise the causes underlying each of the uncertainties, as well as possible alternatives specific to Shadow Belmont.


Current Alt
Litany Impact, duration & intensity of heat-waves Seeking shade & shadows; Daily & yearly rhythms attuned to desert cycles (Saguaro time)
Causes Climate change; Lifestyle & cities not adapted to desert conditions Shade-based architecture and transport; Situated learning; Government is the medium; Monastic entities for rethinking time
Worldviews Man has dominion over Earth; Right to property and prosperity Long, durational desert abiding (qualitative time); Redesign of the body attuned to the event (alignment, emergence)
Myths Phoenix; Prometheus; Wild West, Desert is a void (purity of wilderness); Noble Savage Desert Attunement; American Gods; Evolutionary architecture; Long temporality of nothingness followed by abrupt change, return to nothingness


Current Alt
Litany Distribution, pricing and quality of water Governance and sharing of a variable water supply as a commons
Causes Weak public infrastructure and political inaction; growing population; economic valuation; water rights and food sovereignty Variable abundance & commons management (stewarding, minding); Feasts & festivals (train social commitment)
Worldviews Individual self-reliance and DIY; libertarian ethos, free market Sociality of a coven/dionisian feast; Social responsibility, commitment and obligation; A spirit/transformational field
Myths Easy Rider, Godless (Guns & God); sufficiency and hubris Carnivàle, Dionisian world, time marked by feasts & silences; blooming, flowing, absorption, ecstasy
traces of water

Tech industry

Current Alt
Litany Impact of the tech industry Impact of Antennae-centric tech industry; Smart-grid & solar; Ambient & responsive; Rise of new attunement instruments
Causes Economic incentives; Risk tolerance; Job creation; “Innovation Valley of the Sun” Collective incentives; Government supports trans-species chanelling, Tech-supported complementary currencies; ecological resource management; Non-representational media and occult/alchemical technologies
Worldviews Faith in technological progress; American pragmatism; Distrust of educated elites; Protestant work ethic; Importance of tangible, visible and measurable contribution to society; Immortality Serial monotasking (commitment to the act); Bringing together heterogeneous systems where medium is the catalyst (biomimicry); Attunement to differentials
Myths (Cowboy) Missionaries, John Ford films, Pioneers, Atomism of the isolated subject; Idleness is the devil's playground; Existential quests and transcendence in the desert City & the city, The Laundry Files, The New Renaissance, dissolving, trance, enthusiasm
The skies above...

… backstory of the shadow belmont world (…)

When we are frightened it can feel like we are trapped under water, under ice. The mythic directive in such a moment is unusual. It says this: go deeper. Attend to the Goddess underneath the unfolding. There’s no restoration without courtship. Don’t smash your knuckles raw on the ice, but dive down further — seemingly the opposite of what everyone on the surface wants you to do. But of course, the diver swims down not just with their terror, but with their stories, their artfulness, their skill. Most importantly, most wonderfully, their love. Ironically, only by diving deeper can the ice melt. Martin Shaw

Saguaro Times

Headlines from “Saguaro Times”, daily newspaper in “Shadow Belmont”

Commons news
  • Government is (still) the medium
  • New century calendar updates approved
  • Water tokens fluctuating
  • Wiccan Goddess elected to government in a landslide victory
  • The governor reveals the new monument “to honor our heroes, the brave homeless”
  • Salt River Shade Route: new public transit “Covered protection everywhere you want to be”
  • Polls suggest that engineering majors at all time low, while ficto-criticism, coven studies and environmental theory at all time high
  • Shade traversal association conscripts snowbirds for summer cycles
Daily attunement
  • Heat attunement classes by Cowboy Missionaries at the Desert Monastery
  • Saguaro monks lead attunement festival preparation
  • The water levels have spoken!
  • Desert attunement center reopens after possession season
  • Death pilgrims return
Our living environment
  • New season shadow patterns emerge
  • Sounds of meteors this spring
  • Architectural structures form ecomimetic shade routes
  • Sprouts cracked Phoenix-Tucson highway creating a new venue the Desert Fest
  • Landscaping co-ops beautify the buffer zone
  • How to feed your bats?
  • Seven Arm Jack still standing after floods
  • Drought cycles lengthening
Time Out in Phoenix
  • Where to see, what to do during this summer migration (with cooking tips)
  • Festival of Shades at the Occult Shade monastery featuring Ethereal Dead
  • Pokemon Go - Capture that Heat!
  • The sweet smell of success: Mesquite
  • Maple syrup - lemon preserve exchange ~ Again!
  • 3rd International Conference on Shade Studies to be held in Phoenix
  • Local native community hosts 12th Annual low-tech cooling festival
Tech Review
  • Tech boom or antenna bubble?
  • Antennae repairs not included in dust tax rewrite
  • Nomad tech on smart grids
  • Seasonal drift stresses old infrastructure
True Crime
  • Tree-cycle clocks vandalised by property fundamentalists
  • Gun-range courtyard dispute ongoing
  • Power execs sentenced to 10 years shade growth
  • Shadow-world expedition washed away by flash-floods (Expect hermeneuts and invite time intensification; Open your courtyards at siesta time)
Saguaro humor
  • In shade we trust!
  • I throw up my arms in despair
  • These arms are (not) made for hugging
  • IRS = Internal Review of Shades
  • Shade grown coffee (and children) are rich, full and robust
  • Calling all late bloomers (you're right on time!)
  • Sand of the Free, Sprawl of the Brave!

We no longer have roots, we have aerials. We no longer have origins, we have terminals. McKenzie Wark


Further notes on: resonances | experiments | fieldtrip_2

  • dust_and_shadow/futuring.txt
  • Last modified: 2019-08-30 18:19
  • by maja