Guerrilla futures are foresight experiments in the wild, on the streets, with unsuspecting public (e.g.The New York Times Special Edition by the Yes Men) The benefit of guerrilla futures are the spontaneous reactions of the participants, as well as the secondary (media) responses that these interventions seem to elicit. Below are some questions for guerilla futurists, that might also apply for prehearsals:

From: The Futures of Everyday Life Stuart Candy:

Below are some of the questions, as suggested by the foregoing analysis, that a guerrilla futurist might ask of her efforts, towards evaluating their engagement potential, which is a prerequisite for political impact. These are not overarching, masterly interrogations – ‘effectiveness’ is not a binary matter subject to an objective threshold of success – but, fittingly, a piecemeal, tactical checklist:

  1. To which spaces of display and/or performance can we gain access, and what are the risks and potentials afforded by each? (impact = attention × duration)
  2. When is the most appropriate moment, in terms of scheduling, to stage the intervention? Is it dependent on some broader context or event (e.g. an election, an international round of talks), or is one date as good as any other? Are there times of day, week, or month at which the risks are lowest or the rewards are highest?
  3. How long does the artifact need to stay as installed? If it can be rapidly photographed, and then removed, the photographic evidence may enjoy an ‘eternal afterlife’, even if the assemblage it captured lasted only an instant. Have we planned for sufficient documentation for the afterlife of the project?
  4. What materials and media should be used? Can they be reused, moved around and redeployed, or must they necessarily be treated as ‘disposable’? Are our resources being used wisely? This may seem a prosaic or distastefully non-theoretical consideration, but in guerrilla futures interventions, one must take account of cost. The expenses associated with a project are not only a key ingredient separating the ingenious from the wasteful, but this concern is also ultimately differentiates the conditions enabling the strategic from those necessitating the tactical!
  5. What is the main point of the story? Who are the primary and secondary audiences, and is the real or most meaningful impact that of the encounter for the former, or does it really make sense only when seen in context later?
  6. Is a physical intervention, with the labour-intensiveness that entails, strictly necessary, or there an easier way to accomplish comparable results, for example online?


  • Guerrilla Futures Stuart Candy Ph.D. | @futuryst OCAD University | Long Now Foundation Festival of Transitional Architecture (FESTA), Christchurch 26.oct.02013
  • Strategic Guerrilla Foresight Futures Tactical Media
  • Strategic Foresight is “the ability to create and maintain a high-quality, coherent and functional forward view and to use the insights arising in [practically] useful ways.” - Richard Slaughter, The Foresight Principle
  • Tactical media is “a form of media activism that privileges temporary, hit-and-run interventions in the media sphere … that engage and critique the dominant political and economic order.” -
  • Hawaii 2050 (2006) Four “experiential futures”, immersive scenarios set in Hawaii in 2050, were staged for 500+ participants embarking on a public sustainability planning process. (Not a guerrilla project, but a starting point…)
  • Our view: Routine foresight lacks impact and “Experiential futures” showed promise but Official processes were too timid to succeed
  • If you can’t do it officially, do it unofficially
  • FoundFutures: Postcards from the future (2007) Postcards from four different versions of Hawaii circa 2030 were mailed out serially to the homes of over 100 community leaders.
  • FoundFutures: Artifacts from the future (2006/07) Installations of playful and provocative future artifacts in urban places, for people to encounter in the midst of their everyday lives.
  • FoundFutures: Chinatown (2007) Future artifacts from three scenarios for a much-loved neighbourhood. We created the stories after speaking with residents and business owners in the area about its history and their latent concerns.
  • ‘Green Dragon’ What becomes of Chinatowns when China is the predominant geopolitical superpower?
  • FoundFutures: Chinatown “Green Dragon”
  • ‘The Bird Cage’ How would the community fare if a bird flu outbreak occurred in Chinatown?
  • ‘McChinatown’ How would it feel for gentrification to take over the neighbouthood?
  • Advertising at Copenhagen airport during COP 15 (2009) Greenpeace and tcktcktck urged the world’s leaders not to miss an historic opportunity.
  • Earthquake awareness in San Francisco (2007) The Bay Area Red Cross temporarily placed a double-sided billboard at the bottom of Market Street in quake-prone San Francisco, vividly visualising seismic destruction and encouraging disaster preparedness.
  • New York Times Special Edition (2008) Culture jamming activists The Yes Men and artist Steve Lambert distributed an idealised future edition of the newspaper, featuring “all the news we hope to print”.
  • FoundFutures: The People Who Vanished (2012) A participatory experiential scenario (performance + mixed media installations) was staged with our collaborators in Phoenix for the first ‘Emerge’ festival at Arizona State University.
  • Hypothetical Development Organization (2010) Rob Walker and collaborators installed fanciful signage in the streets of New Orleans, suggesting imaginative new uses for disused buildings.
  • Compare with ‘unsolicited architecture’
  • “Unsolicited architects do not wait to tackle the big issues often overlooked by the market. They create briefs where none are written, discover sites where none are owned, approach clients where none are present, and find financing where none is available.” - Rory Hyde
  • Guerrilla futures combines strategic foresight with tactical media…to produce unexpected encounters with possible worlds.
  • Guerrilla futures principles: . Don’t break the universe . The tip of the iceberg . The art of the double-take . playfully . collectively
  • The point is to show, as well as tell, different stories…bringing futures to life in order to influence how we act today.
  • Plus it’s fun.
  • Take back the future!
  • Thanks. More at: @futuryst
  • future_fabulators/guerrilla_futures.txt
  • Last modified: 2014-11-04 16:05
  • by maja