The role of the arts, design and technology in an environment of turbulence

The Luminous Green workshop was held on the 31st of July 2008, in Singapore, as a part of ISEA2008.

Where: Function Room, 5th floor, School of Information systems (SIS), Singapore Management University (SMU), 80 Stamford Road, Singapore 178902

When: 31 July 2008, Workshop 09:00 - 18:30, Dinner 19:30 - 22:00

Luminous Green is a series of gatherings about a possible future; about a human world, that is enlightened, imaginative, electrified and most importantly – living in a fertile symbiosis with the rest of the planet. The workshop in Singapore is a part of the series of gatherings, initiated by FoAM ( in Belgium, calling on the creative sector to enrich the public debate around environmental sustainability, ethical living, eco-technology and design. The workshop encourages transdisciplinary discussions and collaborations between people from all walks of life. Artists, designers, academics, activists, social entrepreneurs economists and policy-makers whose practice incorporates ecological thinking as a core value, or as a major concern. Rather than designing a flotilla of green products, services and technologies to clutter the world in new and unexpected ways, the workshop participants will think about the kind of future in which we want to live, work and play in. What lifestyles, what social and economic systems can we envisage beyond the status quo? Is there anything that we can learn from existing social experiments, or the fringes of the arts, design and technology, to help us make our economic and political systems less fragile and unstable? Or vice-versa – what can artists, designers and technologies learn from the way policy and business approach the global environmental turbulence? Collaborative creation, open source technology, distributed play and games, mixing realities, locating media and questioning borders could become tools to transform our wasteful consumer-society into more inclusive, entangled and participatory cultures. If we believe that these tools and methods are a way forward, what can the electronic arts community do to propagate these tools and methods into everyday life? The objective of the Luminous Green workshop at ISEA is to attempt to explore these questions by spawning inspiring contacts and propositions, holistic methods and interventions, looking beyond conservation and sustainability. Using participatory facilitation techniques based on OST (Open Space Technology) and ARG (Alternate Reality Gaming), the workshop is designed to encourage interaction and commitment between everyone involved.

The questions that we attempted to answer during the workshop were:

  • What would a luminous green world be like?
  • How can arts, design and technology help bring such a world into existence?

FoAM's workshop introduction: workshop_2008_introduction

Notes by workshop participants: luminous_green_notes

More on the content of the workshop:

The Luminous Green workshop is designed as an Open Space event. In such an event, the key thing to remember is that the participants are responsible for their own experience. Early in the workshop we plan and design the sessions together. Participants can propose to lead sessions, to participate in sessions initiated by others, or jointly design one on the spot. The sessions should be designed to remain fluid - people can come and go, depending on their level of interest. If people find themselves in a situation where they are neither learning or contributing, they can move somewhere where they can.

The workshop is designed as a dynamic environment in which everyone who is present can find something, or someone to inspire, engage, or challenge. If participants wanted to lead a session, we encouraged them to leave enough space for interaction and surprise.

We provided both Lunch and Dinner in the workshop space. Lunch was an uplifting Shojin Ryori meal, catered by Enso Kitchen. An peranakan dinner was designed by Blue Ginger, for the first time incorporating organic, locally grown fruit and vegetables.

More on Luminous Green food: food_2008

The most important thing to do was to think about the topic of the workshop and the two questions: “What would a luminous green world be like?” and “How can we help bring such a world into existence?”

If participants had an idea, an example, or just a hunch about possible answers, they could propose to host a session around it. The session lasted between 30 to 45 minutes and had a range of formats - from discussions and walks, to visualisations and interviews. Whatever format the participants chose, the sessions should have focused on one of the two questions mentioned above. Not everyone had to host a session, active participants and contributors were very welcome! The participants were encouraged to bring whatever materials they might need to get their point across. If they had any texts, images, sounds or other media that can contribute to the atmosphere, we asked the participants to bring that along with their curious and motivated selves…

We didn't prescribe how or what to prepare, as it is up to each of the participants to design and take part in the workshop as they saw fit. Their particular approaches and visions provided the diversity needed for the workshop to become a vibrant, self-organising system.

For additional guidance, we put together a couple of pages:

  • luminous/workshop_2008.txt
  • Last modified: 2008-08-05 12:53
  • by maja