17. – 19. 10. 2019

Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz

Prognostics &

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For more than 10 years now, Western countries have been in crisis mode. During this time, none of the economic, social, (geo-)political and ecological issues that contributed to this crisis have been resolved. On the contrary, several of them have become significantly worse: climate change has become an everyday reality, social inequality is still rising, and the established political institutions of the post-(cold)war era have become ever less capable of dealing with the pressures they are under.

If anything is clear at all, then that a return to the world that was, at least for Western countries, relatively stable is no longer an option and that a simple extrapolation of historical developments cannot yield insights. We are off the map.

As a consequence, the future is both terrifying but also more open than ever and new techniques to deal with this unpredictability, namely different forms of forecasting, are being developed and implemented. What differentiates forecasting from classic approaches to knowing the future, going back at least to the oracles of antiquity (divination), is that they do not only predict potential future scenarios, but are often directly integrated with methods of intervention. The traditional temporal distance between prediction and action, which allowed for political reflection, begins to evaporate as we enter an age that is characterized, at the same time, by self-fulfilling prophecies and utter unpredictability.

In this sense, a new temporality is ushered in: While traditional methods of prediction (such as for example weather forecasting) were concerned with accurate accounts of a situation that cannot be changed, contemporary forecasting provides complex tools to intervene in real-time in order to affect future states in the present (as in, say, climate modeling or Twitter politics). While the former derive from a probabilistic concept of representation, the later indicates the turn to a performative regime of governance that strives to leverage contingency and the volatile indeterminacy in which the future emerges. Therefore, its range is not the long-term, but the constantly re-calibrated short term. The state of emergency, inherent in the word crisis, has become the platform on which reality is produced.

Forecasting is an eminently cultural issue, because it provides an aesthetic of the unknown and gives shape to the uncertain, actualizing the future into the present, in order to make the unlikely more likely, or to prevent the likely from happening.

During the event Deep Horizon: The Culture of Forecasting, which will take place from October 17-19, 2019 at Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz, Vienna, we will bring together the audience with artists, researchers and activists who deal with the role of forecasting as a way of inventing the future, for talks, discussions, workshops and game playing. Think and act ahead!


Richard Barbrook, Erik Bordeleau, Jaya Klara Brekke, Thomas Feuerstein, Isabell Schrickel, Zentrum für politische Schönheit and Technopolitics research group: Sylvia Eckermann, Gerald Nestler, Felix Stalder, Axel Stockburger, Gerald Straub, Thomas Thaler.



DEEP HORIZON: The Culture of Forecasting

PROGRAM October 17-19, 2019

Thursday, October 17



3–6 pm    

How to be ahead with political activism?

Workshop by Zentrum für Politische Schönheit and Gerald Straub, Technopolitics.


7–10 pm  

Fragments from the Cultures of Forecasting

Drinks, food and conversations with the audience based on short statements by
Sylvia Eckermann, Felix Stalder, Axel Stockburger, Jaya Klara Brekke, Richard Barbrook, Erik Bordeleau, Zentrum für politische Schönheit, Gerald Nestler, Isabell Schrickel, Gerald Straub.

Friday, October 18



3–6 pm  

Instant performative intervention

Artistic/ activistic realization of workshop findings with members of Thursday’s workshop and Gerald Straub. 


7–10 pm  

From Abstract Futures to Material Presents.

The speculative performance of (crypto)economies

Performative lectures by Jaya Klara Brekke and Erik Bordeleau.

Introduced and moderated by Gerald Nestler and Axel Stockburger, Technopolitics.

Saturday, October 19



2–6 pm  

Prediction Game.

Strategies and practices of socio-political intervention

Workshop by Richard Barbrook


7–10 pm  

Horizons of Forecasting.

Historic and Contemporary Issues of Prediction Politics

Performative lectures and talks by Richard Barbrook, Thomas Feuerstein and Isabell Schrickel.
Discussion moderated by Felix Stalder and Axel Stockburger, Technopolitics.


Short info on the performative lectures
(Program partially in German)


Fri October 18


Erik Bordeleau

Writing Derivatives as Fugitive Planning

Finance, as a key component of our culture of forecasting, is a mode of coordinating the future through the socio-political design of collective attractors. In cryptoeconomics, such attractors present themselves as tokens. What types of futures can be fugitively called into being through a reprogramming of our social and financial protocols for interaction?


Jaya Klara Brekke

Disassembling the Truth Machine: The ideas underpinning cryptoeconomics and prediction markets

The blockchain as a “truth machine” is the idea that large scale coordination without central decision making can be achieved by assembling markets, network topologies, game theoretical constructs and cryptographic advancements. Jaya Klara Brekke will discuss the “truth machine” and its bearing upon shaping, predicting and determining ideas about the future.


SAT October 19


Richard Barbrook

Taste of Power: the great municipal socialism game

How can games be used to explore the multiple possible solutions to the political, social and environmental problems of our troubled times? Based on extensive experience, Richard Barbrook will talk about role-playing multiplayer strategy games and how games, as a form of applied game theory, can support activists to forecast and prepare for difficulties of being a political radical in government and to operate in and against the (local) state.



2–6 pm

Prediction Game.

Strategies and practices of socio-political intervention

Workshop by Richard Barbrook

Abstract: In this mass-participatory role-playing game, a recently elected radical local council must battle with the legacy of their neoliberal predecessors and halt a disastrous redevelopment scheme. From Digital Liberties, the makers of last year's wildly successful 'A Very British Coup' mega-game, this new multiplayer strategy game activists how to operate in and against the local state.

Come and play to get an insight into the difficulties of being a political radical in government.


Thomas Feuerstein

The Society of the Oracle

Life seems uncertain but at the same time it is more probable than ever before. Data analysis and artificial neuronal networks forecast probabilities and realize the future as a product produced and consumed in series. Since the enlightenment, life has been funneled towards normalization and the human being towards the average man, the “homme moyen”. Has art turned into an agent of oracle or is it still capable of creating improbabilities?


Isabell Schrickel

Self-preservation by looking back: Sustainability as a basic concept of late modernity.

The concept of sustainability makes a specific relation between past, present and future within an ecosystem. Today, the concept of the Anthropocene elevates this relationship to a geological epoch that is framed by the narrative of the great acceleration and the normative orientation towards climate change or development goals. So, to what extent are we dealing with an operative ontology and which operations of recursion, reversion, preservation, reflection and modelling are made possible by it?