‘Walking Backward to the Futures’ is an interactive installation where people – literally – walk backward and try navigating their way to the ‘future’ using complex visual cues and audiovisual feedback.
In our culture we tend to see the future laying ‘ahead of us”; we walk ‘toward the future”, leaving the past “behind us”. We try get higher to ‘look far and further’. For many people, however, these time/space relationships are different. What they see in front is, in fact, the past, the already known. The future is what lies “behind their back”; It can not be seen.
We would like to reply this experience and suggest people to walk backward and find their way using the clues they see in front of them (in the ‘past’). We will use a set of abstract visuals (photographs) as such visual cues. When walking in an installation space, a person will be wearing a hood, a helmet of some kind. This hood will be preventing the person from ‘cheating’ and looking behind. But more importantly, the hood will provide a positive, reinforcing feedback if the person correctly follows the pattern of the picture, and a negative feedback (an alarming sound) if the person deviates from the ‘correct’ route. To do that, the helmet will have an in-mounted headset and a device to track person’s location within the installation.
Of course, the futures will not be predefined – otherwise it will be a mere ‘Pavlovian dog’ type of experiment. The ‘future’ in this installation will be constantly changing, depending on the actions (or inactions) of the participants. The experience of the installation will people to revisit – re-walk – their ideas about possible and desirable futures, and explore how their actions change these futurescapes.