Urban Humanities is emerging as a set of academic programs, scholarly approaches, and research agendas. Employing the conceptual tool “immanent speculation” this essay sets forth a proposal for practicing an inherently unknowable future in order to create the conditions for that future to unfold. In contrast to theory-laden speculative philosophy, or to the incrementalism of design in the built environment, or even to the extreme opposite of ungrounded utopianism, immanent speculation rigorously extracts latent alternative realities embedded in a place through the method of making. It does so with the consequence that these other worlds—whether fully realized or not—expand our notion of what could be, and aims to decolonize the future from the forward march of time, from the imperfect conditions of the present, freeing it to become something just beyond what we imagine as possible while pulling from sites and places where we live, requiring ongoing work at all levels of society.
Practicing the Future: Exercises in immanent speculation
Jonathan Crisman is project director for the Urban Humanities Initiative at University of California, Los Angeles; director of No Style, a design and publishing practice; and with Jia Gu he forms LA-BOR, an interdisciplinary art and architecture studio.
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Jonathan Crisman; Practicing the Future: Exercises in immanent speculation. Boom 1 September 2016; 6 (3): 25–31. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2016.6.3.25
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