As a look forward to this year’s Ars Electronica Festival, the Ars Electronica Futurelab‘s Co-Directors Roland Haring, Horst Hörter and Hideaki Ogawa came together for this “Director’s Talk”. Once again a special Futurelab Day is part of the Festival – this year under the motto “Creative Resilience for a Planet B”. It grew out of a conversation with the directors in the spring of 2022. While the public was still exhausted by years of pandemic, combined with a bleak outlook on the future climate of our planet, Russia started its war on Ukraine – leaving the world and particularly Europe in shock. So how did we and the public feel? A record number of people were reported to be depressed — overwhelmed by seemingly endless crises. This begs the question: What to do?
Resilience is a skill that could come in handy in times like these: the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. Yet the idea of personal resilience is often criticized: People who are disadvantaged have a hard time being resilient faced with yet another crisis. So there had to be a better way, a shift from personal responsibility to more of a communal sense of resilience — taking people in need of assistance along. This is where we realized that — as the Futurelab’s work demonstrates constantly — creativity is one of the best ways to adapt to challenges as a society. Creativity not only helps us to rebound after significant changes, but also to imagine and work towards a better future — or different futures, different scenarios that need to be planned for.