WHICH FUTURE?!

Helicopters hover over the kurhaus in Heiligendamm, Germany. Police boats are patrolling the baltic shores, black headed gulls huddle on the narrow beach. Inside, in the hall of the Grandhotel, the heads of state of the G 12 group have gathered. It is Feb. 9th 2028 and this is the first gathering since the global financial meltdown of 2026. The host, chancellor von der Leyen steps up to the microphone to welcome the guests. Her speech is short, informal and ends on an urgent plea.

„This is the last chance to save our democracy. The people of the world have lost their faith in us, in the political class. We, the governments of the industrialised nations, have failed. We have done too little, too late. Now we must act, and we must act now, without any further delay.“

The heads of state gathered at the baltic shore will not act. They will, however, install an investigative committee. While outside in the cities barricades burn and the unemployed are looting the high streets, an international panel meets in the Villa Perle to investigate the causes for the crash of the global economy, which began 2026 and threw the world in a deep depression with no end in sight.

Admittedly: the future might look completely different. It might be bright. The crisis will be averted. The global economy recovers. HBO commissions the 17th season of Games of Thrones. The Berlin airport opens. We do not know.

But: if we knew - if we were absolutely certain the party would be over in 2026 - that a bank or an algorithm or a nation would crash the global economy… What would we do? Here and now - what would we do?

„Which Future?!“ is an interdisciplinary, participatory research and theatre project, dedicated to finding answers to these questions: What can we do to avert the next financial crisis, which would finally knock us off our feet for good?

Course of events

„Which Future?!“ is a research and theatre project, an event-cycle running over the course of two years. Together with scientists, the audience we will be invited to explore the correlation of knowledge, prediction and design. Somewhere between agora, science fiction, math-based modelling and coincidence, we can pinpoint the story of the future. Do we at least need an idea of what the future brings, if we want to have some influnce?

The goal is to instigate a debate on our future, to leave the gridlock behind, find an exit from the permanent presence. Because unless we take action, we will continue our existence as history’s crashtest-dummies, continuously driving straight into the same wall at full speed.

Three of the 13 workshops will be conducted in english. Simultaneous translation will be offered for the bilingual plenaries.

The project structure is based on four events:

Laboratory

The Laboratory on Sept. 16th 2017 at Deutsches Theater Berlin is the kickoff for the two-year event cycle. Based on scientific studies, prognosis and scenario planning with experts, we will be creating a narrative for the next 10 years. A full day of collaborative writing in workshops and plenaries at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin.

>> more about the Lab

Symposium

In March 2018 the Symposium together with Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss continues and substantiates the work that has begun in the laboratory. Scientists from various disciplines give talks and debate the issues surrounding the narrative of our future.

Stage play

The results from the laboratory and the symposium will be the building blocks for a stage play to be performed in September 2018 at Deutsches Theater Berlin. It will be staged as an investigational hearing, where the question of accountability for the events leading up to the crisis of 2026 will be raised. How did certain decisions come about? Who could have averted the crisis? Experts, actors, lawmakers and politicians will gather for the hearing. There will be no vote on guilt, no judgement or punishment suggested. It will be an exploration into action and consequence.

Conclusion

How to move on from here?! Which future… is it going to be?! The fourth and last event will be a conference in autumn 2019, together with the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss. We will attempt to draw conclusions from two years of collaborative exploration. We will try to develop actual concepts for a - dare we say it? - better future. What could be the political and social strongholds that would safeguard us? How could an economic system operate that serves the people, rather than forcing people under its doctrine? Where financial assets are not only utilised to create profit but also applied where they are needed?
Similar to the laboratory and the symposium collaborative and interdisciplinary processes are as important as the content that is being negotiated.

„Which Future?!“ is a coproduction of Deutsches Theater Berlin with the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss, funded by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media according to a vote of the German parliament.

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LABORATORY

The laboratory on September 16th 2017 at Deutsches Theater Berlin will be the kick off for the two-year project. We are inviting experts and citizens to collaboratively create the story of the next ten years - a plausible scenario of the future. We will negotiate facts, knowledge and models - but also our fears, hopes and wishes.

The narrative will be based on a fictitious event- a global financial meltdown in the year 2026 followed by a great depression. The possible chain of events leading up to it raises questions of responsibility, measures and counter measures. A space to speculate and ponder the future is created - we will have to decide, if this is the kind of future we want. And if not, we should change the custom settings in the lab that is our life. Sooner, rather than later.

The laboratory will be a participatory process, where we to share knowledge. 250 people come together in 13 Workshops to create future scenarios and confront the crisis face on.

Three of the 13 workshops will be conducted in english. Simultaneous translation will be offered for the bilingual plenaries.

„Which Future?!“-Laboratory
Saturday, September 16. 2017
Deutsches Theater Berlin
From 10am to 8pm followed by chill out with music and drinks
Register now

WORKSHOPS

In 13 Workshops 250 participants collaborate on issues like economy, society, climate and identity. The workshops are open to all, it helps to prepare with the texts provided after registration, no other specialised knowledge is required. Participation is free, but registration is mandatory - first come, first serve.

In two workshop sessions of 90 min. each, participants and experts will develop scenarios for the turn of events over the course of the next 10 years in their particular field of interest.

The scenarios presented in the workshop descriptions are suggestions, inspirations. Everything is possible: An election victory for Front National causes a banking crisis, the EU dissolves, the German Mark returns, the Chinese real estate bubble bursts, a new VR game stops people from going to work, new medication conquers cancer, the oil industry saves the climate and Daniel Libeskind builds the capitol of reunited Korea in the demilitarised zone.

But if everything is possible - what do we consider most likely, most plausible and what should we prepare for?

Moderators will present the results at the plenary - where they are being discussed. Every workshop has 20 participants, every voice counts.

Three workshops will be conducted in English the others in German.

>> Workshop overview
>> Register

LABORATORY – Workshops

Economy: Fiscal and other twilights of the Gods

The social and economic crises’ originate in misguided politics. The catastrophe will catch up with us eventually-come what may.

Expert: Prof. Dr. Rudolph Hickel (Institute for labour and economy)

Economy: Patient Zero: Index patient Deutsche Bank?

Too big to fail - or: How dangerous is Deutsche Bank? The workshop focuses on the role of banks in the system.

Expert: Dieter Hein (fairesearch)

Economy: Armageddon

One day, Germany will be ruled by an AfD chancellor (German UKIP)… The workshop explores protectionism, deflation and currency crisis’ as hypothetical triggers for the 2026 meltdown.

Prof. Dr. Peter Bofinger (University of Würzburg, member of the German Council of Economic Experts) and Dr. Dirk Ehnts (University of Chemnitz)

Economy: The road to hell is paved with good intentions

What if regulation enhances the processes it was implemented to avert?

Expert: Dr. Armin Haas (Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam)

Law and order: Loosing state?!

State bankruptcy is only the last step along a long and winding path littered with loss. What are the rules amidst chaos and who will be left to enforce them?

Expert: Prof. Dr. Kai von Lewinski (Professor for Public Law, University of Passau)

Risk management: Keep calm… and your supplies well stocked

Can I buy an insurance policy against systemic risk? What’s the best way to prepare for disaster?

Expert: Prof. Dr. Volker Deville (former Allianz Insurance Group, now University of Bayreuth)

Energy transitions (in english)

After Oil – but not in the dark ages.

Experts: Dr. Cho Khong and Geraldine Wessing (Royal Dutch Shell, London)

Weather: A new normal

What’s the role of the individual in a chaotic system?

Experts: Jascha Lehmann, Marlene Kretschmer, Kai Kornhuber,  Sonja Molnos (Potsdam Institute for Climate Change Impact Research)

Geopolitics: Intersections (in english)

War and peace and who can afford it?

Rodger Baker (Stratfor/Texas (USA))

Labour: Will there be any employers left to fight?

Holacracy, automation, flexible hours, virtual teams, local production, the cult of less, poverty or self-denial? The workshop explores future trends for the way we work … and play.

Expert: Cornelia Daheim (Future Impacts)

Identities: Hot Air

History is not repeated literally, but as farce.

Experte: Dr. Martin Burckhardt (author and cultural theorist)

Elites & democracy: The wheel keeps turning – backwards

In most countries the elites could not - or did not want to - accept the causes for the last financial crisis.

Expert: Michael Hartmann (Prof. i.R. für Sociology, TU Darmstadt)

Agriculture: Coffee shortage and other inconveniences (in english)

How far off are we from a time when people go hungry in Europe?

Experts: Dr. Ariella Helfgott, Dr. George Garbutt & Patrick O’Reilly (University of Oxford)

PLENARY

Twice, all participants of the laboratory meet in a plenary. Ulrike Hermann and Adrian Taylor will moderate the panel in charge of bringing the results together on one continuous timeline. Here, we will arrange and rearrange the narrative fragments and thesis’ until one plausible, relevant story is written. History is being made… The scenarios will not always be final or definite, but overall the events need to be in plausible order.

While experts and moderators present and debate, the audience can comment, question and veto events while they unfold.

The plenaries will be bilingual. English simultaneous translation will be available.

At the critic’s table: Prof. Dr. Joseph Vogl

„The increase of speaking engagements in academic, non formatted areas is an invitation to the production of nonsense“ *

Joseph Vogl teaches literature, culture and media studies at Humboldt University and is considered one of the most astute analysts of current economical teaching. In his recent books „The ghost of capitalism“ and „The sovereignty effect“ he questions the widely established belief in the invisible hand of the market and the power structures in current financial regimes.

At the same time Vogl is an avid critic of „rhetorical cavernous bodies“. The production of punchlines, convenient thesis’ or aggravation constantly makes him feel guilty.

Joseph Vogl will be our critical observer for the laboratory and offer his conclusions and recommendations for the next steps at the end of the day.

*Moritz von Uslar in conversation with Joseph Vogl. from: Die ZEIT Nr 20 / 2017 May 14th.

Plenary moderators on September 16th

Ulrike Herrmann

After her apprenticeship as a bank clerk, Ulrike Herrmann attended the Henri Nannen School of Journalism. She then moved on to study economic history and philosophy at the Free University of Berlin. Since 2000, she is the economic correspondent at the taz newspaper, Berlin. Here, she also reported from parliament and headed the editorials. She is a board member of the taz publishers’ cooperative.

Adrian Taylor

Founder of 4Sing Foresight to Strategy for Security and Sustainability in Governance. His role is that of providing content input, process design as well as workshop moderation especially in security and sustainability related issues. Adrian has previously been a junior officer in the British Army, a lobbyist on EU matters, a scenario planner in a joint venture with Global Business Network and Desk Officer for India at the European Commission, before joining the European School of Governance (eusg) – He was also President of the European Open Source Intelligence Forum. His education includes: Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics Trinity College Oxford, and a License Spéciale (Masters) in European Studies. Adrian was born and raised in England and lived in Gibraltar, Brussels, Atlanta, Zurich, New York, and Munich before settling in Hamburg.

Registration

The Registration expired on September 9. 2017, 12 pm
On September 9. all participants will be asked to confirm attendance - deadline for this confirmation will be September 13. and mandatory for your participation.

Free waiting list positions will be raffled on September 14. and allocated to those on the list.

TEAM & PARTNER

TEAM

Concept and execution: Andres Veiel, Jutta Doberstein, Ulrich Beck, Daniel Hengst, Julia Kaschlinski, Michaela Barth, Luisa Männel

PARTNER

„Which Future?!“ is a coproduction of Deutsches Theater Berlin with the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss, funded by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media according to a vote of the German parliament.

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CONTACT

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Deutsches Theater
Schumannstraße 13 A
10117 Berlin
Fon: +49 30 28441-0
service@deutschestheater.de
www.deutschestheater.de

For questions regarding the project, website or registration please contact info@welchezukunft.org

Contact Media relations:
Katharina Wenzel
Head of media and communication
+49 30 28441234
wenzel@deutschestheater.de
During theatre holidays, July 19. - August 28.:
Luisa Männel
maennel@welchezukunft.org



Impressum

Impressum

Deutsches Theater
Schumannstraße 13 A
10117 Berlin
Fon : +49 30 28441-0
service@deutschestheater.de
www.deutschestheater.de

For questions please contact info@welchezukunft.org

Director
Ulrich Khuon

Managing director
Klaus Steppat

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Concept and technical implementation
Daniel Hengst, Alexander Hof, Lars Parmakerli