Pantopicon (B) is a foresight and design studio based in Antwerp, Belgium. The studio supports clients in both the public and the private realm to see, design for and act upon the challenges that tomorrow might bring. Through speculative and analytical means they craft tools and processes, stories and strategies, artefacts and experiences to stimulate debate, inspire action and catalyse change. Since its early days, the studio has placed high emphasis on rendering futures more tangible and engaging more as well as a more diverse range of people in thinking about worlds to come. In recent years, this has led to various design fiction performances in which they experiments with new formats to stimulate and facilitate future-driven debates. “Digging for the future” was carried out by Nik Baerten (co-founder), Virginia Tassinari (design researcher) and Maaike van Papeveld (designer).
In “Digging for the future”, foresight and design studio Pantopicon (B), created a design Action around the notion of “futures archeology”. Supposedly dug-up findings from the future were fabricated as tangible ‘what if …?’ statements, inspired by potentialities of past and present, as well as potential reshapings of everyday reality through future trends. Exhibited within the context of “fictional excavation camps” in the streets of the municipality of Sittard-Geleen (NL) the artefacts served as conversation starters to engage local inhabitants in collaboratively envisioning the future(s) of their town. The supporting narrative and aesthetics of the intervention as a kind of situated design performance revolved around a fictional archeologist, Amelia Haspels-Stark, inspired by Victorian age female archeologists, they themselves an example of underacknowledged voices speaking to us across the divides of time.