Amazingly talented humans from all over the world – from different spheres and of different opinions – will share their intriguing projects and mind-blowing theories to help you navigate the complexity of now and beyond. Practically speaking, expect anything from neuroscientists to economists to artists to chefs.
Speakers will be announced continuously during Spring. While waiting, do get lost in our huge video archive with recorded talks from previous years.
THE 18 OUT OF 35 BRILLIANT SOULS ANNOUNCED SO FAR
Adrian Hon (UK)Six to start
Co-founder & CEO, Six to start (UK)
Adrian Hon is co-founder and CEO at Six to Start, creators of game-like stories and story-like games including the world's bestselling smartphone fitness game, "Zombies, Run!" with ten million players. He's author of A History of the Future in 100 Objects and the upcoming critique of gamification, You've Been Played. Before becoming a game designer, Adrian was a neuroscientist and experimental psychologist at Cambridge, UCSD, and Oxford.
At The Conference, Adrian will draw from his long experience in imagining the yet unimagined. How does one go about to read the past in order to write the future?
Adrian has also spoken at the flagship TED conference, the Long Now Foundation, GoogleX, and Disney Imagineering.
Alice Rawsthorn (UK)Design as an attitude | Design emergency
Author and co-founder, Design as an attitude | Design emergency (UK)
Alice Rawsthorn is an award-winning design critic and author, whose books include Design as an Attitude, Hello World: Where Design Meets Life and, most recently, Design Emergency: Building a Better Future. Her weekly design column for The New York Times was syndicated worldwide for over a decade. In all her work, Alice champions design’s potential as a social, political and ecological tool. Born in Manchester and based in London, she is chair of the board of trustees of Chisenhale Gallery and a founding member of the Writers for Liberty campaign for human rights.
Alice is also co-founder with Paola Antonelli of Design Emergency, a research platform that investigates design’s role in forging a fairer future – which she will elaborate on during The Conference.
Photography: Michael Leckie
Carolyn Steel (UK)Sitopia | Hungry city
Architect & author, Sitopia | Hungry city (UK)
What is a good life? Through the lens of food and cities British architect and author Carolyn Steel poses burning questions about value and progress, illuminating the obscure (and sometimes outright stupid) systems that we’ve put in place to live life better. For Carolyn, how we’ll eat in the future is really a matter of how we want to live and at The Conference 2022 she’ll take us on a journey through the many ways in which food has and could shape our cities and societies.
Carolyn Steel is a leading thinker on food and cities. She is the author of the award-winning Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives and Sitopia: How Food Can Save the World. Her concept of Sitopia, or food-place (from the Greek sitos, food + topos, place), has gained broad recognition across a wide range of fields in design, ecology, academia and the arts.
Christina Agapakis (USA)Ginkgo Bioworks
Creative Director, Ginkgo Bioworks (USA)
Christina Agapakis is a Greek-American synthetic biologist and artist whose work brings together biologists, engineers, designers, artists, and social scientists to imagine different futures and cultures of biotechnology. She has made cheese using starter cultures collected from the human body, resurrected the smell of extinct flowers, and photosynthetic animals.
At The Conference Christina will talk about the meatverse—the living, fleshy, biological world we inhabit and often take for granted. How will new biological technologies shape our experience of the meatverse? And how could an appreciation for our corporeal reality and our biological needs and abilities lead to a better life?
Christina is the head of Creative at Ginkgo Bioworks, a publicly traded synthetic biology company based in Boston. At Ginkgo, she leads a dynamic interdisciplinary team (ginkgobioworks.studio) working at the interface of synthetic biology and society to build more ethical and equitable technology, through strategic communication, design, and public policy.
Darja Isaksson (SWE)Vinnova
Director General, Vinnova (SWE)
Darja Isaksson is Director General of Vinnova, Sweden’s national innovation agency, and serves as a member of the Swedish government’s National Digitalization Council. As the founder of two innovation studios, she has worked in business and product development for clients such as Sony Ericsson, Ikea and Husqvarna too. Darja has served as adviser to the Prime Minister’s Innovation Council, been recognized as one of Sweden’s most powerful opinion-makers and was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people in digital government by the website Apolitical.
So, who’d be better suited to say a thing or two about innovation? Exactly. You’ll hear from Darja Isaksson in a session called ”How to organize innovation” in which she’ll talk about large-scale mission-driven innovation.
Joanne McNeil (USA)Lurking: How a person became a user
Author, Lurking: How a person became a user (USA)
Joanne McNeil is the author of the much acclaimed book ’Lurking: How a Person Became a User’ (2020) and the forthcoming novel "Wrong Way". She is also working on yet another book (!), one about the practice and history of speculating on the future.
In her work, Joanne is interested in the ways that technology shapes culture and society. While Lurking told the story of how we became users, and how we've change with the internet – her new work, of which she will talk about at The Conference – investigates where the business of futurism collides with the actual impact it has on lived reality, and how one can often the change the other.
Joanne has been a resident at Eyebeam, a Logan Nonfiction Program fellow, and an instructor at the School for Poetic Computation. Her essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Wired, Filmmaker, The Baffler and many more.
Jordi Roca (ESP)El Celler De Can Roca
Pastry chef, El Celler De Can Roca (ESP)
Jordi Roca is a world renowned pastry chef, who together with his two brothers run the three starred restaurant El Celler De Can Roca in Girona, Spain. The restaurant which is known for its creative twist on the Catalan kitchen – has been labeled ”The world’s best restaurant” twice during the last 10 years. And Jordi Roca himself has been labeled the ”World’s best pastry chef”.
Once Jordi got introduced to the magic of sweet cooking, he has never looked back but has felt an absolute need to express his life in a sweet way. Everything can trigger his imagination and he loves playing with the limits of what’s possible. He is obsessed with surprise and the sensory experiences that sweets can provoke and at The Conference 2022 he will talk about this – about enhancing and acknowledging senses, and about how to make up for lost ones.
In 2018, he was featured in the Netflix blockbuster Chef’s Table.
Karol Gobczyński (SWE)Ingka group | IKEA
Head of Climate and Energy, Ingka group | IKEA (SWE)
Karol Gobczyński is Head of Climate and Energy at Ingka Group, which is the largest IKEA franchisee with 392 stores in 32 countries, responsible for 90 % of IKEA sales (!). IKEA has committed to become climate positive by 2030 and it is Karol's job to secure that the organisation meets its climate goals and co-creates climate positive IKEA.
At The Conference, Karol will talk about how net zero has become a powerful framework to align organisations and sectors in solving a system scale problem, and what we can we learn from this journey when it comes to other large-scale, systemic crisis.
Kristina Höök (SWE)Royal Institute of Technology
Professor of Interaction Design, Royal Institute of Technology (SWE)
Kristina Höök is a professor in Interaction Design at KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and also works part-time at RISE. She is known for her work on designing for bodily engagement in interaction through soma design, captured in her book ”Designing with the Body – Somaesthetic Interaction Design” (MIT Press).
Professor Höök proposes a qualitative shift in interaction design: from a predominantly symbolic, language-oriented stance, to an experiential, felt, aesthetic stance permeating the whole design and use cycle – an approach that will yield better products and create healthier, more sustainable companies.
Kristina has obtained numerous national and international grants, awards, and fellowships including the Cor Baayen Fellowship by ERCIM (European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics), the INGVAR award, she is an ACM Distinguished Scientist and elected ACM SIGCHI Academy. She is a horseback rider, mother, grandmother, and feminist.
Magnus Nilsson (SWE)Fäviken | MAD Academy | Food Planet Prize
Apple grower and Director, Fäviken | MAD Academy | Food Planet Prize (SWE)
With Fäviken, the internationally acclaimed, remote fine-dining restaurant in the heart of the Swedish forest, Magnus Nilsson made a name for himself through foraging, hunting, refining and caring for whatever ingredients to be found in the wilderness, a sometimes outright harsh environment. He’s been vocal about sustainability in the industry and after closing down Fäviken he’s been taking on multiple challenges to actively bring about positive change - both as the Academy Director of MAD Academy and as the co-chair of Food Planet Prize.
Magnus also runs an orchard in northern Skåne, a passion with a steep learning curve which has proven to be quite a challenge. At The Conference Magnus will share learnings from different stages of his career, a talk about endings and new beginnings.
Magnus Nilsson was featured in the very first season of Netflix's blockbuster show "Chef's table".
Maya Man (USA)Artist, Programmer, and Choreographer
Artist, Programmer, and Choreographer (USA)
Maya Man is an artist, programmer, and choreographer. She considers the computer screen a space for intimacy and performance, focusing on the phenomenon of translating our offline selves into on-screen content. Working primarily with custom software, her work takes the form of generative systems, websites, browser extensions, and installations.
She has exhibited internationally at spaces including Power Station of Art Shanghai, Vellum Los Angeles, SOOT Tokyo, Times Square, and Feral File online. Her work has been featured in Art in America, Forbes, Refinery29, Dance Magazine, and more.
Maya holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Computer Science and Media Studies from Pomona College. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Media Art at UCLA in Los Angeles, California.
Mikkel Malmberg (DEN)Artist and Independent Builder
, Artist and Independent Builder (DEN)
Mikkel Malmberg is a multidisciplinary artist and independent builder. He builds platforms for creators and apps for advanced users. He makes art for the curious, writes a well-liked, too-far-between Danish newsletter called COMPUTERS, shoots the breeze on Twitter, and juggles three kids. After stumbling upon NFTs, Mikkel has been an important part of many popular projects including SlimHoods, Random Character Collective and Invisible Friends.
Nick Seaver (USA)Tufts University
Anthropologist of Technology, Tufts University (USA)
Nick Seaver is an anthropologist of technology who studies how technical experts think about cultural materials. He has published on topics ranging from the history of player pianos to the ethnography of algorithms. His forthcoming book, Computing Taste: Algorithms and the Makers of Music Recommendation, explores how the people who build music recommender systems make sense of music, listeners, and listening.
At The Conference, Nick will talk about what the anthropology of animal trapping can teach us about the design of algorithmic recommendation.
Nick is an assistant professor of Anthropology at Tufts University, where he also directs the program in Science, Technology, and Society. He is co-editor of Towards an Anthropology of Data (2021).
Simone Rebaudengo (SER)oio.studio
Co-founder, oio.studio (SER)
Simone Rebaudengo is a product and interaction designer and co-founder of oio, a creative company based in London and Belgrade, where he collaborates with companies such as Google, Ikea and the Dubai’s Museum of the Future. His works explore the implication of living and collaborating with other, not-so-human, intelligences.
He has published fables about more-than-human futures, created immersive installations about being an appliance with Bruce Sterling and a short movie that won the ”Most Uncanny award” at the Robot Film Festival (!). He is a faculty member of the Master in Design for Responsible AI at ELISAVA and his works have been awarded by Red Dot Design Award, Core77, Interaction Awards and exhibited in galleries and museums such as Vitra Design Museum, Triennial Museum in Milan and MAK Vienna.
Susanne Wedlich (GER)Slime – A Natural History
Journalist & writer, Slime – A Natural History (GER)
”We are all creatures of slime, but some of us are more creative than others”.
Susanne Wedlich is the author of ”Slime. A Natural History” which recently was named a BBC Radio 4 ”book of the week”. She has studied biology and political science in Munich and has worked as a writer and freelance science journalist for renowned outlets like Der Spiegel and National Geographic.
Her fascination for slime dates back some 20 years to when she first heard a story about two snails in love. Ever since she’s been building up an extensive bank of knowledge around slime and its omnipresence, its cultural and emotional significance and its importance to life on earth. In many ways it is the material of life itself with superpowers beyond our wildest dreams. A specimen of the finest natural intelligence, ready for whatever challenge you may have – and harder than expected to reproduce artificially.
Tega Brain (USA)Artist & environmental engineer
Assistant professor NYU, Artist & environmental engineer (USA)
Tega Brain is an Australian-born artist and environmental engineer whose work examines issues of ecology, data systems and infrastructure. She has created wireless networks that respond to natural phenomena, systems for obfuscating fitness data, and an online smell-based dating service (!).
At The Conference Tega will talk about natural intelligence and why the environment is not a system. How does computational technologies shape ecological thought? And how could ecological thinking add to the perspectives offered by science and technology?
Tega is also an Assistant Professor of Integrated Digital Media, New York University and her work has been shown widely including in the Vienna Biennale for Change and the Guangzhou Triennial. Her first book, Code as Creative Medium, is co authored with Golan Levin and published with MIT Press.
Victor Galaz (SWE)Stockholm Resilience Centre
Deputy Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre (SWE)
Victor Galaz is associate professor in political science and the deputy director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre. His research focuses on financial systems, and their connection to large-scale environmental change with global non-linear climate repercussions.
In a session about models for systems thinking, Victor Galaz will elaborate on the Planetary boundaries concept for measuring human actions impact on the Earths systems – and enabling humanity to continue to develop and thrive for generations to come.
Yancey Strickler (CA)Metalabel & Kickstarter
Cofounder, Metalabel & Kickstarter (CA)
Yancey Strickler is a writer and entrepreneur. He’s the cofounder of Kickstarter, cofounder of Metalabel, cofounder of the artist resource The Creative Independent, creator of Bentoism, creator of The Ideaspace, and the author of This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World .... catching our breath.... He began his career as a music critic writing for Pitchfork, Spin, and The Village Voice.
At The Conference, Yancey will talk about how to take innovation and other creative efforts from being an individual's activity to multiplayer mode. How platform tools and new technological innovation (hello web3) can be utilized to help creators establish context and interest for their work.