99¢ Futures

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On February 9th, a pharmacy & 99¢ store on Flatbush Avenue in downtown Brooklyn held a “Time-Warp Opening” selling a variety of products one might desire in the future; from space suit lining-replacements, to DIY organ-transplant kits, to life form creation tools.

These speculative products were the outcome of the first Extrapolation Factory held at Studio-X NYC. Eager factory workers spent the day selecting forecasts from our futures-database, categorizing them into “lenses” on a wall-sized diagram, and then “looked” through these lenses to establish unique visions of the future. The forward-looking views were expressed as stories of possible future scenarios, each giving birth to a product concept that might be found in a 99¢ store of the future. Workers then fabricated and packaged these future products at the factory’s rapid-prototyping station. Every item included its inspiration story, as well as the initial forecasts and sources that support it.

On the following Friday, an existing 99¢ store was stocked with the future products, alongside an inventory of items from the present (mobile phone accessories) as well as dated objects (rain bonnets) and timeless ones (toothpicks). Products like Benzene Vapor Refills, Mars Survival Kits, and Triple-Nipple Baby Bottles sold like synthetic hot cakes at the one-night-only event. Throughout the evening, curious shoppers speculated with one another on the prospects of the exciting, the terrible and the mundane futures hinted at by the objects in their hands.

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