Over the course of a week-long residency at The Storefront for Art and Architecture, The Extrapolation Factory built the Junk Mail Machine – an experimental futuring prototype which prompts visitors to envision new and augmented needs, as well as the businesses/services that might arise in response. The Junk Mail Machine was installed for two days, rapidly translating visitors’ future-visions into “future junk mail” – to be sent to an address of the visitor’s choice, as well as displayed at the storefront.
This experiment proposed a process for imagining and visualizing diverse futures for New York City’s commerce, through the eyes of individuals. Visitors engaged with custom futuring tools, props, and thought diagrams to imagine these future scenarios. The resulting junk mail communicated the imagined outcomes, as well as implicitly hinting at the implications of the scenarios.
Though it’s rarely welcomed, junk mail hints at facets of today’s technological and cultural landscape. Junk mail is a stream of invasive artifacts which we perceive to portray present-day services, products, and offers. The Extrapolation Factory appropriated the language of junk mail as a way to co-opt this context, as a way to position numerous fictional visions of the future.
Over the course of the experiment, a range of future services were imagined, including Artisanal GMOs, 1-800-DRONEINJURY, the Ancestry Afterlife Dream Hotel, and Limbs for Loans.