People talk about the end of the future. An unending present squats over us with its hand on our face. There isn’t supposed to be any alternative to mass impoverishment, the endless drudgery of bullshit work, or the permanent thunder of postmodern war. The future’s only promise is angry storms and coastal cities submerged in a warmer sea. If we’re lucky, and we work hard, we might be able to return to the 90s.
Can the future really no longer be a site of hope and desire any more? Does the struggle to end the present have to be based on revulsion towards its horrors, rather than ambition for how brilliant things could be if they were otherwise?
With these questions in mind I went to the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre in Nottingham and approached people with one key question: What do you want the world to be like in the future? I was surprised by what they said.
1. Kumiko and Paul.
Paul: More balance. Less greed. There’s a lot of rich people who own a lot of the world’s money, and too many who don’t own anything. Peace, tranquility and equality. As it should be now.
Kumiko: Some people have all the capital, and some don’t have anything – it should be more balanced.
Paul: The world should be for everybody.
Very eco, definitely; everything recyclable. But I don’t want to go and live in the woods. I want it to be fun! There should be a lot more empathy. An empathic regard for people’s lives. An equal world, for men and women alike. A fair world for animals too. A green world. I think we’re great builders, and I think we need to build cities that can be fun for everyone to enjoy. I think the world would be a fun place if we all could enjoy it.
Flying cars. Something for everyone. Governments should work together to make communities better for young kids and youths, as well as adults. More colour in the city, more places for people to play, so everyone can be out of their houses.
4. Greeze Gang.
[L-R: Greeze 1, Greeze 2, Greeze 3]
Greeze 3: Don’t say world peace!
Greeze 1: World peace, man! No but like, high tech. Full of like –
Greeze 2: Cyborgs.
Greeze 3: Everyone’s equal
Greeze 1: Yeah, equality everywhere. We get past all of that –
Greeze 3: Gender, colour, religion … Maybe no religion!
Greeze 2: No, you can’t do that.
Greeze 1: No, you can’t.
What about equality of wealth?
Greeze 3: Yeah, distribute it
Greeze 1: Wouldn’t we be communists?
Greeze 3: Yeah, but there’d be no poverty.
Greeze 1: Yeah, no-one’s rich and no-one’s poor. We all live equal, if you know what I mean. And we all have jobs that benefit, rather than ourselves, other people.
Greeze 3: And we all have transformers; robots, definitely robots.
Greeze 2: Advanced technology.
Greeze 1: I don’t like having to pay for clothes and stuff like that.
Greeze 3: People should give them out for free! Get rid of money, basically.
Greeze 2: But then everyone would just take everything for free.
Greeze 1: High tech and hoverboards! And you’ve got to bang in world peace.
Greeze 3: It’s cheesy.
Greeze 1: But it’s just right.
Greeze 3: Oh yeah and you don’t have to read, you just headbutt a book and all the knowledge goes in.
Greeze 1: Yeah, stuff like that.
Greeze 3: Why were we born now? Why not a couple of hundred years down the line?
Greeze 2: What did people in the past want the future to be like?
Greeze 3: Oh yeah and you’d want it to be cleaner and healthier so people live a lot longer. We could live forever!
5. Odette, Loren and Hannah.
[L-R: Hannah, Loren, Odette]
Odette: A lot more accepting.
Loren: A lot more advanced technology.
Hannah: Equality. Being able to walk down the street without feeling under stress or being stared at, just being able to be confidence within yourself.
Loren: I think people will start to become more accepting as time goes on.
Odette: Respect for the whole human race.
6. Jade and Jacob.
Jacob: I imagine if people were nicer on a daily basis, that’d be a start.
Jade: If more people could just talk to each other, if people could just walk up to each other like you did just then, and it wouldn’t be awkward; if you could just walk up to someone and ask them how their day’s been.
Jade: Flying cars!
I’d like to see all the bombs, tanks, battleships, aeroplanes, all gotten rid of, and so there can be peace. I just hope I’m not here when World War Three starts. Someone’s going to get annihilated and it ain’t going to be me.
Peaceful. Without war. Harmony between different nations. Something needs to change radically.
8. Vicki and Daniel.
Vicki: Flying cars. And wouldn’t it be cool to have no money?
Daniel: What would you have instead?
Vicki: Nothing, because you’d have everything you’d need. And that’d solve a lot of problems. It might end a lot of wars, and jealousy as well. Having no money would solve so many issues.
[Joe didn’t want his photo taken]
Equal. Better for everyone. Just a better place, more equal for everyone.