Breathing in, you might think that the air is the same but it’s not. The tide covers the eaves of the Old Town. Lights twinkle on the moon.
This city is on the cusp of a new century. Over the past 80 years, its map has been redrawn: the tidal arrays have been grown out to sea, the myriad canals and marine farms now encircle the city centre.
We grew. The city moved. The long grass was cut back and the housing estates from the last century hummed with voices; their windows blinked with industry.
But that was a while ago. It is now 2097. That hum of traffic outside the window is just a recording. Now the streets are quiet and the houses stand empty once more. After nearly a century of growth and industry, the ground has fallen away and you’re floating above the city.
Now it’s up to you to decide on where we go next.
Here we are at the start of 2017, having spent the last three months gathering thoughts, drawings and ideas about the future from people across Hull and Aarhus: from scientists to school children.
Way back at the millennium, all those numbers on the clock ticked over together and we entered an age that was once the realm of science fiction. Today, prime ministers and presidents seem to be at the mercy of events. Tax seems optional for some and it is uncertain who is in control and how we work together for good.
2097: We Made Ourselves Over springs from a desire to explore our capacity for self-determination and resilience in this context. It continues our concern with the social impact and opportunities of rapidly changing technology on our everyday lives. It is a science fiction project that takes the city on a journey into an imagined time at the close of this century and asks questions about the respective roles of technology, utopia and our own imaginations in setting a course for the future.
We want to invite people to think in new ways about the lives we lead and where we want our communities to go. Incorporating contributions and voices from both Aarhus and Hull, we will create a diverse set of eye-level perspectives on the future, set against a common fate in a single imaginary city. We will frame the present within a longer historical cycle of economic decay and renewal; postulating a lifetime of changes that will transform the city in the coming century, reflecting on loss, and our sense of history and purpose in the face of the unknown.
Over the coming year, we hope to raise some difficult questions about the challenges we face and, with your help, uncover some exciting and unexpected answers.
We’d love you to join us on our ride into the future.