💥 is the sound when a future pops. You peek through the fumes. The place smells like kimchi, and it's packed with curious devices and curiouser characters. A massive 'LAB' sign covers the back wall.

Here we observe, devise, conceive our theories, and test our stories. If they make it, we hyperlink them in the 'Normal Future' — a fictional universe that is our archive, repository, and Wunderkammer fueling every new challenge.

New Mobilities

Last entry on 
May 17 2023

Mobil­i­ty means get­ting from A to B. If a descrip­tion is always as sim­ple as pos­si­ble but no sim­pler, then this one is far too sim­ple. Mobil­i­ty is how we access the world; it shapes cities and land­scapes and sep­a­rates us from each oth­er. X (per­son, thing) gets from A to B via C with the resources of D, financed by E, uses the infra­struc­ture E, is dri­ven by F, in the style of G, some­times col­lides with H, with I brand tires — the alpha­bet is not enough to cov­er all aspects of mobil­i­ty. How we envi­sion it reflects our rela­tion­ship to the world; how we enable it cre­ates our world. Imag­in­ing new mobil­i­ties is per­haps one of the hard­est things to do. Mar­shall McLuhan, refer­ring to the inven­tion of the engine and the first auto­mo­biles, spoke of the "horse­less car­riage" — because once tech­ni­cal­ly fea­si­ble, it was long before auto­mo­biles ceased to be rem­i­nis­cent of their pre­de­ces­sors and became rec­og­niz­able as some­thing of their own. Despite new tech­nolo­gies, we always tend to serve out­dat­ed par­a­digms. With our work on new mobil­i­ties, we want to reveal these odd­i­ties and, at the same time, intro­duce new pos­si­bil­i­ties and rela­tion­ships with mobility.

Interfacing Anything, Anyone, and Everything

Last entry on 
Jan 31 2023

Dig­i­tal inter­faces occu­py a spe­cial place in how we inter­act with the world. If we stop for a moment and pay atten­tion, many inter­ac­tions between ele­ments of our every­day life are medi­at­ed through some sort of dig­i­tal medi­um. Not just the obvi­ous ones, like send­ing a mes­sage to some­one, but also our bod­ies, thoughts, the infor­ma­tion we pro­duce when we walk, eat, sleep, the envi­ron­ment that sur­rounds us, the machines in it, the lights in the sky — every­thing is sift­ed through var­i­ous com­pu­ta­tion­al instru­ments, digest­ed into data, and trans­formed into what­ev­er suits our needs. And so, how do we imag­ine new ways of inter­fac­ing? And are there still any unchart­ed ter­ri­to­ries we have yet to turn into data?

Future Cities and Societies

Last entry on 
Aug 10 2021

A fixed, sin­gu­lar idea of the future city is reduc­tive at best and total­i­tar­i­an at worst. Cities can't just be imag­ined as uni­form sky­scraper nurs­eries with ever-smarter infra­struc­ture and mono­rails. So when we look at cities, we don't look at them as life­less shells, but as the prod­ucts of var­i­ous forces: eco­nom­ic, social, polit­i­cal, tech­no­log­i­cal ones. And how these forces shape them on var­i­ous scales.

DIY Healthcare

The Stream, a Future Web

The Overlay, a Shared Digital Layer

Last entry on 
Feb 05 2016

Look­ing at AR, VR, XR, any other‑R, or even dig­i­tal holog­ra­phy, no mat­ter the medi­um, and no mat­ter the hype, there is an unshak­en urge: to man­i­fest what's not phys­i­cal­ly there (most­ly dig­i­tal imagery) like it's anoth­er lay­er over real­i­ty. It's as if we want­ed mag­ic to become man­i­fest ("mag­ic" is a wide­spread anal­o­gy in this indus­try), only human-made and com­put­er gen­er­at­ed. Now most expe­ri­ences relat­ing to this are soli­tary ones. But let's sus­pend eco­nom­ic fea­si­bil­i­ty, and spec­u­late there comes a cen­tral plat­form where — whether through gog­gles, lens­es, or what­ev­er shines your moon — we end up view­ing a shared dig­i­tal lay­er. One where you can see dig­i­tal cat ears on your friend's head. And oth­ers can too. Or where the "100% organ­ic" label dances around the can of beans. Beau­ty fil­ters, but no phone is need­ed. Cap­tions, like every­thing is a muse­um. Fire­balls you can throw at passers-by. Wayfind­ing sys­tems. Notes you leave for friends, or foes etc. You could call this a 'world-can­vas,' some call it aug­ment­ed real­i­ty, or oth­er names, and it used to be an impor­tant vision for cyber­space. But we just go with 'The Over­lay.' And it leaves new ques­tions open, like: what do peo­ple wear when the dig­i­tal is also a mate­r­i­al? Are there ads every­where? Can you fil­ter things and peo­ple out? How is dig­i­tal, yet land-bound real-estate man­aged? How blur­ry can the lim­it between real and vir­tu­al get? Would it mat­ter? And so on…

Normal, Like a Glitch
Apr 27 2012
Short Story
The Overlay

N123, Stories of The Normal Future

Last entry on 
Mar 16 2016

A book series com­pil­ing all of the work of N O R M A L S between 2012 and 2013. Every design exper­i­ment and spec­u­la­tive impulse has been curat­ed into a series of 3 paper pub­li­ca­tions. Rather than a crude com­pi­la­tion of nar­ra­tive sin­gle­tons, all of our more-or-less sil­ly ideas about futures are hyper­linked into a cohe­sive world depict­ed into a graph­ic nov­el, along with project doc­u­men­ta­tions and oth­er stories.

Future Money, Future Problems

Last entry on 
Jun 17 2018

Var­i­ous cur­ren­cies are com­mon­ly accept­ed and used for the trade of goods and ser­vices. With the advent of cryp­toe­co­nom­ics and decen­tral­ized finance we see cur­ren­cies that no longer act as just 'mon­ey,' val­ue indexed on pro­cess­ing pow­er, seem­ing­ly cre­at­ed out of thin air. In future economies could we trade in rep­u­ta­tion, inter­net hype, likes, bio­di­ver­si­ty, tok­enized frus­tra­tions, good inten­tions, com­plete­ly arbi­trary things, or just not trade? And what would be the micro- or macro­eco­nom­ic impli­ca­tions of such new systems?

The Price of Appreciation
Feb 15 2015
digital superstitions
Future Currencies
Speculative Journalism

Locales of the Normal Future

Last entry on 
Apr 24 2015

Sit­ting on a wall, N°433 slow­ly sips an ultra­vi­t­a­m­i­nat­ed rain­bow juice aug­ment­ed with lit­tle spi­ral­ing clouds. Before her, acres of vir­gin land spread­ing out are pro­gres­sive­ly lev­eled by a myr­i­ad of print­ers dron­ing about. Frenz are run­ning around, impa­tient to final­ly make this lit­tle piece of Cul­ture their own.
— And so, we get to build what we want?
N°73 is already busy plan­ning for the gigan­tic mon­u­ment to him­self he'd always want­ed. — "Ye" — with­out look­ing away from his inter­face. "Well, with­in the lim­its of reason…"
N°433 laughs.
— And what are these lim­its exactly?
'Locales of the Nor­mal Future' is a series of world-build­ing work­shops invit­ing design stu­dents to cre­ative­ly role-play res­i­dents in the world of N O R M A L S. 

Speculative Soundtracks

The Future Fishing Training Program