Exploring an introspective shift in European societies through five audio-visual scenarios.
11 Jun 2024
The Futures Garden Project by the EU Policy Lab of the European Commission
Commissioned By
The DG for research & innovation of the European Commission through Foresight On Demand
In Collaboration With
Institutul De Prospectiva
strategy, concept, design of speculative artifacts, 3D modeling, animation, sound design
AUG 2023 — JAN 2024
Berlin, DE

You can't change the world — change yourself. Everyone changes themselves — the world changes. This may seem like a naive formula. But in the face of societal paralysis, amid multiple crises, where neither complex policies nor simple promises bring about substantial positive change, it may seem to many to be the best way forward. With INWARDS, we were interested in the possibility of a reflective shift after a long period of stagnation, which offers hope but also presents particular individual, social, and ethical challenges.

INWARDS Trail­er

Five Audio-visual Scenarios for an Introspective Shift

INWARDS explores an intro­spec­tive shift in Euro­pean soci­eties through five audio-visu­al sce­nar­ios. We devel­oped the project as part of the EU Pol­i­cy Lab's Futures Gar­den, which aims to sup­port pol­i­cy­mak­ers in envi­sion­ing and work­ing with alter­na­tive trans­for­ma­tion­al futures to design more future-fit poli­cies in co-cre­ation with its cit­i­zens. INWARDS is uti­lized in work­shops with EU cit­i­zens and pol­i­cy­mak­ers to stim­u­late debate on the desir­abil­i­ty of the depict­ed future.

The future depict­ed here is one where Euro­pean cit­i­zens reclaim agency through intro­spec­tion. As pre­vail­ing nar­ra­tives of per­pet­u­al eco­nom­ic growth and tech­no­log­i­cal fix­es fal­ter, more and more indi­vid­u­als believe that chang­ing the world begins with per­son­al trans­for­ma­tion. By extrap­o­lat­ing cur­rent trends in spir­i­tu­al prac­tices, self-opti­miza­tion, and soci­etal dis­course con­cern­ing the self and one's sub­jec­tiv­i­ty, the project antic­i­pates a soci­ety where these ele­ments have gained dom­i­nance, shap­ing the dai­ly lives of EU cit­i­zens. In doing so, it aims to fos­ter debate and reflec­tion on the sce­nar­ios' via­bil­i­ty, desir­abil­i­ty, and pos­si­ble consequences.

Inner Attainment 

3D Animation with voice narration
Runtime: 3'11"

Mar­ti­na cul­ti­vates her self-aware­ness through a dai­ly rit­u­al of intro­spec­tion. A device lets her inter­act with the lay­ers of her inner world and iden­ti­fy unre­solved issues.

The Wishless

3D Animation with voice narration
Runtime: 3'47"

Gun­ther strives to turn his ideals of rad­i­cal min­i­mal­ism into a real­i­ty. With the sup­port of an expert in desire man­age­ment, he learns to find joy beyond mate­r­i­al wealth. 

Neural Bonfire 

3D Animation with voice narration
Runtime: 3'58"

Oksana and her friends form a com­mu­ni­ty built on absolute empa­thy. They are gath­er­ing to share their feel­ings on a neu­ro­chem­i­cal lev­el, fac­ing everyone's ups and downs together.

Emotional Excellence 

3D Animation with voice narration
Runtime: 1'41"

Hild thrives in help­ing groups with a col­lec­tive mis­sion adapt to the indi­vid­ual call­ings of their mem­bers. They have just received a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of their expertise.

The Collective Path 

3D Animation with voice narration
Runtime: 3'25"

Mar­ti­na, Gun­ther, and Oksana are meet­ing about an upcom­ing ‘neigh­bor­hood acti­va­tion’ project. Under Hild’s super­vi­sion, they weave their own paths into their com­mon mission.

Produced for

the Futures Gar­den Project
by the EU Pol­i­cy Lab of the Euro­pean Commission

Commissioned by

the DG for research
& inno­va­tion of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion
through Fore­sight On Demand


Insti­tu­tul De Prospectiva


Sarah Alla­da
Mareike Wen­zel
Ivan Mendez


Bian­ca Dragomir
Radu Ghe­o­rghiu
Wen­zel Mehnert


Eri­ca Bol
Maciej Krzyszto­fow­icz
Gre­ta Hauer
Ela­he Rajabi­ani
Niko­laos Kas­tri­nos
Mar­i­an­na Bag­gio
Craig Davis
Aaron Rosa
Tan­ja Schindler
Enric Bas
Vik­to­ria Stu­dios
Jana Sgib­nev
Sheree Domin­go
Mag­da Mojsiejuk

A Futures Gar­den Project of the EU Pol­i­cy Lab, sup­port­ed by the Joint Research Cen­tre and the DG for research and inno­va­tion of the Euro­pean Commission