Future Erasure is a futurescaping workshop created by CIID Research to immerse and engage museums in a difficult but pressing problem: to explore and design possible futures of heritage in a world where there is no universal canon to distinguish what is worth remembering and preserving from what is not.
Our workshop had a series of steps, from priming before the workshop to immersion in the future, to tackling the challenge of the day through various tasks. The flow of the day was designed such that we stepped one level higher in speculation for each task.
After understanding the issue and angle of the Deletion Bureau, our participants started in on their work. Their first task was to reflect and negotiate about the heritage-items the Deletion Bureau should keep/discard. Accordingly, they also wrestled with how to define and categorise European heritage-items. As part of our setting, they generated variations on abstract, pseudo-code algorithms to search through their collections.
In the second task of the day, we took a different lens on the problem of over-abundance of heritage. We imagined that instead of erasing the 20% of the objects completely, we could use a new Transformation Machine to distill them into their essential qualities. We act out a transformation of the items in a Transformation Machine, and - perhaps paradoxically - create ways to re-experience them.
Our Deletion Bureau articulated hopes, fears and desires around the future of (European) heritage - they designed shared and universally accessible collections, affirmed the subjectivity of heritage artefacts; and fears, such as losing the material object for its digital version.