Near Future Laboratory in 2021

Thursday 6th January, 2022 - Bruce Sterling

FROM: The Near Future Laboratory
SUBJECT: 2021 — A Year In A List

The Near Future Laboratory isn’t a ‘normal’ organization by any means — we’re a distributed network of accomplished practitioners based in five different cities in California, Mexico, Switzerland and Spain.

We each have our own personal interests but come together through projects inspired by our curiosities, experiences, and expertise in design, engineering, anthropology and futures. It’s been an interesting year to say the least — we’ve collectively experienced rapid changes in society, culture and technology, alongside changes in our personal and work lives. As we look forward to 2022, here’s a bulleted list of what we got up to over the last twelve months.We wish you all a happy, healthy, and productively creative new year!

– Fabien, Isra, Julian, Nick and Nicolas


Julian launches the Near Future Laboratory podcast with a pilot featuring Fabien and Nicolas exploring what it means to be a generalist. The archive now comprises 22 episodes.

Nicolas releases his new book co-edited with Disnovation “A Bestiary of the Anthropocene: On Hybrid Plants, Animals, Minerals, Fungi, and Other Specimens”

The Design Fiction Newsletter is launched.

Fabien releases a new version of próximo, an ​​online text editor with a ‘Map it’ button.


Julian produces a piece of Design Fiction for his company OMATA — perhaps the world’s first Corporate Annual Report from the Future.

Nicolas presents a Design Fiction 101 workshop at Politecnico in Milan (Italy).

Nicolas starts a six-month visiting professorship at the Department of Sociology at the University of Geneva.

Fabien starts his “travel around the near future in 50 maps” atlas project.

The Near Future Laboratory Discord is launched (which now has over 500 members)
Nicolas presents a short futures research project for the city of Lyon (France) about digital sovereignty….