USC Cinematic Arts
There is one outstandingly important fact regarding Spaceship Earth, and that is that no instruction book came with it.
 – Buckminster Fuller, 1963

A legendary, invite-only story conference, interdisciplinary design event and massively collaborative experience, the Science of Fiction Festival brings together global thought leaders and post-cinematic storytellers for an extended act of world building at the intersection of design, storytelling and technology.

In May 2017, our unique artscience network will turn its focus to the real world with Science of Fiction: Spaceship Earth 2037, a milestone event in a new collaboration between the USC World Building Institute and the Buckminster Fuller Institute.

In 1963 R. Buckminster Fuller, the renowned designer, architect and scientist, described the Earth as a spaceship with limited resources that cannot be resupplied, and its inhabitants as astronauts that must cooperate to survive. Fifty years later the speed of both technological advancement and resource depletion has become disorienting and the alarms are sounding.

The USC World Building Institute and the Buckminster Fuller Institute share a focus on using creative whole-systems approaches to the world’s most significant challenges. Together we are combining the imaginative power of the young with the insight and expertise of the world’s best minds in the arts, sciences, design, engineering, and the humanities. The result is the Science of Fiction: Spaceship Earth. Now, more than ever, we need Earth’s missing manual – but the authors may not be whom you’d expect.

Who Better to Write the Manual of Spaceship Earth Than Its Future Users?

Science of Fiction: Spaceship Earth 2037 will draw upon the most vibrant source of creativity available to us: the children who will grow up to pilot this spaceship. Focusing on two key areas – the Future of the Ocean and the Future of the City, interwoven with the intricate relationship between accelerating climate change and massive migration – we will frame a deep exploration by over a hundred kids, who will in turn be supported by renown domain experts and thought leaders. The Spring event will be the culmination of a series of workshops between the students, educators and experts over the preceding months, in which they collaboratively develop a range of future narratives that will jump-start the Festival’s provocations and actions.

As with previous workshops in Berlin, Bogota, Los Angeles, San Diego and Tijuana investigating migration and global climate change, participants will apply the narrative processes of world building to address real world problems using a blend of the world building process pioneered by World Building Institute director, award-winning film designer and USC professor Alex McDowell RDI with gameplay from world-leading studios.

By combining the deep knowledge and experience of the Buckminster Fuller Institute and its successful Fuller Challenge with the World Building Institute’s unique potential to imagine the future, these kids will combine real-world knowledge with the power of fiction to imagine their future world.

And we will all pay attention! We will closely attend the provocations the children evolve and the outcomes they envision and curate, and we will act on the demands made by their new manual for our 21st-century Spaceship Earth.