A new experimental technology was unveiled on Saturday, October 19th at The Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City. The world’s first ‘Junk Mail Machine’ was available for test demonstrations by the press and curious visitors. The machine, devised and constructed by The Extrapolation Factory, materializes junk mail from the future by interpreting operators’ future forecasts.
Over the course of a week-long residency at The Storefront for Art and Architecture, The Extrapolation Factory built the Junk Mail Machine – an experimental futuring prototype which prompts visitors to envision new and augmented needs, as well as the businesses/services that might arise in response. The Junk Mail Machine was available for trial use for two days, rapidly translating visitors’ future-visions into “future junk mail” – to be sent to a recipient of the visitor’s choice, as well as displayed at the storefront.
This experiment proposed a process for imagining and visualizing diverse futures for New York City’s commerce, through the eyes of individuals. Visitors engaged with custom futuring tools, props, and thought diagrams to imagine these future scenarios. The resulting junk mail visualized the imagined outcomes, as well as implicitly hinting at the implications of the scenarios.
Though it’s rarely welcomed, junk mail hints at facets of today’s technological and cultural landscape. It is a stream of invasive artifacts which we perceive to portray authentic services, products, and offers. The Extrapolation Factory appropriated the language of junk mail as a way to co-opt the present diverse visions of the future, as a way to position these fictional visions of the future.