The theme of the X Transitions Festival edition will be: „Year Zero”. It will touch on possible futures after the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic.
Void or change?
Year zero does not exist in calendars. We will use it as an analytic perspective: a place where the experience of pandemic is only appearing within history. Maybe in the future, we will discount the year 2020 as an uncomfortable break from „normality”, the year of zero chances for change, a time with no value – closed borders, life in isolation, fears and anxieties, crippled economy, danger of long term recession. But maybe it will become a turning point? A start of a new era after BCE – before coronavirus epidemic? Maybe consequences of the pandemic will speed up the search for solutions to social inequalities and tensions? Or maybe the opposite: in a world filled with anxiety and uncertainty, the rules of competition will be dominated with a zero-sum game logic.
The pandemic has intensified a discussion on the meaning and possibilities of digital technologies. In online reality, they help to simulate face-to-face contact, facilitate work, and allow us to participate in culture even during lockdown. Monitoring citizens’ activities (temperature, pulse, movements, contacts) could help us combat the pandemic by quickly identifying a patient zero and people they were in contact with, as well as demarcate areas for quarantine. But in that case, what about our privacy? Those in charge of control would know even more about us than before. We will ask experts how to make sure that control – if it’s necessary – does not become a freedom endangering surveillance.
Global, intergenerational anxiety
The whole world has reacted to the pandemic with the strength and decisiveness that young activists wish we had shown towards climate change. Why aren’t we panicking the same way about the climate calamity? A whole generation’s awareness is being built in the shadow of catastrophes. How should we shape an intergenerational dialogue about the worsening conditions our children will have to live in?
Facts and feelings
This is the first pandemic in history that took place in a world of post-truth and fake news – a global industry of disinformation. Today, we trust scientists, doctors and other experts when it comes to key issues, but anxiety and uncertainty may foster a myths and emotions based picture of reality, full of conspiracy theories and other simple explanations of complex phenomena. What will win? Science, that succeeds in combating the virus, with its experts, and deep analyses, and responsible actions? Or will myths, scapegoating tactics, and looking for easy plaudits carry the day? Maybe the acts of both local and global cooperation help increase social solidarity and community feelings. But there is also a risk that fear will prevail, and authoritarian tendencies will solidify.
The Transitions Perspective
During the festival, we will see what comes out of pandemic data analyses. We will look into the most probable prognoses of the foreseeable future – both in the context of global challenges, the development of civilisation, and of our everyday lives. We will talk about which visions of the future we could deem the most desirable, and why. We will learn about breakthrough scientific and technological advancements, which can help with combating the coronavirus, and we will anatomise their social consequences. All of the above will take place within an interdisciplinary crowd and from a few complementary perspectives. We will try to battle pessimism and the feeling of helplessness, which is why, apart from identifying the problems, we will also try to introduce solutions, share sources, and search for languages and emotions that can describe a world after pandemic – with its growing liability, complexity, and ambiguity.
Co-financed by the National Centre For Culture programme „Kultura w sieci” – „Culture online”
When and where?
from 31 August to 10 October 2020
In Copernicus Science Centre:
10 October 2020