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The Future is a Gift Fair:
December 2014, Union Square Park, NY

Co-conceived with graduate students at ITP, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU), we spent the fall semester studying and making connections between humans, climate change, microbes, plants, bees, apartments, diseases, capitalism and ideologies. This culminated in THE FUTURE IS A GIFT: a craft and food mini-fair in Union Square Park, strategically wedged between the seasonal Holiday Craft Fair and the Saturday Farmer’s Market.  Projects included: receiving edible coupons in order to partake, in exchange for having a photo taken (I Am an Ugly Animal); cricket cookies and jellyfish sorbet (Future Foods); Free DNA (“Give Yourself Away”); and a series of pills for the earth - encapsulated soil with seeds designed to remediate in specific ways, such as pollinator mixes, urban remediation and wetland stabilization (“Future Farmaceuticals”).

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THE FUTURE IS A GIFT motto and our mascot, the Blob fish, a signal "ugly animal" in the hierarchy of species preferentialism

I AM AN UGLY ANIMAL. This phrase evolved as our sub-theme. Public visitors who wanted free food and crafts agreed to have a photo taken of themselves with this sign, in exchange for a coupon that would gain them entry to the booths. http://iamanuglyanimal.tumblr.com/

THE FUTURE IS A GIFT: EAT JELLYFISH. One of the foods served was jellyfish sorbet. Jellyfish are a signal animal for ocean degradation, filling niches once occupied by biodiverse marine life. The bamboo spoons were laser cut with the hope that this might forestall their quick disposal.

FUTURE FOODS booth. With coupon in hand, curious passersby inquire about the fair’s offerings. Thus, begins a conversation about the anthropocene and climate change.

FUTURE FOODS booth

FUTURE FOODS booth. Pictured: Victorian sugar cookies decorated with roasted crickets – a protein source one could grow on food scraps, requiring very little energy, and producing very little CO2 in the process.

FUTURE FARMACEUTICALS: packaged pills designed to target specific urban environmental problems

FUTURE FARMACEUTICALS: These included soil and seed blends for wetland restoration, pollination, fauna food, and toxic remediation.

FUTURE FARMACEUTICALS

THE FUTURE IS A GIFT: the child was game but uncertain about eating the cricket cookies.

GIVE YOURSELF AWAY: A booth to open source The Self (sweat, urine, hair, nail clippings all contain DNA). These bodily leavings were bottled and packaged, and given away for free.

THE FUTURE IS A GiFT: We had over 100 diverse visitors sample, converse, and participate in an hour.

Participants: Kristina Budelis, Brian Clifton, Sharon De La Cruz, Pierre Depaz, Pedro Galvao Cesar de Oliveira, Kate Godwin, Kyle Greenberg, Benjamin Gullard, Arielle Hein, Caitlin Marie-Noel Keller, Zoe Logan, Edwin Reed-Sanchez, Kelly Saxton, Marina Zurkow