Conversations about Landscape: Voicemails from the Future

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 • 6:00–8:30 p.m.
Exploratorium, Pier 15, Bay Observatory Gallery
Free; RSVP required,* call (415) 528-4646
All Ages

What would you hear about in a voicemail from Earth Day 2030? Wildfires raging out of control? Floating houses that rise with sea levels? Wind and solar being our primary energy sources?

Join us to explore possible environmental futures, as veteran game designer Ken Eklund invites you to be part of FutureCoast, his collaborative storytelling game about climate change. Participants record prosaic voicemails that seem to have leaked out of the near future (2020–2065), offering first-hand accounts of how we’re grappling with a changing climate.

Before imagining the future, we’ll survey our local environment’s past and present. Exploratorium educators and exhibit developers will be stationed at 5 exhibits around the Bay Observatory, to host small group discussions on environmental and population data, the history of the city’s shifting shoreline, and satellite imagery from the last 30 years. You’ll then talk with a partner and imagine what happens next, and craft a voicemail from the future to add to FutureCoast.

FutureCoast is part of a Climate Change Education Partnership funded by the National Science Foundation and based at Columbia Climate Center. The partnership aims to improve public understanding of and respond to climate change by developing a suite of interactive and game-like tools.

6:00: Reception and exhibits exploration

6:30: Participate in concurrent discussions hosted by Exploratorium staff at 5 different exhibits

7:30: Audience one-on-one discussions and contributions to FutureCoast


Ken Eklund, FutureCoast project director, is a leader in the emerging genre of alternate reality games, especially those that create playful “What if?” spaces that invite massive public participation.

Sebastian Martin, Bay Observatory curator and science content developer, Exploratorium

Lori Lambertson, senior museum educator, Exploratorium

Ron Hipschman, senior educator and science specialist, Exploratorium

Kristina Larsen, Bay Observatory exhibit developer, Exploratorium

Chris Raleigh, environmental quality specialist, Romberg Tiburon Center

About the series:

Conversations about Landscape brings together practitioners from the fields of geography, ecology, environmental arts and sciences, policy, and design to grapple with contemporary landscape questions. Speakers present their work and engage each other and the audience in conversation. The series is staged in the Exploratorium’s Bay Observatory Gallery, which explores environmental change in the Bay Area and beyond. An informal reception before each talk offers time to explore exhibits and engage with the speakers, Observatory staff, and other guests.

The series is funded by the Coastal Conservancy and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

*There is no cost to attend the Conversations about Landscape program, but you must RSVP to reserve a seat. To RSVP, call (415) 528-4646.

Photo courtesy of NASA.