An Ode To Tomorrow // Graphic Design Publication 2021

A feeling of disenchantment has taken over our lives. We have spent the last five years becoming increasingly frustrated. Angry at the politics, frustrated at the monotony of our jobs, despairing at the notion of community disappearing around us. Days and nights have merged into one, unremembered, as our lives revolve around making and securing money, trying to claw back time.

And yet that feeling of disenchantment has been amplified over the past year. The last twelve months have been quite a ride. Something that I am sure we all thought would only last at most a month, has dominated every aspect of our lives, our thoughts, infiltrating pretty much any conversation you may have had. At points I even had to actively avoid the C word - try and go the length of dinner without bringing it up.

As citizens, we have had the strictest limits imposed in peacetime in the history of the UK. Over 3 million people were asked to ‘shield’, isolating themselves from any social contact for at least 5 out of these last 12 months. As of writing, the disease has led to the deaths of over 128,000 people in the UK alone. There is a predicted second pandemic of mental health problems brought on by social isolation and lack of support. Across the world, there has been over 163 million cases and 3.38 million deaths.

There are endless statistics that we could list here to reflect on the past year, but we’ve all seen them. Do we really need another opportunity to be sad, reminiscing about times that we didn’t enjoy? Can we use this past year as a time to stop and reconsider our thoughts for the future. Is the trajectory we were on before the first wave the one we want to be on? A lot of people are asking for a return to normal, but what is normal? And was it actually any good? As we are now on this ‘one-way road’ out of the dark shadow of 2020; we have an opportunity to go back to our lives, to go back to the office, back to our daily commute, back to the monotony and inching ever closer towards the end of the carbon budget and the irreversible climate tipping point.

We can go back to the time of police brutality and polarised politics. We can keep on feeding the stream of fake news posted on our newsfeeds and timelines. We can return to a life so busy where capitalism continually creates products which are faster and quicker. We can return to a lack of compassion and lack of community. Or we can snap out of it.

We have this once in a life time opportunity to stop; think and change our tack. We can tell our boss that we don’t want to come back into the office, we don’t want to join the commuter train into London, Birmingham or Manchester. We want to work from home and we want to go on holiday, we can show the big companies that yes, we do actually like to buy local and support small businesses. We can keep our low plastic buying habits and our improved air quality from fewer cars on the road. We can continue on the path towards social justice, we can make our dreams a re- ality. We just have to seize the moment. The momentum of the George Floyd Protests around the world carried weight - they made our feel- ings known and they were a shining moment in a year of shit.

Within that moment a new form of energy was created, making nations stop and listen. Shouldn’t we bring this energy into two thousand and twenty one? The year that brings with it so many things.

An Ode to Tomorrow explores the realms of the possible and the impossible, aiming to provide a platform for dreams and imagination. By taking a speculative look at the potential of tomorrow and our ability to succeed in an era with a great number of challenges, we pose questions that we don’t always ask ourselves.

An Ode to Tomorrow includes an interview with artist and researcher Teresa Dillon about the future of repair as well as a detailed discussion with Paulo Ruffino about the End of Game Over. Through an experimental and collaborative process we ultimately ask the question, why must we sit in society's confined limits? We no longer need to be managed and controlled.

Let's imagine a new future, speculating to change, speculating to a time without limit.