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Clean Cargo: prefigurated

Along the Danube
15.06.2020 - 31.10.2020

Clean Cargo Prefiguration

On one side the claim "We need only do X!" On the other side "But X will break society!" And once again we are stuck in inaction.

The idea of futures literacy is to help us get beyond such oppositional imaginations, to allow us to entertain possibilities of futures and to investigate the implications. Especially on everyday life. To think through implications and combinations of implications, to look at what might result and what we think about those implications.

One futuring technique developed by our friends and colleagues at FoAM is the Prehearsal, a playing out of a possible scenario by a group. This can be seen as a form of prefiguration, the creation of a new world in the shell of the old, which can also be understood as the field within which the physical narratives of experiential futures can be placed.

In the Clean Cargo prefiguration, we are carrying on a process we started a few years ago to look at what it could mean to have clean cargo moving along the Danube. The 100 meter freighters on the Danube claim to replace dozen of trucks on the road, but they still burn diesel at a remarkable rate. What if we wanted to move things cleanly?

The Clean Cargo Prefiguration is a collaboration with Achleitner Biohof, a regional provider of "Organic Boxes" of organic farm produce, and GerRad, an electro-bicycle delivery service. The question is: what does it take to make the whole delivery chain clean? We are looking at sail-electric shipping: a small delivery vessel powered by the wind and batteries that will transport a day's worth of bicycle deliveries.

What are the implications? What does this require? What does this imply, insinuate, enable? What behaviours can and must adapt, what cultural entanglements arise? Is this futuring, or business studies, or a pilot, or a performance?

So far, it is a lot of work. The legalities of being allowed to do this, the mechanics of loading and unloading, the preparations of the vessel, the coordination with partners. Who woulda thought, the future requires work?

Achleitner Biohof, GerRad