MUNA Lab: Helsinki Design Week

— An innovation journey for a cultural organization in Finland

MUNA 2022-2055 is a design fiction film for Nordic Culture Point, an institution of the Nordic Council of Ministers which works to support Nordic co-operation so that everyone is able to participate in socio-cultural life on equal terms.

Set in MUNA Lab in Suomenlinna island, Helsinki, Finland, the film follows a group of time travelers passing through the laboratory to explore “The E.G.G.”, the first artifact retrieved in the island that doesn’t belong to the past but to Suomenlinna of 2055.

When two of MUNA’s maritime archaeologists, Annika Bergvik-Forsander and Moa West, found the artifact in one of their daily excavations, their instinct was to call The Time Travel Agency so together they would guide a crew to see more of this artifact and of the society of future Suomenlinna.

Before finding “The E.G.G.”, MUNA specialized in the [past] underwater cultural heritage of the island; this trip documents its transition to also doing future archaeology.

The experience that the time travelers go through reflects contemporary cultural concerns about dystopian futures, the breakdown of imagination, crafting optimistic future narratives, and the alienation of the self.

The film is being watched as a TV commercial in another world.

The film is the second delivery of a futures investigation designed with Nordic Culture Point to launch during Helsinki Design Week, the largest design festival in the Nordics. 
The first delivery was the live, open-to-the-public intervention using speculative design to travel to Suomenlinna of the future.

MUNA 2022-2055 is at the same time: an ad for the laboratory to encourage more visitors / time travelers; a souvenir of Nordic Culture Point’s contribution to Helsinki Design Week 2022; and a memory of their first instance playing with Futures Innovation.

Our choice to deliver a piece of design fiction came from its ability to depict someone’s possibilities of hope for the future, and to convey what it feels like to live in that future. Issues like to whom do we offer the future, and the tone we apply to the internal stories we make about the future are placed in question.

Innovation for a cultural organization

Motivated by the question “How do we bring innovation and futures design to a cultural organization and their new audience?”, we relied on Palindrome as the future-traveling tool that could bring our clients and their clients safely and playfully into the future. The rest, was getting our clients to create a “container”, a world-building piece from where to keep offering futures later on.

MUNA Lab is the response to Nordic Culture Point’s first quest to use futures design in their programming, towards the creation of other, better futures with its audience.

From Annika Bergvik-Forsander & Moa West:

How do we design an optimistic future?

In a time where emphasis is often put on heavy, negative, and disastrous events and feelings, we need to find a way to flip the script and open up to new possibilities and stories which could be futures to be invested in.

Join us in a workshop around the future on the beautiful Suomenlinna island.

Let the history and imagined artifacts of the fortress make your imagination run free, and come together in this immersive space where we will face future challenges and solutions together.

Subtly set in a near future when “future archaeology” is part of the program that cultural institutions in the Nordics offer, MUNA Lab was the chosen name for the first “futures unit” inside Nordic Culture Point:

A futures laboratory conceived by Annika and Moa, set in their offices in Suomenlinna island, and specializing on exploration of the island itself– both its past and future.

MUNA has a brand an a physical space where to bring people together “from time to time”.

As a TV commercial broadcasted to a (so far) unknown world, the film introduces the world of MUNA and welcomes people to it. Its core message is “Someone found a new artifact and a crew was invited to explore it. Book another trip to time travel in MUNA!”

The film ultimately encourages other crews to come to MUNA to travel to Suomenlinna of the future, to learn from its society and from themselves, and to create optimistic futures in an adventure accessible to all.

MUNA 2022-2055 is a film production by The Time Travel Agency and Emilio Janhunen Calderón.

This is The Time Travel Agency’s second design fiction film after Petroterapia (Barcelona, 2019) explored a future where the caring economy had evolved, and we cared for rocks as we cared for human beings.

The Time Travel Agency is a futures design and innovation studio whose practice is based around the principle of helping people reach futures of their own and in which they possess agency. It is best known for their immersive experiments, world-imagining products, prototyping environments, and Web3 consultancy in the Nordics, the Americas, and online.