We help people build optimistic futures. 

The Time Travel Agency operates under the cover of a speculative design and innovation studio in the Nordics, the Americas, and online. 

Our studio is a response to hopelessness about the future. We aim to reach futures in which people possess agency and feel happy to be alive.
For organizations that need to survive, we help them to adapt.

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The Time Travel Transmissions

Scenario Design: MOVING DAY

A scenario of adaptation: how life rearranged itself to meet a panicky situation

Concerned with the question 'How does Worldbuilding fit in a process of adaptation?’ we looked into the worldbuilding tools in our futuremaking and created a new world during Summer 2023.

Worldbuilding is a stage in our process that allows futures to be explored. We make worlds so our clients feel what it’s like to live in and affect those worlds- to feel agency. What if the process of adaptation was pleasurable? What if by stepping into a future world we felt good about where things are going?

Our Nordic experiments embrace play and social participation while our American experiments focus on implementing, taking risk, and adapting fast. When play culture meets adaptation culture, there’s a lot to learn from each other. For organizations envisioning how to move forward, worldbuilding is a tool for you.

MOVING DAY is a storyworld built using IMPACT: Learning Edition (x), a game (from fellow inventors KnowledgeWorks) that ignites deep and systemic conversations about the future of learning, which we angled at the future of a city’s garbage economy.

Below are MOVING DAY's ten episodes, developed by Jocelyn Ibarra & Noelle Perdue (x).

About the visuals:

In the world of MOVING DAY, people have so much unwanted stuff left in their apartments that a new style of home decor emerges– unwilling maximalism. Images were created using Dream AI.

Episode 1: 'The Situation'

Ah, the annual June 1st MOVING DAY, a delightful display of chaos! It's quite the spectacle as people scramble to deal with their belongings in a situation that lacks a satisfactory solution.

Streets are teeming with individuals carrying furniture, boxes, and all manner of possessions. People jostle for space, maneuvering their unwieldy items through the bustling crowds, desperately seeking an answer to the burning question: What do I do with all this stuff?

MOVING DAY is when all the leases in the cities are simultaneously up and people have to move. The result is everyone dumping garbage because everyone is panicked. MOVING DAY is a catalyst day of systemic imbalance.

As panic sets in, rationality takes a backseat. You deny your stuff is garbage as you place it outside (“it's not really garbage, somebody will take it"), because when you label it as garbage, it’s your responsibility. If it’s not garbage there’s an altruism in the abandonment- someone else will use it, someone else will love it- it’s a gift to a stranger and not littering on the side of the road.

Episode 2: 'Grief'

An intriguing element emerges—the grief attached to parting with one's belongings.

As people confront the task of disposing of their items, a spectrum of grief unfolds. Some acknowledge the emotional weight of letting go, donning a distinct symbol of their grief: the color green. Wearing green becomes a visual representation of the sorrow they experience as they bid farewell to cherished possessions, acknowledging their significance in their lives.

But there are those who deny or dismiss grief, perhaps motivated by a desire to maintain a sense of detachment or a refusal to accept emotional impact.

Now, let's dive into the curious dilemma of color scarcity. Cities running out of green clothes adds a layer of chaos to an already chaotic situation. People scramble to find the appropriate color garment, engaging in resourcefulness and creative problem-solving. Some resort to makeshift solutions, creatively combining colors to approximate the desired hue. The irony lies in that the clothing itself becomes an item in need of disposal, as it is no longer useful after MOVING DAY.

Episode 3: 'Interagency collaboration'

As grief and dispossession intertwine, hope lies in interagency collaboration: The Grief Counseling Agency collaborates with The Leasing Agency. It's an intriguing alliance that aims to address the emotional impact of parting with possessions during the chaotic moving process.

As part of this collaboration, a remarkable transformation takes place. Garbage collectors take on a new role as grief counselors. They don a distinct uniform that distinguishes them from their regular garbage collection duties, symbolizing their new function as emotional caregivers.

The newfound responsibilities of the garbage collectors-turned-grief counselors encompass a range of tasks. They offer a listening ear, empathetic understanding, and guidance to those grappling with the emotions tied to parting with possessions. They also engage in conversations with individuals, allowing them to express their emotions, reminisce about the significance of their belongings, and find comfort in the process of letting go.

This collaboration not only provides much-needed emotional support but also promotes a deeper understanding of this human experience.

Episode 4: 'The household family'

The nuclear family is not a popular concept anymore. Households are increasing in number now because people can't afford to live without roommates. The average household is now 5.2

This generates more chaos as during MOVING DAY people hide garbage in their roommates’ moving boxes. People offer to help each other move but it's all a trick to hide their garbage in U-Hauls when no one’s looking.

Any roommate who found a loophole and is staying in the apartment is stuck with whatever people don’t want to take with them. This is an incentive to not be the last one in the apartment or to accept to move. A new style of home decor emerges out of people being left with so many things- unwilling maximalism.

Household leases come with a Last Testament form so that people can leave things when they move. During their last evening together, roommates host "Last Testament Evenings".

Episode 5: 'Eco-awareness'

The eco-awareness of this society reverses during MOVING DAY.

As the chaos of moving engulfs everyone, conversations reverberate with a common theme: the relinquishment of eco-conscious habits in favor of expediency and convenience.

Individuals who are typically meticulous in separating their recycling from garbage now find themselves making hasty decisions.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and even chairs are tossed in the organic bags without a second thought.

These actions are often rationalized through a shared understanding that "it doesn't count" in the same way cigarettes don’t count when drunk, etc. The prevailing sentiment is that the overwhelming pressure of moving day grants temporary amnesty from the usual eco-conscious mindset.

Throughout the year, individuals accumulate good karma by engaging in recycling, reducing waste, and make eco-friendly choices. However, on Moving Day, it becomes a collective moment of temporary surrender. All karma is spent.

Episode 6: 'Farms'

While the urban population faces the challenges of moving and disposing of possessions, farmers find themselves exempt from such rules. They have the freedom to remain in their homes and continue their agricultural practices undisturbed.

However, despite the relative stability of farm life, generational farming is gradually declining. This decline prompts some farms to be repurposed to support the needs of the cities. The expansive grounds of these farms are repurposed as landfills

As a result, a new concept emerges—the "household garbage farm." These repurposed farms take on a unique role in the disposal process, now serving as sites where household garbage is utilized to enrich the soil and cultivate new growth.

The "household garbage farm" yields an unexpected harvest—fruit and vegetables nurtured by the waste generated by the urban population.

While the exact assortment of produce may vary depending on the region and the specific waste inputs, the "household garbage farm" yields a diverse range of fruits and vegetables.

Episode 7: 'The hand me down economy'

As people have less children, the economy of hand-me-downs is in a recession. Social media sites for sharing clothes are abruptly deleted. Anything ‘baby size’ or ‘baby related’ becomes garbage.

Amid the turbulence, nostalgia takes hold. One item, in particular, gains unexpected significance—the baby monitor. As a relic of the past, these devices hold the last precious baby sounds. The nostalgia surrounding baby monitors ignites a fervor of collecting, turning them into coveted collector's items and igniting fights to get them.

The rules dictate that these baby monitors should be treated as garbage. Yet, people defy the rules, recognizing their privileged status.

Episode 8: 'Landfill tax'

Manufacturers shift in how they measure the success of their products. Instead of focusing on sales, they now take into account the destination of their products. The number of items that end up in landfills becomes a crucial metric: if they exceed a threshold of 3000 items thrown out, they are subject to taxation.

A Hope Department is established alongside the Comms Department. It infuses hope into advertising campaigns, aiming to inspire consumers to extend the lifespan of their products and seeking to discourage impulsive purchases.

However, the insertion of hope doesn't always yield the desired results. While some campaigns successfully resonate and promote sustainable habits, others are perceived as insincere or manipulative. Balancing the delicate line between genuine messaging and marketing becomes a constant challenge.

As May approaches, advertising takes a drastic turn. Aspirational posters flood public spaces, displaying messages aimed at influencing consumer behavior. Posters present a vision of future happiness if consumers retain their purchases, implying that by keeping the product, they can achieve a desirable state of contentment ("You could be this happy in July if you kept our product!").

Alternatively, some posters employ the inconvenience factor, reminding consumers of the hassle of repurchasing a discarded product: "Think about how inconvenient it would be to repurchase this in July!"

Episode 9: 'Advertising'

AIs engage in emotional negotiations with those contemplating ditching their belongings. AIs tap into human emotions and values, employing tactics reminiscent of vegans.

AI negotiators send ads to make their case, such as images of items in distress that evoke a sense of guilt and empathy. Ads paint a vivid picture of discarded possessions suffering in the wastelands, urging you to reconsider.

Creative multimedia strategies try to sway your emotions, such as YouTube videos showcasing slow-motion footage of couches being pressed, their springs dramatically flying in all directions.

"Forks Over Knives" takes on a new twist applied to household items. "Items Over Landfills" and "Belongings Over Waste" premiere at Sundance, focusing on the importance of mindful consumption and responsible disposal of possessions.

Episode 10: 'The cycle'

As part of the AI's relentless efforts, there are calls at inconvenient times, carefully timed to disrupt work or awaken in the middle of the night. The AI's persuasive voice greets with a persistent inquiry: "Have you thought about keeping your blender?". These interruptions are a source of frustration and exhaustion, adding to the already mounting stress of moving.

By end of May, collective fatigue reaches its peak. People are sleep-deprived due to the constant barrage of decisions about what to keep and what to discard. Every industry capitalizes on this vulnerable state. The lines between genuine advice, marketing tactics, and personal decision-making blur into an indistinguishable mess.

A vicious cycle ensues. Garbage collectors are overwhelmed with doubling as grief counselors while also moving. This prevents them from attending to the emotional needs of those they aim to assist. The capacity to listen and empathize becomes compromised as they grapple with their own logistical and emotional turmoil.

And so, the story reveals itself a circle. But as MOVING DAY comes to an end, these events hint at the possibility of starting anew, of exploring different paths and scenarios beyond the confines of this particular tale. And that’s our invitation to you, reader: to start the story again and go somewhere else in it.