The Collapse of Change: A View from the Future


The ship’s log of Novo Potosi is an exploration of the future looking backward to recent Latin American history. Almost like an anthropology of the future, Potosi explores a dystopian scenario where Latin America as a place and imaginary, ceases to exist. Causes and reasons for the extinction of Latin America are uncertain in the story, but generally point to situations of a lock-in, where different socio-technical trajectories reach a tipping point toward collapse but actors and institutions found themselves unable to change. The idea of collapse is very different from the notion of a ‘tipping bomb’ or the prospect of nuclear winter in the 60s, 70s and 80s. The collapse traced in the video is something much deeper. It is something that is already going on at the economic, social and environmental level and cannot be cancelled in a single action. There is no cutting the red cord there. The collapse informing this future is a process with enormous inertia. Indeed, it is a more than human inertia that was triggered by a process called Anthropocene. Perhaps uncertainty about the collapse is related to the inability to change? This is difficult to know from the perspective of an anthropology of the future. There are only remaining fragments. Like the little residues that the sea brings back to the shore, you never find a complete story. That’s why, in the anthropology of the future, reality easily mixes with fiction and becomes myth. Perhaps the saddest finding of the exploration of the future is not the collapse, nor the failure to take alternative pathways, but the utter disappearance of the imagination for change.


Preferred Citation
Fleischman, Luciana; Shwafaty, Beto; Ilich, Fran: The Collapse of Change: A View from the Future. (2015). Lüneburg: Centre for Digital Cultures (, ). DOI: 10.25969/mediarep/3862.
 author = {Fleischman, Luciana and Shwafaty, Beto and Ilich, Fran},
 title = {The Collapse of Change: A View from the Future},
 year = 2015,
 doi = {10.25969/mediarep/3862},
 address = {Lüneburg},

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