La banlieue du Turfu

#enchantment #turfu #cocreation
Makan Fofana
Hugo Pilate

Turfu is French slang for the future. The aim of this project is to create speculative futures for the French banlieues (suburbs) which counter the prevailing narratives of pessimism and deprivation. Not only are these misconceptions misleading, they stand in the way of the reinvention and reinvigoration of these urban neighbourhoods.

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What will you be working on during the fellowship?

We will organise experimental online sessions with banlieue residents to introduce them to speculative design. Participants, who will be drawn from local schools, organisations and the broader public, will imagine and formulate new utopias for their immediate surroundings through the creation of virtual, visual, game-based worlds. In this way, we will challenge them to imagine their own futures and articulate their values, activities and social structures. The workshops will result in a series of audiovisual pieces created by project participants. These will pair sampled or recorded audio with footage of their interpretations rendered in the creative mode of the videogame Fortnite.

To what future do you aspire?

Turfu finds its seeds in places of joy, exchange and encounter. It is created in places where friends get together, where philosophers, archeologists, artists and astronomers all come aboard for a beautiful journey. Invitations to join this intellectual voyage will be sent to the hookah bars across France, Europe and the world. The Banlieue du Turfu will be mapped and its language adopted. From it will emerge a literature that is not exactly urban, but inspired by Persian, Indian, Syriac, Nabataean and Greek texts and the farthest reaching futuristic thought. Hypercubes will become the intellectual centers of the golden age of the Banlieues du Turfu. All sciences and knowledge will be Turfu-rised in the spirit of a shared endeavor.

Tell us about yourselves. What motivates you?

Makan Fofana – I am a creative futurist, researcher and author. My first book was published this February and I am currently researching a Master’s thesis on new utopias. I hope in the future to produce and develop science-fiction and fantasy films that take place in the banlieues. In recent years, France has been shaken by police violence, terrorist attacks and the Covid pandemic, and it has become evermore pressing to share the craft of creating optimistic visions for the future.

Hugo Pilate – I am a designer trying to make sense of the world we’ve built for ourselves while exploring alternative modes of living, earning and thinking, one project at a time. A large part of my work takes the shape of playful collaborations focused on the act of making, both physically and virtually. Over the last year, I hosted several online hacking-inspired events which invited participants to reframe their relationship to their city, the Earth and consumer culture.