Worlding as Research

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Worlding as Research

The end of the world, or at least of a world, has happened before. If a world is the projection of meaning onto a space of shared experiences, then worlds collapse whenever these patterns become illegible. Reversely, a world can emerge from common codes which transform, gain autonomy, and sometimes escape authorial control. How has the agency to create and dissolve worlds been shaped by a common evolving reality marked by technologies that redefine our relationship to language, imagination, and meaning? How can the practice of making worlds become a form of strategic research, which can in turn shape the design of technologies themselves?

In this hands-on workshop, designer and researcher Flora Weil will ground contemporary practices of worldbuilding in a broader conceptual history, serving as a point of departure for prototyping with custom digital tools, built by interactive media studio Nephila. These experimental methods will delve into four strategies: Unworlding will explore the dismantling and decentering of worlds; Co-worlding will probe artificial imagination to conjure shared cognitive structures; Hyper-worlding will augment senses to coexist across disparate dimensions; and Deep-worlding will index distributed forms of memory within varying temporalities. Each of these approaches will be introduced to participants through a series of procedural exercises where they will make use of custom-built worlding plugins, APIs, and game engine tools.

Worlding as Research teaches participants how to hack, design, build, and test their own tools, exploring new ways of thinking, representing, and experiencing worlds throughout their lifecycle from their excavation to their burial, from their dispersal to their re-emergence.

Workshop Logistics

Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Time: 6–9PM

Cost: Sliding Scale $30 – $45
We also offer Diversity Scholarships. Apply by May 7, 2024.

Format: In-Person Workshop

Experience Level: Beginner to Advanced
Experience with 3D modeling tools such as Unity is a plus, but the activities in this workshop are designed with optionality according to experience level.

There is no need to bring laptops, as you will work in teams on computers set up in the space.

Workshop Outline

The Course will be Split into Four Parts:

  • Unworlding: collect artifacts of a speculative world using Nephila’s custom tool and map an LLM’s interpretation of the content, context, and hidden relationships
  • Coworlding: explore Nephila’s worlding API to simulate the contours generated through the previous exercise
  • Hyperworlding: build a game from the world generated in Unity
  • Deepworlding: archive worlds and generate a graph of worlds

Additional Information:
• No Refunds or Exchanges.
• View our FAQ here.
• Contact [email protected] with any questions.

Course Goals

The goal of this workshop is for participants to gain a deeper understanding of the conceptual history of worldbuilding as both a set of practices and of ideas, as well as to apply alternative framings of worldbuilding strategies through hands-on, participatory prototyping with emerging 3D-modeling tools.

About the Technologies

This course will use a variety of tools including AI tools from OpenAI, Unity, Notion, and software developed by the design studio Nephila, which is co-run by Flora Weil. Nephila is an interactive media studio and research platform focused on building tools for interactive design, data visualization, and immersive experiences to name a few. Participants will be using their Fe-ed and Se-ed programs. Unity is a software platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D content most commonly used in video game design. Notion is a digital notetaking platform.

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Flora Weil is a designer, engineer, and artist whose works focus on exploring new narratives around the development of emerging technologies. She also co-runs the interactive media studio Nephila with Alexander Taylor, an evolving collective of people and technologies building experimental projects focused on open-source tools, worldbuilding, cybernetic systems, design engineering, and ecology.