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Words for the Future 

Words for the Future is a search for a language that opens up possible imaginations on the future. 

It gets shape in a multi-voiced publication series of ten word-issues, that each carries two visions on one word.

The issues in this series so far:



Rachel Armstrong

- experimental architect, synthetic biologist

Andrea Božic & Julia Willms | TILT

- artists, choreography + visual arts



Daniel L. Everett - linguïst

Sarah Moeremans - theatre maker



Moses Kilolo | Jalada - pan-African writers +

translators + publishers collective

Klara van Duijkeren & Vincent Schipper |                                                     The Future – designer, printer



Ashish Kothari - environmentalist

Rodrigo Sobarzo - performance artist



Gurur Ertem - cultural sociologist

Ogutu Muraya - storyteller, theatre maker



Silvia Bottiroli - performing arts curator, researcher

Jozef Wouters - artist, scenographer



Simon(e) van Saarloos - writer, philosopher

Eilit Marom, Anna Massoni, Elpida Orfanidou,

Adina Secretan & Simone Truong

- team, creators of (To) Come and to See.


Isabelle Stengers - sociologist 

Ola Macijewska - choreographer


! / ?

Nina Power - cultural critic, philosopher

Michiel Vandevelde - choreographer, curator



Natalia Chavez Lopez - historian, Colombia native peoples

Hilda Moucharrafieh - visual performance artist


If you were to propose a word for the future, what would it be? What language would it be in? How would this word sound when you say it out loud? What would this sound evoke in peoples minds? What would it perform?


Words can conjure up worlds. With language we can name, describe and give birth. It is said that we are within a so-called crisis of imagination; that we can’t imagine alternatives for the current dominant systems that are failing. What does that say about language and the way we use it, and what potential is there in language to change this crisis? If we want to re-imagine our ways of being in and with the world, could we then start to describe it differently?


Words for the Future is a many-voiced series of ten words that point to the possible imaginations of various futures. Ten people from diverse fields of knowledge - ecology, sociology, experimental architecture, education, linguistics, philosophy, i.e. - are asked to propose a word for the future.

Each of them writes a text that unfolds the desired or foreseen way of thinking or doing, this word defines for them. At the same time an artist, in whose work this particular word seems already latently present, is invited to respond to it. By bringing both the essay and the artistic responds together in one publication, each issue becomes a dialogue around one word.


The texts and images that arose seem not only as glimpses of what possibly lies ahead, even more perhaps, these words and visions are engagements with the present. With this vocabulary of re-imagined words we might be able to begin to speak about the yet unnamed imaginaries that we notice around us, and have for the future.


Enjoy the journey through the worlds of these words,


Nienke Scholts

October, 2017

  The first seven publications of the Words for the Future series, december 2017 - Photo, Ernst van Deursen

"It is first of all through the name (or an ethics of naming) that a thought can be opened up beyond what is, as a cognitive site where imagination can begin to de/restructure the existent."

- Patricia Reed

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