Image: Douglas Blackiston & Sam Kriegman
Highly speculative review of the year 2022 by Anna Klapdor
Looking into the immediate future often reveals expectations of social, political and technological developments. What remains and what is forgotten? Which current trends become established? What disappears from everyday discussions? These questions currently revolve around, among other things, the longing for “better times” and new possibilities of technical and scientific progress. But we can only answer them completely in retrospect. How will we look back on the year 2022 in the future? In a writing experiment, the author Anna Klapdor has devoted herself to this perspective. In a speculative review of the year, she came closer to the year 2022. In the process, three scenarios – based on current discourses – emerged, which are shared here one by one. Part 2: Fail of the Year.
The one true millenium bug
by Anna Klapdor, 2022
It was research for a digital literature project when several employees of the medienwerk.nrw office installed a special version of the text AI GPT-3. But then everything turned out quite differently than expected: the AI seems to have a bug. Namely a time bug. No matter what we feed it, it always spits out the same kind of text: Annual reviews, and of years that haven’t even passed yet. In some of these reviews, the AI seems to think it’s the daytime news. Others read more like articles from a future history book, and still others are as personal as a diary. Whether they are prophetic or turn out to be pure speculation is something we will put to the test, year after year. So, here’s the year in review for 2022…
Good News of the Year
Small but potentially colossal: The stem cell-derived and Pacman-like shaped Xenobots take several levels of evolution in one jump. Last year we heard that they could reproduce themselves by accumulation. This year, first attempts were made to slightly modify this mechanism so that the bots would collect microplastics. And for the first time in 2022, they succeeded! The researchers tested the reprogrammed bots in a water tank that was teeming with microplastics. After one week, the bots had accumulated 86% of the microplastic on the surface, and the pulpy substance could be easily collected. In a second phase, which started in the fall of 2022, the bots are currently being tested to determine the effects of their presence in the sea. In particular, the interaction with various Plankton species is being studied. What good news can we expect next year? We are curious!
Fail of the year
Anyone who observes the developments of the crypto market (and keeps a cool head), might have smirked when Cryptobros earlier this year announced in a tweet that they bought the rare book about Alejandro Jodorowsky’s never-made Dune film and their intention to shoot a series based on the book. Smirk-worthy wasn’t only the lack of understanding of copyright, but also the fact that it is about the most influential film that was never made. Despite years of concept work and preparation, the film production ultimately failed due to many problems. The artists hired at that time for the special effects ended up at the special effects company founded by George Lucas, Industrial Light&Magic; they made Star Wars and wrote movie history. This history was unexpectedly continued in 2022 in form of the first major copyright lawsuit, which is basically designed to explain to the Cryptobros why the purchase of a Dune NFT does not include the purchase of Dune copyright, and that it is fraud to tell thousands of people the opposite in order to get their money. Stimulated by Disney, who now owns Industrial Light&Magic as much as the rights to Dune and Star Wars, the court case is still in progress at this point. But there are dozens more, similar lawsuits already against various NFTs, which has led to a massive pullback on investor side. The future of the NFT market therefore remains uncertain.
Film of the year
When mandatory vaccination was announced at the end of 2022, many feared that the existing social tensions could increase. But a few months later everything turned out different. The German comedy The Lie, based on a tweet by Twitter satirist Elhotzo and published just a week before mandatory vaccination went into effect, portrays a vaccine-skeptic family and seems to have hit all the raw nerves available in Germany after two years of the pandemic. When the daughter brings her vaccinated new boyfriend to dinner, it at first escalates the discussion and then the situation, because as it turns out: not only daughter and mother have been vaccinated for a long time, but even the father who has been agitating against vaccination and government every day of the pandemic. The fanatical brother-in-law disappointedly rats out his role model, and shortly after, the family finds itself surrounded by a candle-holding mob, which is all too soon joined by violent neo-Nazis. Over the summer, the film became the hit of the year, and a US remake is now planned.
Anna Klapdor (*1986) interned at the Schlossstheater Moers for a year after graduating from high school before taking up her studies in theatre studies and comparative literature in Bochum. In 2009, together with other students, she founded the collective Anna Kpok. After several years as a performer and director, Anna Klapdor has retired to her desk and now works mainly as an author, playwright and story/world designer. Most recently she created a solar system for Anna Kpok’s Shell Game – Lost in Paranoialand, April 2021 saw the release of her first novel The Hand That Feeds, a diverse cast science fiction thriller set in a speculative post-climate change future.