Second Session: Root Metaphors and Rituals


Inga Gerner Nielsen (DK): Root-metaphors and rituals in a mind shift

Inga Gerner Nielsen is one of the three founders of the performance agency Fiction Pimps and a partner in House of Futures. One of our aims is to intersect different disciplines in modes of knowledge productions that open up new ways of imagining and relating to issues and visions of the future. Inga will introduce the performance theories behind ‘In 100 years – Starting Now’ pointing to how Performance Art can be used to turn a seminar event into a ritual that can facilitate and make visible the new root-metaphors of a possible mind shift.

With this lecture, Inga introduced why a ritual can potentially facilitate a mind shift and how looking into rituals may show us the root-metaphors that shapes our mind set. She also talked about how House of Futures has used performance art to turn an event like ‘In100Years – Starting Now’ into a ritual, that emphasizes the importance of intersecting disciplines in new experimental modes of knowledge production, thereby activating the mind and the body in the process of moving into the unknown.

”In times of crisis, such as the one the world is in today, the rituals of societies become particularly important, because of their ability to re-establish the feeling of community and belief in a system. But the breech in the symbolic order might be too deep and wide to close with the traditional rituals, and in that case new ones may be invented to bring a society from one stage in history into another. Which rituals in contemporary society do we have, that could be used to create the necessary new mind sets?” Inga asked.

As a setting of the In100Y-seminars, we have created the travel agency ‘Future Mind Tours’ to create extraordinary events and to open up all the senses of the ‘Reisende’ (participants). Inga quickly went through the journeys/performance installations of the previous three seminars:

  • On seminar #1 the participants were prepared in the ritual’s pre-liminal phase for a different kind of seminar experience. They were traveling to an unknown part of the industrial docks of the city, from where they were sailing through the canals on an imaginary tour of Copenhagen 2112 introducing the long run of ‘In 100 Years’.
  • On second #2 the participants were moved deeper into the liminal phase by transforming the two traditional future studies scenarios, ‘Man Made World’ and ‘The power of Nature’, into two Sensed Futures. With these three-dimensional installations/scenarios a new mode of knowledge production in a future studies process were introduced, because the participants were invited to have a bodily experience of a possible future.
  • On seminar #3 a mystery was created – the universe of Acorn Falls. By surrounding and immersing the whole seminar in a parallel universe, House of Futures insisted that the aesthetic experience and its poetic language should be intersected in the process of discussing and visualizing the future. The ability to move into and manage the unknown was part of what walking into the red forest of Acorn Falls was like.

Inga ended her lecture introducing the performance installation of seminar #4 by shouting to the other performance artists in the room and the word spread in the whole building: “The time is NOW!”

“Here in the Head quarters of Future Mind Tours we have prepared spaces, in which you can see your visions of the future developed and expressed in different kinds of art and rituals. Our agents are waiting for you in the liminal,” said Inga and continued, “If you have any question to this lecture, please report to the Future Mind Tours’ office. We will be very happy to hear your reflections in our on-going conversation and action research in rituals, performance art and mind shifts. We expect you to give great contributions to ignite the fire of transformation. The Time is NOW!”

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