The Future Machine

The Future Machine is a long term art/research project, due to take place over 10 if not 30 years across England, developed by The Future Machine Project – a team of artists, programmers, engineers, scientists, community leaders and committed ‘guardians of the machine’.

Supported by Horizon Digital Economy Research, Arts Council England, Furtherfield Gallery, Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham and the University of Nottingham Smart Products Beacon, the project involves combining digital systems, rituals and actions as part of a mysterious interactive device that responds to global and local environmental change as the future unfolds.

The Future Machine records people’s visions of the future, facilitates new rituals and perspectives to help us to make decisions about the future we want, not one we fear.

The artwork was created by the artist Rachel Jacobs in collaboration with a team of engineers, musicians, programmers, Professor John King from the British Antarctic Survey, researchers from the University of Nottingham – with ideas and visions developed by participants in a series of artist-led workshops, which took place in London and Nottingham during 2019.

Alongside the development of the artwork, The Future Machine Project will design and demonstrate how the development of a ‘build your own future machines’ kit can help communities adapt to environmental uncertainty, build resilience and find ways to act in response through mitigation locally, nationally and globally.

The Future Machine artwork, ‘build your own future machine kit’ and a prototype for a Future Machine Mobile Phone App will be developed and tested in workshops as the artwork further travels across England *.

* In response to Covid-19 the Future Machine will continue its journey across England remotely and physically – when and how we can move about and meet safely.

The Future Machine was able to participate in a performance in Finsbury Park, London in November. Find out more here.

The Future Machine: Christ Church Gardens Nottingham: When This Tree Blossoms


FUTURE MACHINEMaking Myths & Designing Technology for a Responsible FutureMaking Myths and Entanglement: Community engagement at the edge of participatory design and user experience, Rachel Jacobs, Jocelyn Spence, Frank Abbott, Alan Chamberlain, Wallace Heim, + 8: Mindtrek ’23: Proceedings of the 26th International Academic Mindtrek Conference October 2023, pp 108–118