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Future Love at Nesta's FutureFest 2016

17 – 18 September 2016

London's Tobacco Docks


FutureFest by Nesta, an innovation foundation based in the UK, is one of Europe’s largest festivals of the future, and explores how the most pressing challenges of our time could be tackled by developing radical alternative future visions.

"FutureFest 2016 was a weekend of immersive experiences, compelling performances, radical speakers and provocative debates designed to excite and challenge perceptions of the future. FutureFest 2016 saw the juxtaposition of high-quality scholarship and spectacle programmed around four distinct themes, each curated by an expert in the field." (From public programme, FutureFest 2016)


Speakers at the festival included Brian Eno, Rhianna Pritchett, Will Self, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, Kate Russell, Cindy Gallop, Es Devlin, Sherry Coutu CBE and Oliver Peyton.

There were 4 themes for FutureFest 2016 which the curators researched, developed and programmed individually: Future Love by Ghislaine Boddington, Future Work by Ruth Amos, Future Play by Pat Kane, and Future Thrive by Dr Morgaine Gaye.

Ghislaine Boddington was invited by Nesta as a co-curator for FutureFest 2016. The Future Love theme was allocated to Boddington linked to her long term expertise in digital intimacy and body led technologies. Read more

See the full programme of FutureFest 2016 here.

For full details on FutureFest 2016 Future Love programme see below.

Future Love


In 2016, Ghislaine Boddington curated the theme 'Future Love' - examining digital intimacy in this time of connectivity, the innovations in digital engagement in love and sensualities. As part of this curation, Boddington was able to test the most universal of all emotions, exploring what happens to romance, dating, identity and even skin when we move beyond the physical and merge with the virtual, by inviting pioneers, innovators and future thinkers to share their visions.

Boddington created and curated 4 sub themes for her Future Love curation and invited main stage speakers, debate speakers and installations to illustrate each of them, waving a journey for the audience between seeing, hearing and experiencing multi-modal inputs on the topics: Hyper-enhanced sensualities, Synthetic emotions, Shifting identitiesand Love after Death.

The Main Stage

  • Human Chip Implant event live on stage presented by Ghislaine Boddington (body>data>space / University of Greenwich) with guests Dr Phoebe Moore (University of Leicester) & Hannes Sjoblads (Swedish BioHacker DSruptive)

  • BBC journalist Kate Russell on Love in Gaming

  • Cindy Gallop (makelovenotporn, USA) – Sex and the Office: The Future of Love and Work

  • Soh Yeong Roh (Nabi Centre, Korea) – My Fair Robot

  • Dan O’Neill and Lewis Arnold (Humans C4) on directing the human/cyborg movement for the series Humans for C4

  • DJ Spooky (Writer and musician, USA) – The Future of Love Music

Series of Debates on The Debate Stage:

  • Hyper-enhanced sensualities the virtual physical future of our sensual engagements. With panelists: Ghislaine Boddington (body>data>space / University of Greenwich), Paul Sermon (University of Brighton), Henriques Olifiers (Bossa Studios), Maria Oshodi (Extant Interactive Theatre). Read more

  • Synthetic emotions the blossoming of love and romance with and through robotic and virtual “others”. With panelists: Trudy Barber (University of Plymouth), Marco Donnarumma (new media artist/Goldsmiths Univeristy), Anna Troisi (digital artist / Bournemouth Univeristy), Luke Robert Mason (Virtual Futures). Read more

  • Shifting identities gender fluidities and new “normalities” are abound and expanded gender definitions are already rightfully in debate. With panelists: Rhyannon Styles (journalist, author LGBTQ+), Bill Thompson (BBC International), Shu Lea Cheang (new media artist), Cindy Gallop (makelovenotporn). Read more

  • Love after Death our digital afterlife is being defined by the trail of multiple information we leave behind us. With panelists: Stacey Pitsillides (University of Greenwich), John Troyer (Director of the Centre of Death, University of Bath), Louise Winter (Poetic Endings), Hannah Rumble (Honorary Research Fellow, University of Bristol), Andréia Martins (The Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath), Panagiotis Pentaris (University of Greenwich). Read more

The Explore Stage:

  • Shu Lea Cheang (new media artist) on Viral Love is Future Love

  • John Troyer (Director of the Centre of Death, University of Bath) on Death is the Future. Death is Always the Future

  • Frank Furedi (writer/author) on Love as Risk

  • Mark Farid (new media artist) on Individuality in the Shadow of Conformity

Installation Works:

  • Collective Reality - Experience Togetherness. An immersive installation that could be used by up to 250 people, simultaneously working together to generate visuals and sound through motion. Read more

  • Coming Out. A commissioned work for Future Love theme; a youth created audio led journey exploring young peoples gender shifting relationships by the RoundHouse Youth Radio Workshop.

  • Love After Death. A commissioned installation for Future Love theme - a special room of experts sharing visions for love after death in a digital age by Dr Stacey Pitsillides.

  • Future Love Digital Art Award with sedition. Online art market - photographic and animated finalist selection.

  • Orla Ray. An interactive avatar installation playing with digital intimacy by Ivor Diosi.


FutureFest 2016, produced and presented by Nesta.

Cover image: My Robot Companion by Anna Dumitriu and Alex May, at FutureFest 2015, photo by Piers Macdonald.

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