Pushing through the market square,
So many mothers sighing
News had just come over,
We had five years left to cry in
News guy wept and told us
Earth was really dying
(David Bowie, Five Years)

Time Machine, a project with young people, helps us imagine, predict and respond to possible futures of the climate emergency. This immersive, mixed reality craft will carry you through time on a multisensory narrative which centres on an as-yet unborn protagonist whose fate is bound to our response to the climate crisis. Our goal is to empower you to act now.

Initially the craft takes you, the time traveller, to the year 2100, when civilisation has been catastrophically undone by the conflict, the drought, famine, pollution and flooding which the global South is already experiencing. The machine enables you to go back towards the present day – but no earlier – then forward again. You can move through time with a limited ability to undo what we have done to the character we are following – to ourselves and our future generations.

We won’t in fact be able to go back and change what will become our history, despite what the time machine appears to make possible. And that’s the point. The time machine is designed to enable you to experience your own feelings about your agency in tackling the climate emergency. And spur you to act now.

I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlour,
Drinking milkshakes cold and long
Smiling and waving and looking so fine,
Don’t think you knew you were in this song

Help fund our R&D

We are looking for individuals and organisations to help fund us in this initial R&D phase, as part of an Arts Council application.

With young people we will co-design the storyboard of the narrative, the experience of the craft itself. We will experiment with ways of travelling through time in sound and video and through the immediate physical experience. We’ve already built an immersive space for the past of a mental hospital, and learned a lot from that experience.

We already have one partner for running workshops with young people, an illustrator to sketch the craft and help storyboard the narrative, a sound artist to help explore the sounds of the future and of time travel itself, dramaturgs to help think about the dramatic elements, and an architect to help think about the design and sustainable construction of the craft.

We’re keen to work with other venues to hold workshops with young people concerning stories of the future, what a time machine will look like, and how we might change the course of events.

If you’d like to help fund the Time Machine, please get in touch.