Circle 2: Cybioses – life in the future imperfect

Circle 2: Cybioses – life in the future imperfect

Winter Symposium, NSU: March 2nd – 5th, 2023 in collaboration with Constant, Specxcraft & au jus

Symposium theme:

Slow Futures


We invite scholars, artists, students, technologists and other professionals working or writing on future technologies to take part in our study circle Cybioses – life in the future imperfect, part of the Nordic Summer University, a migratory non-hierarchical group of international researchers.

The aim of the Cybioses circle is to bring together theorists, practitioners, and technologists. Together we want to discuss practices of making and the social and cultural impact of future technologies. How can philosophical questions support the development of technologies? How in turn can technological practices and development inform philosophical, aesthetic, and sociological theories? And how can both making and theorizing help us imagining future technologies and their impact on societies? Is it possible to extrapolate from making? Guided by these questions we want to develop a philosophy for makers and a better practice for philosophy.

Our circle takes place within the Nordic and Baltic framework of Nordic Summer University (NSU). Since its inception, the primary aim of NSU has been to provide a forum for experimentation and cross-disciplinary collaboration welcoming members both from within and outside of universities and other institutions.

Theme of the symposium

The winter symposium on “slow futures” will be the first session of our new three-year symposium series called: Cybioses – life in the future imperfect.

If you click on the link below you can find all the information about us here.

Deadline, for abstracts: Friday the 23rd of January, 2023. (see details below)

Date, the winter session will be held from Thursday, March 2nd to Sunday March 5th 2023.

Location is Brussels, Belgium.

The symposium is part of the Nordic Summer University (NSU), which organizes Nordic networks for interdisciplinary study and research, pioneering topics like technology, environmentalism, feminism within its tradition (see and will be organized in association with artist-run space “au jus” and “Constant”, specifically their subproject Spexcraft ). The Spexcraft, or Speculative crafting for un/common futures is an artistic research project between 4 Brussels-based organisations: Urban Species, Natagora, Centre Vidéo Bruxelles, and Constant. Specxcraft starts from the hypothesis that the capacity of imagining futures and projecting oneself into the consequences of present situations and choices is a citizen’s pivotal skill in the current context, continuously confronted with the threat of crises; and that the pluralisation of imaginaries of futures, working with underrepresented publics, constitutes a cornerstone of the democratic character of Brussels public action. More specifically, can the co-creative training and crafting of a ’speculative imagination’ reconfigure aspirations, fears, and values that are opposed – or on the contrary allied – in Brussels debates today? Their project is funded by the Innoviris Co-create grant.

We invite scholars, artists, students, technologists, theorists, and other professionals working or writing on future technologies to take part in our study circle.

“Cybioses”: what is it?

The name of the circle, ‘Cybiosis’ (pl. cybioses), is a neologism, based on ‘cybernetic’, ‘symbiosis’, and ‘bio’, and it embodies the new technological modes of living that we aim to investigate. It is a speculative metaphor in the sense that the term ‘Cybiosis’ is intended to support an imagination of the ambivalent co-relation between (cybernetic) systems of symbioses and inclusion, on the one hand, and the relentless drive to commodify life forms and extend the networks of technological control, on the other.

“life in the future imperfect” and “slow futures”: what are they?

This last part about commodification and control, in the previous sentence, is captured in the subtitle’s reference to “imperfection”. It refers to our shared investigation of the status of the “open future” in today’s technological world. Alternatively, “slow futures”, the theme of this winter symposium, characterize science, technology, media, and art in various ways. Bringing the potential of such slow futures to the foreground undermines the premise that speed is characteristic of technological change and that constant social pressure underpins technological disruption, economic growth, and an ability to be detached from its impact on material worlds of great complexity.

Therefore, we welcome both critiques of such “linearity” and affirmation of the value of slow futures, their imagination, and practice. We hope this topic will continue, deepen and renew our collaboration with artists, hackers, designers, technologists, theorists, and more. We also hope for contributors with experimental approaches to presenting and collaborating. In the past, there have been long and short presentations, textual (read out) and performative, theory-based, and practical, with artistic and aesthetic aims. Feel free to contact us if you are wondering how you would fit in.

Please send a short motivation letter and bio to by the 23rd of January.

Proposals are encouraged within the following topics:

  • ethical & philosophical perspectives on slow futures
  • non-linear technological evolution
  • artificial intelligence and its conceptions of speed and progress
  • slow futures in hard/soft/wetware
  • conceptual and experiential knowledge & slow futures
  • histories and practices for the production of “originality” and “novelty”
  • slow futures in the arts, theory, tech, and the sciences
  • slow futures and speculative design
  • failed technologies and their “slowness”
  • critical examinations of “fast futures” as a neoliberal practice
  • critical alternatives
  • projections and actualities


To submit a proposal please send via email in PDF format to the coordinators or the circle email below (we will confirm receipt of submission within a day):

Please send your submission to: If you prefer, of course, you can contact any of us directly at Palle Dahlstedt (, Eric Deibel (, Maru Mushtrieva ( Please, cc the submission to Eric for convenience sake.

  1. A written proposal (max. 350 words) with a title and descriptive subtitle. This text should include your presentation proposal, its format its duration, facilities you need (e.g., space, technical equipment)
  2. A short bio (max. 200 words)

It is possible to attend the symposium without presenting. In this case, please just email a short bio.

The deadline to submit proposals is January 23rd, 2023.  The preliminary program will be announced here on February 15th, 2023, where you can also find more information about NSU and sign up for the newsletter.

Registration and fee

Students and independents: €25

Those associated with institutions or companies: €35

West Nordic & Baltic residents: €25

Participants should apply to their institutions, Art Councils, local foundations or sponsors to have their travel costs covered. For those not affiliated with an institution or in a precarious economic situation, it is possible after the symposium to apply to NSU for a partial travel refund (as available).

Important dates:

Submission deadline: January 23th 2023

Acceptance decision and notification: Feb 3rd, 2023

Payment deadline: Feb 10th , 2023

Arrival: Thursday March 2nd, before 12.00

Departure: Sunday March 5th, after 13.00

About NSU

The Nordic Summer University (NSU) is a Nordic network for research and interdisciplinary studies. NSU is a nomadic, academic institution, which organises workshop-seminars across disciplinary and national borders. Since it was established in 1950, Nordic Summer University has organised forums for cultural and intellectual debate in the Nordic and Baltic region, involving students, academics, politicians, and intellectuals from this region and beyond.

Decisions about the content and the organisational form of the NSU lay with its participants. The backbone of the activities in the NSU consists of its thematic study circles. In the study circles researchers, students, and professionals from different backgrounds collaborate in scholarly investigations distributed regularly in summer and winter symposia during a three-year period.

For more information

We look forward to your submissions.

Eric Deibel

(Lecturer in Science, Technology and Society, engineering faculty, ass. prof. political science faculty, Bilkent University, assistant professor)

Palle Dahlstedt

(Professor of Interaction Design Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Gothenburg / Chalmers University of Technology)

Maru Mushtrieva

(Researcher and text and sound artist with a background in literature and based between Berlin and Brussels)

Upcoming symposia:

“What a waste: Art, theory and techne at the edges of society” SS23

“Viral catastrophes, existential risks and the open future” WS23

“Object, Subjects, Rejects: The art and techne of being on the outside” SS24

“Speculative technologies and future frictions: Artistic forks and theoretical schizms” WS24

“Existential risks and the critical posthumanities: Towards a future for human nature?” SS25

Eric Deibel
Coordinator Study Circle 2


Palle Dahlstedt
Coordinator Study Circle 2


Maru Mushtrieva
Coordinator Study Circle 2


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