about us

Future Histories Studio

The Future Histories Studio (FHS) is a new laboratory for emerging modes of arts-centered research, production, and presentation founded by Stephanie Dinkins with support from the Mellon Foundation.  It is an exploratory hub for those interested in hybrid inquiry and developing practice-based research at the intersections of art, technology, race, storytelling, and social justice.  

Located in the Department of Art at Stony Brook University,  FHS experiments with art at the intersection of emerging technologies. Specific research areas include, but are not limited to artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics, and bio-art inclusive of computer vision, data equity, community agreement, governance, and care. Emphasis is on art and knowledge production exploring concepts, questions, and intuitions through free study, practice, craft, tinkering, and collaboration with the aim of combating techno supremacy by modeling and alternative methodologies with the potential for tangible social impact.

Visit us in Staller Room 4222 if you are in the area. 

Fall 2022 Hours: TBD

FHS is a part of The Digital Inquiry, Speculation, Collaboration, & Optimism (DISCO) network. Initiated in April 2021 with the generous support of the Mellon Foundation, DISCO envisions a new anti-racist, anti-ableist digital future through a speculative, experimental, nuanced, and critical lens to be investigated with a variety of approaches at labs on five leading public research universities.

The DISCO network consists of labs run by professor Lisa Nakamura and associate professor Remi Yergeau, University of Michigan; professor André Brock, Georgia Institute of Technology; professor Rayvon Fouché, Purdue University; professor Catherine Knight Steele, the University of Maryland; and professor Stephanie Dinkins, Stony Brook University.

Both the FHS and DISCO are grounded in Digital Optimism

Optimism is the belief that the interval between the now and liberation is where we can act. Think of optimism as the resources — the excess of life — that we pull together in order to thrive amidst the desiccation of modernity, the extraction of capitalism, and the violence of the state. It is more than survival and it often falls short of celebration and ecstasy. Optimism is the recognition that there are elements of life that vivify and energize in the here and the now, despite and amidst the purgatory one must endure. Sometimes that energy is found in stillness; sometimes in refusal; and even in moments of catharsis.

Optimism doesn’t mean that everything is going to be okay, or even that everything *could* be okay, but rather there is a commitment to being okay because if not now, when? 

Rather than asking how we might regain the optimism of/for a digital future, we ask, what choice do we have other than to be optimistic? Really! What are the alternatives? Fear? Anger? Coercion? Nihilism? Solipsism? “The society of enmity”? (Mbembe 2016;2019).