When the Future Comes is a series of artist’s interventions each witnessed by a mysterious and mystical device – the Future Machine appearing in each place at the same time every year until 2050 across 5 places across England – in an urban park in London, a public garden in inner city Nottingham, the watersheds of Cumbria, a woodland and common in rural Oxfordshire, and in a village and on a cliff overlooking a nuclear power station in Somerset. A newly formed ritual or special occasion will emerge as the Future Machine appears.

Each of the interventions experiment with the different ways we can mark, interpret and respond to environmental change, creating supporting ways of looking at the future. These interventions ask questions about the importance of science, data, myth, art, and ritual to how we navigate the impact of environmental change in our everyday lives.

When the Future Comes Collective is a collaboration between the artists Rachel Jacobs, Frank Abbott, Juliet Robson, Wallace Heim, Caroline Locke, Esi Eshun, musicians Alexandre Yemaoua Dayo and David Kemp, and creative programmer Robin Shackford and computer scientist Dominic Price.

The Future Machine has also been built with participants in public workshops, climate scientist Prof John King, engineer Matt Little and carpenter Ian Jones. researchers from the Horizon Digital Economy and the Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham and Prof Esther Eidinow, Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Bristol.

In February 2021 the project was awarded National Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of England, match funded by Horizon Digital Economy, University of Nottingham (ESPRC/RCUK) and in October 2023 the project was awarded another National Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of England to develop the Cabinet of Curious Places as a third element to the project, alongside Future Machine and the artist interventions in each place.

When The Future Comes follows on from Rachel Jacobs‘ and Active Ingredient‘s previous work including: Performing the Future which took place in 2017-18, The Prediction Machine which was built in 2015 and is continuing to tour nationally, Relate (Timestreams) and A Conversation Between Trees two international co-productions that took place across the UK and Brazil between 2011-2013.

Partners in Nottingham
Mixed Reality Lab and Horizon Digital Economy Research, University of Nottingham – Prof Steve Benford, Dominic Price, Jocelyn Spence
Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham – Prof Elvira Perez Vallejos
Nottingham City Council
Primary Studios
Mellers Primary School

Partners in London
Furtherfield Gallery and Commons, Finsbury Park, London – Ruth Catlow & Charlotte Frost
Haringey Council
The Drumming School, Finsbury Park
Edible Landscapes, Finsbury Park
Pedal Power, Finsbury Park
Friends of Finsbury Park Rewilding Group

Partners in Cumbria
The Lakes School

Partners in Somerset
Cannington Bell Ringers
Cannington Primary School

Other Partners/advisors
Prof John King – British Antarctic Survey
Prof Esther Eidinow – University of Bristol

Scroll to Top