In this first episode of Speculation & Percolation, Wenzel Mehnert, an Assistant Researcher at the University of the Arts, Berlin (UdK) shares his reading, theory and ideas around narratology and speculative fiction.
After studying social and business communication, Wenzel Mehnert has been working as a research assistant at the Berlin University of the Arts since 2016. He works in the department for time-based media at the professorship of Prof. Ingen-Housz and researches, writes and teaches experimental methods of future studies at the intersection of science and art. His PhD is on “The practice of speculation in literature, design and foresight”.
In his research and teaching, Wenzel Mehnert focuses on the intersection between Speculative Fictions (e.g. Science-Fiction Literature, Speculative Design, Design Fictions, Speculative Performances) and the assessment of New and Emerging Science and Technologies (e.g. A.I., SynBio, Internet of Things, etc.).
In a eclectic movement he combines disciplines like Science and Technology Studies (STS), Critical Future Studies (CFS) or Technological-Vision Assessment with creative practices of Worlbuilding, the deliberate process of creating a coherent Storyworld, and philosophical approaches to Speculative Thinking and Possible World Theory to reflect upon current future images. Therefore, his interest towards Futures is not a predictive one. Instead of looking into the future he is interested in looking at the present futures, meaning the current assumptions of the future – where they come from and how they can be reshaped through narrative means.