Episode Notes

In this episode, Giuseppe and Alberto, together with guest Hugi Ásgeirsson, sail through a sector of the fictional world Witness known as Avantgrid. Hugi is one of the co-directors of Edgeryders and director of blivande - a participatory culture hub in Stockholm.

For this season, Europarama joins forces with Edgeryders and their Science Fiction Economics Lab as they had an incredible idea. Instead of writing academic papers, they decided to channel out-of-the box economic research by building the world of Witness. 

Witness is a fictional city floating in a post-climate change Planet Earth, where people are organised by districts each experimenting a different social contract and a different economic model, but all of them connected by being constrained in that floating space. 

Avantgrid is a large archipelago Distrikt between Assembly and Libria. Originally a zone of Libria, built to cater to an exclusive, high-income clientele, it fractured after the collapse of a geoengineering company left the ownership of the archipelago in dispute. Avantgrid is the only Distrikt in Witness that is not connected to the Harvest grid. In contrast to the mostly urban other Distrikts of Witness, Avantgrid is a largely rural Distrikt which even contains patches of uninhabited wilderness. Of the 1.1 million inhabitants of Avantgrid, 150.000 live in Akur, its only urban zone. There are 149 islands in the archipelago; outside of Akur, boundaries are being made and remade all the time, and new islands are under construction by various parties within Avantgrid.

The Avantgrid economy is highly cyclical, closer to zero-waste than anything else on Witness; in fact, some Cantons import waste from other Distrikts - especially electronic - to repair, rebuild, and to extract materials. Avantgrid attitudes towards waste have been compared to the water beliefs of the sand-nomads in the pre-Sundering religious text Dune.


Witness is an open-source fictional world. You are encouraged to contribute to its making or to freely use it for your artistic or research projects. 

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Follow Europarama on Instagram @europarama

Get in touch with Giuseppe Porcaro on twitter @porcarorama

Edited by Stefano Montali

Witness is a project by SciFi Economics Lab supported by EIT Climate-KIC and Nordisk Kulturfond