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Agence Future - the idea

Maya on Waterloo Bridge during her training session on a fairinged Street Machine Gt The decision to cycle around the world was easy. Maya van Leemput explains: "When I met Bram he used to race around Brussels on his roller-skates, the hand built base of which was fitted onto a pair of Eastern European sneakers; unusual means of transport indeed.

Both of us had owned and ridden bicycles all our lives but only when we moved to England, was cycling to start playing a major part in our daily lives. Bram who had gone to set up in London found a job as a bicycle messenger. When I arrived in the UK half a year later, having finished my degree in communications, a brand new aluminium mountain bike was waiting for me in our tiny South London flat.

At first fear stricken by the hectic traffic of the Old Kent Road I would sit closely in Bram's wheel but soon I got used to commuting on my bike. I really learned to appreciate Bram's slipstream when we went tour ing in Southern Europe. It was around the same time that we started making plans for our journey around the world with Agence Future.

Bram was studying fine arts at Middlesex University and I had set out on a doctoral study into "Visions of the Future on Television" at the University of Westminster. We got talking about a way to take my research further, into the field and on to the roads of the world.

We asked ourselves where images of the future come from and we decided to find out in a worldwide survey of what people everywhere on earth, scientists, philosophers, artists, farmers, housewives or businessmen, have to say about times to come.

Having been hooked on cycling for a while by then, the decision to take our bikes on the journey was an easy one. Bram got a job as a bicycle mechanic, he went track training and joined a club for Sunday rides and I was -and still am- learning to keep up with him.

Preparations for our voyage of discovery into the future have been on going. Bram focused on photography during his degree course and today he is responsible for the stills and video footage for Agence Future as well as for technical and logistical issues on the road. During these last months before our departure he is working in Bikefix, the well-reputed central London shop where we first saw the Street Machine and where we met Paul Hollants from HP Velotechnik.

Meanwhile I have been developing our academic research at the Free University of Brussels. As Agence Future's communicator I have written several articles for Flemish publications and am researching future related stories for us to chase, establishing contacts, figuring out administrative isues, finding media outlets for our work and well, I am sitting here, writing it all up, looking forward to the future."

The network

The exchange of ideas and multi-disciplinariry co-operation make Agence Future possible.

The core team is supported by a range of co-operators, colleagues, advisors and sponsors. An informal network of fellow explorers and friends is involved in the project. Meet our Allies and Agents or share your own visions on the future with us.

We would like to hear your ideas on the future and welcome suggestions on remarkable or everyday visions of the future anywhere in the world.

If you have comments or questions, do not hesitate to get in touch. You can contact us about all aspects of the project: practical issues (such as where to spend the night, what to take), the network (could you be an agent or an ally?), the research (theory building and analysis), content (topics and locations), publications or creative contributions.

Maya van Leemput, mail@agencefuture.org www.agencefuture.org

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Last changed: May 21, 2012