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Update on Rachel Jacobs’ Future Machine

Rachel Jacobs, a contributing editor to Emerging Voices, first wrote about Future Machine in March, 2020. She has contributed ongoing updates on her work as an artist, thinker, climate activist, and academic. You can read other posts at


This latest update provides insight into where Rachel is now, mirroring both her optimism and her challenges in being part of the urgent conversation around climate change.





2023 has been an inspiring yet difficult year as I accompany Future Machine on its uphill climb into the future. The climate modelling at the heart of this project appears to have been proven right, even understated. The tipping points and uncertainties of climate change are happening sooner than expected. Now the sea ice in the polar regions is melting faster, and the Arctic and Antarctic are warming up more quickly. At times, the rise is 35 degrees above their average temperatures.


Meanwhile, in England 2023, we had both a heatwave and a drought in June. Then we were on the cooler side of the increasingly confused Gulf stream. In September, a heatwave returned. My mum recently found a diary entry from the 1970s, noting that 21 degrees was too hot to walk up mountains. Over the last few years, I have become used to walking in the mountains in 25 – 28 degree heat.


The world suffers fires, floods, unbearable heat, earthquakes. Despite all that is happening, Future Machine is having a quiet year. Funding and partnerships are increasingly hard to secure. Cuts to public funding indicate major changes in the way art and research is valued in England--very little. With all this in the background, Future Machine has continued its journey across England.


In February, a small cardboard Future Machine maquette went for a walk with my collaborators Juliet Robson and Glenn Bryant along the lanes of Rotherfield Peppard village as Winter turned to Spring, meeting villagers and a donkey along the way.


In April, the Nottingham local council did a brutal clearance of the shrubs and flowers that were our friends in Nottingham’s Christ Church Gardens, where we had worked with the local primary school after lockdown in 2020. Then ‘something amazing happened’. We met under the blossom trees, with a visit from Mr X, an artist from London who has been collaborating with Frank Abbott, my collaborator in Nottingham.

Mr X's amazing artwork on wheels appeared under the blossoming trees, the first time he and his work had been out of London. Alongside Future Machine and Mr X's appearance, Frank lit up the year 2023, beacons cut out of huge cardboard boxes. We ate samosas and drank tea and coffee as people spoke to the future via Future Machine and listened to messages from its past as we walked through the park.


On Saturday, November 11, Future Machine will celebrate the season in north London's Finsbury Park. All are welcome. For more information and to learn more about Rachel and her Future Machine, go here.



Don't forget to share this with your networks. Click the buttons below! Come to Finsbury Park on November 11!


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