PAST | Designing a Non-Dystopian Future

Jan 28 5 - 6pm Online Event


Designing a Non-Dystopian Future

Amplifier ( began creating small urban interventions to spur larger socioeconomic impacts in 2012, revising its mission in 2020 in response to conditions of pandemic, failing institutions, and climate emergency. Critically analyzing media’s role in perpetuating disinformation or enabling common understanding, conceptualizing frameworks to update outmoded institutions, and researching economic thinking that gives people greater freedom in comparison to capital, the Amplifier group has functioned like a speculative think-tank that uses interdisciplinary approaches to reimagine systems and advocate policies for a non-dystopian future.

Our group currently includes artist/media-and-systems theorist J. Andrews, African film scholar Tunde Onikoyi, immigration attorney/theater impresario Alfonso Ramos, architect/local political activist William Rockwell, sculptor Raphaele Shirley, and architecture journalist/project organizer Stephen Zacks. Our first initiative, launched on November 25th, is a declaration on indigenous freedom of movement within the Western Hemisphere in response to human rights abuses, failed border policies, and the unaddressed legacies of colonialism in the Americas. We invite you to participate in an informal discussion of how to effectively shape, visualize, and publicize propositions for alternative futures.


Tunde Onikoyi teaches African Cinema/Screen Media and Postcolonial Studies in Department of Languages and Literary Studies, Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State Nigeria, and had earlier taught in Kwara State University and Elizade University. He was appointed Member of Jury, for the African International Film Festival in 2018. He is a prodigious scholar, with several publications in book chapters and journals including, Journal of Pan African Studies, Black Camera, African Theatre, African Studies Review, Journal of African Cinemas and Journal Media Communication Research. He is currently working on book project on African Literatures for Movies.

Alfonso F. Ramos, Esq. has spent decades representing indigenous people for Central and South America migrating to the United States. He is a member American Immigration Lawyers Assn. and graduate of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (BSFS), Rutgers Law School (JD), New York University School of Law ( LLM, International Legal Studies) his extensive contribution and dedication to the immigrant community in New York City has been acknowledged by Proclamation of the New York City Council.

William Rockwell is a practicing architect, living, and working in the Lower East Side. He has worked in New York for 30 years on a variety of preservation, renovation and public event projects with the Art Production Fund, the Museum of the Moving Image, the New Museum, PS122 and the Architectural League as well as private residential andcommercial clients. He is a founding member of the Grand Street Democrats that has deepened the engagement and conversation with the neighborhood community, its elected officials and City agencies—especially in relation to the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project poised to dramatically alter and improve storm protection from lower Manhattan to Midtown. He received a Bachelor’s of Architecture from Virginia Tech and a MAAD from the GSAPP Columbia University.

Stephen Zacks is an advocacy journalist and organizer based in New York City. A graduate of Michigan State University and New School for Social Research with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary humanities and a master’s in liberal studies, he publishes regularly in Dwell, Oculus, Architect’s Newspaper, Abitare, L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, Brownstoner, and Metropolis, where he previously served as an editor. As a journalist, founder of Flint Public Art Project, and president of Amplifier Inc., a non-governmental organization that employs emerging ideas, media, and design to promote institutional, political, and economic transformation, he has consistently advanced critical discourse, interrogated systems, advocated for justice, promoted regenerative design, and helped reimagine places. He has received awards from ArtPlace, Creative Capital, Graham Foundation, MacDowell, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and Warhol Foundation.

View the recording of the lecture here: