Cultures of the Imagination

An experiment in creation -- participants design an integrated world, alien life form and culture, and simulate contact with a future human society.

One team constructs a solar system, a world and its ecology, an alien life form and its culture, basing each step on the previous one and utilizing the principles of science as a guide to imagination. The other team designs a future human colony, planetary or spacefaring, "creating and evolving" its culture as an exercise in cultural structure, dynamics and adaptation. Through a structured system of progressive revelation, the teams then simulate -- and experience -- contact between the two cultures in real time, exploring the problems and possibilities involved in inter-cultural encounters.

This simulation, which began at the first CONTACT conference in 1983 as a thought experiment for professional scientists, writers and artists, has developed into an educational curriculum for college and junior high school levels, which have been funded by NASA and the Smithsonian Institution. COTI has also been featured in OMNI and in a PBS documentary and has become the foundation of a three-year international design project for professional scientists.

For a more detailed description of the COTI simulation, choose "Origins of CONTACT" on the Home page.

The Alchemists

The Squiches

The Mossbacks
For the stories of the first three aliens to be created at CONTACT, press your favorites above.

For the story of the human voyagers on the 1987 Achilles Expedition to the planet of the Centaurians, press right.

COTI Mundi
Journey to the wondrously exotic world of Epona, quite possibly the most thoroughly researched imaginary world ever created.

ALIEN ART : Artwork by Joel Hagen from CONTACT and elesewhere