Living Midnight Narrative Outfit (LMNO): Ankita Trivedi, Ishita Jain, Thomas Mical

December 7th – 19:00 CET

Online Encounter / December 7th – 19:00 CET (Central European Time)
Moderation: Bianca Mendonça and Korina Kordova

The online encounter

In our last online encounter, we meet with Living Midnight Narrative Outfit (LMNO), consisting of Ankita Trivedi, Ishita Jain and Thomas Mical.

The research and design collective creates new narratives and experiences between mystic and futuristic, with influences from Indian folklore, nature and culture.

More information about the series of online encounters

The Participants

LMNO is an award winning speculative design and research collective. Since its inception in India in late 2018, LMNO has worked towards speculative projects through a practice of experimental pedagogy resulting in site-based exhibitions. Currently, they are working on a speculative futures research and documentation project “Sites of Indie-Futurisms: Traditional Indian Board Games” supported by the Graham Foundation, US. LMNO is a collision of wisdom produced through the bodies of three shapeshifters on the earthly realm who manifest as Ankita Trivedi, Ishita Jain and Thomas Mical.

Ankita Trivedi is a futurist and design academic with an expertise in speculative narrative environments. Her current doctoral research examines fictioning as a process for the production of chimeric subjectivities, surreal landscapes and entangled object-body-space ecologies in a mytho-poetic Indian backdrop through science fiction films, medieval archives and totemic objects. 

Ishita Jain is an artist-scholar and architectural historian working on affective learning environments and mytho-poetic theatre. Her current doctoral project looks at affective production of future environments in pastoral and heritage bound ecologies in lower Himalayas in India; arguing for a temporal analysis for spatial intervention through vegetal ontologies. 

Thomas Mical is a process philosopher working on transdisciplinary design research for re-enchanting landscapes. From his original M.Arch Thesis at Harvard on Blade Runner Urbanisms to recent taught courses on Science Fiction Futures, he proposes that science fiction condenses subjectivity, technology and desires in the immediate futures. 





picture: LMNO

In our last Postapocalyptic Encounter, the trio of Living Midnight Narrative Outfit meets with the trio of Postapocalyptic Encounters. 

Ankita, Ishita and Thomas share with us their upbringing shaped by western dominated science fiction and the backgrounds and stories which led them to form their collective LMNO. Or in other words, a mutually created “superbeing”, consisting of different spoken languages as well as design language, science fiction “gibberish” and storytelling. 

How can science fiction and design influence our perception of time and space? 

How does it place us into the world, or even better, with the world? 

LMNO creates room to imagine future perspectives of the diversity of science, using storytelling as a tool to incorporate multiplicities of narratives and freeing sciences from the politics.

picture: LMNO

The Tree of Living Midnight 

“Fibers and tendons and vectors and hyphens become the pleats of a delicate matter. Neither the branches nor the roots knew that they belonged to the tree. But they grew.”

“(…) designers have an affinity towards science fiction in the sense that designers, although they might operate in the present, they are always planning for things in the near future. (…) We have great opportunities to reinterpret emerging technologies before they actually emerge. (…) We know that science fiction and design both operate with a strong degree of modernist technological determinism where the technology changes everything beyond the realm of the technical.” 

(quoting Marshall McLuhan’s four laws of media): “Nothing ever truly emerges out of nothing and nothing ever totally disappears.” (Thomas Mical – LMNO)

“(referring to Ankita previously speaking about female science fiction authors from different parts of the global south, e.g. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in “The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction”): I remember… It was really good for us (note: Ankita and herself) to find Vandana Singh, who also was a physicist and professor of Physics, and a housewife, and an author, and there she was writing this brilliant science fiction. And similarly Manjula Padmanabhan, who is a science fiction author but also a graphic designer (…). That made it so easy for us (…) to understand, where do stories come from? (…) Stories are fragments of the world we live in, to worlds that we imagine, to worlds that have previously existed, and all of them coming together through a series of networks and associations that these people as authors make. (…) How much of these stories are written by the author and how much of these stories are written by the world?” (Ishita Jain – LMNO)

(image: LMNO)

The sensorium of the Tree 

“The tree opens it many eyes. It sees the world for the first time. The world moved through the hidden passages within the tree and turned into thick and lustrous lifeblood.”

“There is a phrase that I have heard you use quite a few times(…): seeing the world new for the millionth time (…).” (Thomas Mical – LMNO)

“(…)for me it is about tending and attending and being intimate with the world, paying very close attention. Not just to the world but to what the world does back. This continuous dance, that we perform with the world as the world dances back with us. In that dance, a new sensorium emerges. So if your sensorium is becoming new all the time, then you never see the world twice. You always see it once; again and again and again. 

(…) in that there is humility that comes with being comfortable with the lack of knowledge. This ‘seeing the world’ again and again for the first time is also an act of learning not to have control because you don’t know what you’re controlling(…). (Ishita Jain – LMNO)





(picture: LMNO)

Mutation of the Tree

“A tree is never an object, but a leaky container. Containers inside containers, from the smallest idea to the entire world. Language and story pass from one inside to another.”

“(…) in the most well known science fiction narratives, science only appears in the moment of destruction, or in the moment of collapse, or in the moment of the apocalypse. Suddenly there is an apocalypse and science is going to come and solve everything. (…) a science that comes from the hands of a state or the military or a rich white dude who can type on the computer. 

(…) perhaps telling stories would allow us to rescue science from governments and from a military industrial complex and situate and locate it to a more citizen science imagination (…). 

It’s about telling multiple stories, stories of a science that is for a neurodivergence, stories of science that is for the homeless, when you make inflatable homes, stories of science that is for architecture, when you plant moss in the concrete. That’s why we need to tell as many stories as possible all the time.” (Ishita Jain – LMNO)

“World building, or worlding, is relational and interdisciplinary and connected. You cannot think about it in disciplinary silos.” (Ankita Trivedi – LMNO)

(picture: LMNO)

A Dawn within the Dark 

“A new tree morphes under the weight of all these new stories. The anticipated forest suddenly appears, glowing in the dark.”

“What happens when LMNO gets what it is asking for?” (Thomas Mical – LMNO)

(picture: LMNO)

An immanent forest 

“Forests come from the future. An immanent forest grows in the collecting and sharing process of each tree.”

“The time of capitalism is up. I mean, it’s not, but it should be, it has to be.(…)

When you change one thing about the world, what else changes? If you shift the conversation towards thinking about love, if we don’t have to solve the climate crisis economically, but through love, what would those solutions look like? (…) That was what “Erosphere” as a project was all about.” (Ishita Jain – LMNO)

Watch our teaser video of the 5th online encounter here!

Click here for the full length video recording of the online encounter with Living Midnight Narrative Outfit

Further books, topics and sources

“Star Warriors of the Modern Raj: Materiality, Mythology and Technology” by Sami Ahmed Khan

Project “Erosphere

“The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction”

“Ambiguity Machines” by Vandana Singh

Mithila Review

“Sultana’s Dream” by Begum Rokeya

“Signal Red” by Rimi Chatterjee

“Zombiestan” by Mainak Dhar

“Aranyaka” by Amruta Patil

Solarpunk: Solarpunk is a sci-fi subgenre and social movement that emerged from the internet in 2008. Solarpunk’s aesthetic visualizes collectivist, ecological utopias where nature and technology grow in harmony. (source:

Cyberpunk: Cyberpunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that features advanced science and technology in an urban, dystopian future.  On one side you have powerful mega-corporations and private security forces, and on the other you have the dark and gritty underworld of illegal trade, gangs, drugs, and vice.  In between all of this is politics, corruption, and social upheaval. (source:

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