Trend Forecasting by Emily Segal


Spend seven days noticing what you are noticing. Walk down the street and unfocus your eyes, observing which colours or textures or words or objects appear. Make notes of these as they arise.

Every morning upon waking do three pages of automatic writing – let your mind outpace its internal censor and scribble, scribble, scribble. When your three pages are complete, make a list of three things you remember people saying from the day before (these can be live remembrances, or from the Internet).

After the week is done, sit down with these notes and read them through like a magazine, noting any clusters of three that pop out. These can be tightly linked (all are related to the colour red) or loosely (all remind you of healthcare, or corruption, or new poetry).

Make a new list, in which you attempt to give a catchy, short name to each of these clusters of three.

Pick three of the clusters of three and go online, gathering any images you associate with each one into its own folder or channel. After this exercise, note any new associations that may have emerged.

Now, with images and words linked together, get very quiet and imagine yourself talking to a smart friend. What kind of predictions about each cluster would you make in that conversation? More red? More corruption, but X kind, notY? Widespread poetic computation? And so on. Write these down as well.

The catchy title, list of textual noticings, images and predictions all together are your trend forecast.

Rinse and repeat.

Emily Segal (b. 1988, New York, NY) is a writer, artist and trend forecaster based in Los Angeles. She is the author of the novel Mercury Retrograde (Deluge Books, 2020).

This guide was originally published in the Ignota Diary 2021.