Tomorrow Unlimited

Tomorrow Unlimited was a short-lived editorial website, events brand, and creative consultancy I built with a small band of colleagues (mostly refugees from RES Media Group) in 2007. The name was meant to convey our ambition, but also to stand for the idealism and optimism we saw in emerging forms of creativity—many made possible by new digital tools. It was also intended as an implicit rebuke to hipster cynicism. I was riffing in part on a certain kind of grandiose naming style then popular in the design world (see for instance the British design collective Universal Everything) and on the post-September 11 cultural idea of a new sincerity.

Our backers, Tribeca Enterprises, financed us for six months, during which time we held a pair of weekend-long creativity events called The Creators Series in New York and L.A. and launched our daily website, Tomorrowunlimited.com. (All links are to screenshots.) I wound up staying with Tribeca Enterprises, where I applied some of the ideas from the Tomorrow Unlimited site in developing their new daily editorial site, Tribeca Film. (It’s changed an awful lot since we launched it shortly before the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival)

The Tomorrow Unlimited site sought to explore interdisciplinary creativity and expose the process behind it. We broke the navigation into four simple categories:

Notes were our blog section, consisting of short, lightly reported posts on movies, concerts, exhibitions, and other happenings. The mandate was that they had to offer some context or new perspective on the subject, no matter how small. Samples include a fashion photographer-turned-filmmaker, the music video debut of the son of a famed music video director, magicians and technologists collaborating in Barcelona, a documentary about the rise, fall, and rise of a psychedelic rock legend, and the creative output of art students in China.

Reviews were long-form, nuanced, well-researched, and critical, and could be about cultural events as well as books and movies and albums. A few examples include appraisals of the 2007 Venice Biennale and a special presentation by fashion designer Gareth Pugh.

Features were thoughtfully reported profiles, surveys, trend pieces, and conversations. Two examples include a piece on oddly beautiful environmentally minded documentary filmmaking and another on a collaborative multi-venue video and installation art project featuring 45 artists.

Finally, Sources were meant to be from-the-horse’s-mouth first-person accounts that elucidated something new about the creative process and the speaker. A good example is a piece from Interpol bassist Carlos D on his experiments with film scoring.

All stories had tags describing basic attributes of their subject matter like fashion and exhibitions, as was becoming popular at the time (this was the era of tag clouds; we had one). Finally, all contributors had their own pages, allowing users to search by byline, and, theoretically, providing an initial foundation for dynamic community features that we had planned to add to the site down the road.