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Paul recommends going back to the future

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Paul recommends going back to the future

One of Paul Benson's robotic creations makes a call

What would be your best memories from the future?

For Paul Benson, his visit to 2097 as part of We Made Ourselves Over will live long in the memory.

The innovative project, created by artist group Blast Theory, has imagined what Hull could be like as it approaches the 22nd Century – and sent observers back from 80 years in the future to help us shape it.

Paul, a retired science teacher, of Hedon, was one of the lucky passengers offered a ride in an electric Tesla car as part of the interactive event where he was able to discuss his hopes for the future with one of the time travellers.

“It was the most extraordinary experience I’ve had this year,” says Paul, who has clocked up 600 hours as a UK City of Culture volunteer during 2017 so far.

“I don’t want to give too much away because it’ll spoil the experience for anyone who’s not done it yet. But they ask you all sorts of questions you don’t expect and make you consider things you’ve never thought about before; things like how the future will affect you, your job and the people you care about.

“It’s such a futuristic environment - the car’s really amazing - that you really feel like you’ve been transported somewhere else.

“It was really thought-provoking. The experience certainly stayed in my mind for a long time afterwards.”

We Made Ourselves Over, which has been more than a year in the planning, was launched when nearly 300 phone boxes across Hull and East Yorkshire rang simultaneously on Sunday, 1 October. It features a series of short sci-fi film screenings which are continuing at locations throughout Hull and East Yorkshire during October and an interactive app - as well as the chance to take a ride in the futuristic Tesla car.

Paul, who designs and sells robot models for his website the Droid Foundry in his spare time, says anyone who gets the chance to take part in We Made Ourselves Over should give it a go.

“I’d say grab it with both hands! It’s so unlike anything else you’ll have experienced before,” he says.

“This year has really given us the chance to try so many new things and this is a great opportunity to experience something completely different. You won’t regret it.”

We Made Ourselves Over continues its short film screenings and interactive events on Saturday, 21 October, at Pearson Park and Humber Street. On Sunday, 22 October, it will be at Oak Road Playing Field and East Park. On Saturday, 28 October, and Sunday, 29 October, the project will arrive at King Edward Square in Hull city centre.

• For more details about We made Ourselves Over, where and when to see the screenings, download the app and how to get a ride in a Tesla visit here
• For a chance to speak to Hessa, one of the future leaders of Hull call 01482 50 2097