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Memories of the Future

On Countervision

Series:

Edited By Stephen Wilson and Deborah Jaffé

What is a memory of the future? Is it a myth, a fiction of a severed arm, a post-human debate or a broken time machine? In an increasingly insecure future-world there is an urgency to consider and debate these questions. Memories of the Future: On Countervision addresses these concerns by speculating on the connections between memory and futurity in fields such as counter-histories, women’s studies, science fiction, art and design, technology, philosophy and politics. This book reveals how these subjects regenerate at the intersections of vision, counter-cultural production and the former present. The volume links the re-imaginings of memory into the present with topics such as the fever dream allegory of the adolescent social experience, soft technologies of future dress, reinventions of monetary exchange, rekindled subjectivities of school days, and technics and human progression. These countervisions argue against the homogenizing status quo of the present in order to challenge the customs, traditions and conventions of the past and propositions of the future.

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Preface (Deborah Jaffé)

Extract

Deborah Jaffé Preface The examination of time, whether it be a story, design, artwork, invention or event, is important to propose a future. In the late eighteenth century, in the English Midlands, a group of friends exchanged ideas on the engineer- ing, technological and industrial processes they were developing. They met once a month at full moon, giving the group, who were intent on chang- ing the course of the future, the name the Lunar Society. In a time before electric lighting, the beam of the full moon guided them and the natural world was their time-keeper. Their visions, and those of countless other women and men, were both speculative and practical usually to enhance a future and develop a modernity. The fluidity of time backwards and forwards, like the technol- ogy of the timepieces that have transformed its keeping, provide constant possibilities for both real and counterfactual interpretations. However, the natural world as time-keeper has now been displaced by the innova- tions of technology. While the inventor, engineer and designer focus on creating improvements, the storyteller and artist reflect on a former time to reinterpret it for the future.

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