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Memories of the Future

On Countervision


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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Introduction (Stephen Wilson)


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Memories of the Future is a widely used term for the understanding of future frameworks, propositions, predictions and approaches. Our preliminary discussions about the subject began five years ago. Since then the relevance of these discussions to the current instability and stability of a political and sustainable future have become even more pertinent and prescient than we could have envisaged at the outset. The book charts the contradictory and often complex ‘post progressive’ discourses in memory and futurity studies. Its twelve chapters are by authors from diverse fields who frame this specialist subject within four parts: ‘Part I: Memories of the Future: On Countervision’, ‘Part II: Intersections of Memory, Formative Experience and Learned Culture’, ‘Part III: The Reconditioning of Time’ and ‘Part IV: Future Permissions and Former Horizons’.

The legacy of studies on futurity, futurology and future studies is historically extensive. The term Memories of the Future, used in the title of this book is one that has surfaced in many previously researched articles, books, journals, symposia, exhibitions, and public spaces. One key example of this was conceived in the 1960s where the concept of future studies reached a global level and led to the formation of the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF) in 1973.1 In this book, which is titled Memories of the Future: On Countervision, a returning theme prevails on whether the future is a thing of the past and if memory is now scrambled,...

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