Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

The Future is Elsewhere: Towards a Comparative History of the Futurities of the Digital (R)evolution

How did digital intermediality symbolise and facilitate the transfer of content from popular culture into policy statements and vice versa in the period between 1945 and the new millenium?

Funding
NWO "Culurak Dynamics" program 2010-2015

Cultural heritage, technology, and the future

Every generation fosters its own conception of the future, just as these conceptions change from place to place. Forms of the future (or ‘futurities’) build on specific cultural heritages, but also “go global” by the spread of various narratives and practices of communication technology. The “digital revolution” – still unfolding its potential scripts, practices and networks since it began to emerge in the 1960s – is the most recent of such historical transformations, and it has come to symbolize the “new” intermediality and democratic accessibility of popular cultural performance.

The history of digital futures

This project attempts a multidisciplinary approach to these performance, required to understand such a global dynamic. We do this by comparing the concept of digital future(s) in Europe and North America, East Asia and Southeast Asia, as they emerge in the history of two distinct genres of technologically-driven futurities: “science fiction” and “development discourse”.

From popular culture to policy statements

Both genres often find their technological futures elsewhere: in development doctrines, in a different country, and - in science fiction - in outer space. Comparative histories of such futurities will, we propose, indicate how digital intermediality has both symbolized and facilitated the transfer of content from popular culture into policy statements and vice versa in the period between 1945 and the new millenium.

Partners

 

Connection with other research

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