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?
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.
- Department of Anthropology of Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA)
- Department of Anthropology and the
Franklin Humanities Center at Duke University (Durham, USA)