Design Fiction

Defamiliarisation Scenarios and Hypothetical Uncertainties

Futures Studies Tackling Wicked Problems:
Where Futures Research, Education and Action meet.
11–12 June 2015, Turku, Finland

Philosophy of Futures Studies


The philosophical interest of this paper is with futures of technical objects, and in developing the notion of a ‘speculative spectrum’. The paper highlights an aesthetics of atemporality as a dimension of speculative culture, and considers the accelerated temporalities of the technical object ‘after the future’. Technical objects have always been entangled in the disruptive production of the future of futurity. Futures are becoming-worlds, actualised for ‘a people to come’, worldings – or a chaosmos – made up of pure difference.  At the same time these same practices are entangled in their own anachronism or the atemporality of a nonlinear future history.

It is my contention that cultural tendencies within media practices, for example in the technical objects of imaginary media and the techno-ecological, form part of a speculative spectrum: a set of conditions that both express and seek to overcome the crisis of our present time. That is, they manifest as that most wicked of problems, that of a crisis of atemporality and of a future for capital ‘after the future’. This knotted constellation is encapsulated in the defamiliarisation scenarios and hypothetical uncertainties currently reinvigotating notions of a fictive and machinic ‘accelerationist’ politics. That is to say, that the future of the making of the technical object, as the ‘new’, as an artefact from the future and for a ‘people to come’ is caught up in the ways in which the fictions of hardware and software ‘become real’ by having wicked designs on the future; how the counterfactual and conjectural, the atemporal and accelerational, are involved in the becoming-real of the anomalous.

Author: dx | Filed under: conference abstracts

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