The idea for a “Retro-Futures” issue, in part a gift from Ellen Berry and Carol Siegel and inspired by the difficulty in imagining newness, was a natural extension of my own fascination with shifting conceptions of the future as encountered vis-à-vis my own research into household technologies. In my own work, three questions bubbled up to the top of my research priorities: Why was the future of the 1950s and 1960s as embodied in design so fanciful? Why do contemporary trends in design so often embody neo-traditional and/or “retro” aesthetics? And why do the radical futures of the past seem so naïve, while the stale futures of today seem so sensible? In looking for possible answers to these three questions, more general questions about culture and temporality emerged: What did the future mean in the past? What will the past mean in the future? And what do these concerns mean for us right now? The result of these queries is this exciting point of departure — a special issue of Rhizomes.


October 3, 2010. Uncategorized.

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