Our fantasy about the future has come to an end. We used to be inspirited by Sience Fiction images and books, but as we have learned last weeks: we can already do what’s in there – the thrill is gone. The Israelian company Genie is making a simple replicator based on Star Trek. The gadgets from Back to the future look old school. And even the beamers that aliens from Mars use to kidnap us are now made at the Technical University of Delft. So what’s next… Is the future as boring as every Science Fiction item on Netflix? Who can surprise us with a new vision of the future?
In 1910 the French artist Villemard created a load of postcards that gave his vision of the year 2000. It’s an interesting combination of old (hair dress, clothing, materials, environment) and new (flying objects, machines, and speed).
The German Chocolate company Hildemard took it, around the same year, even a step further with television, X-ray and Roofed Cities.
Could you say that people were more creative 100 years ago? I didn’t do my research in this field, but if I believe in Darwin than my hypotheses would be that we haven’t changed that much. I even think that most things on the pictures of Villemard and Hildemard (is it in their names?) were also possible in 1910 just like we now can make a lazy replicator and a beamer that works with things that aren’t bigger then 1 inch. We don’t blow our minds but enlarge things that are already here. This principle is called Bricolage. The idea that everything we need is already all around is, we just have to use it. We humans are simply not equipped to create something new from nothing. We can only connect, in sometimes new ways, things we already have seen somewhere.
Be an artist
Back to our inspirator Sience Fiction: the quick wins are gone. Yes, we know about beaming, time loops, wormholes and connecting minds. We’re ready for what’s next! We need people who are able to find the things all around us that bring us into a new world, just like Einstein did (“imagination takes us everywhere”). And no, we don’t need scientific proof for your new visions. We need people who dare to sketch things that provoke because we don’t recognize this new future, and it therefor scares us in a way. I have no idea what I’m talking about, and am curious…