Radical Futures Symposium

The Radical Futures symposium, which took place on March 20-21, 2021, brought together researchers from Germany and the US to discuss both the future of media and form(at)s of imagination/imaginaries in the 21st century.

Central to the discussion is the role of knowledge of the future for the imagination of digital media in a variety of potential social contexts. How can our imagination contribute to knowing the future? Which kinds of imaginaries do we consult for this purpose? Whose imagination/imaginaries receive(s) a voice? What past imaginations/imaginaries have infused the present? What diverse digital media can we conjure up for futures that may not reflect who we are today? What truths are available today that inform realities to come?

The symposium is inspired by the publication of Media Futures: Theory and Aesthetics, co-authored by Christoph Ernst and Jens Schröter (2021, forthcoming from Palgrave); and by the translation of Vilém Flusser’s (retro)futuristic What If? 22 Scenarios in Search of Images (translated by Anke Finger and Kenneth Kronenberg, with an afterword by Kenneth Goldsmith), that is also part of Greenhouse Studios.

The symposium will take the books, among other materials, as incentives to explore questions related to our current notion of digital media as “future media,” future cultures of truth, and the imagination of technologies for social change. Topics include ubiquitous computing, artificial intelligence, quantum computers, science fiction, social media, interfaces, retro-futurism, radical imagination and more; and we seek to debate ideas from different fields such as media theory, science & technology studies, Afrofuturism and critical futures studies.

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