Sunday, 15 November 2009

‘The Future is Back’ Resources

Many apologies for this late serving of data, but I have been busy over the past couple of weeks writing up the notes from the November 4 as one of the chapters to The Bright Labyrinth, which is my new work in progress. Thank you all for attending my lecture – and special thanks to Ed Cornish for setting up his announcement for the talk as a desktop background for all the computers in Southampton Row. I hope you will find some of the links and connections reproduced below of some use.

This 1955 press report on Disney’s Tomorrowland, comes courtesy of Matt Novak’s fabulous Paleo-Future blog – like a lot of visions of the future, it has had to be constantly updated. Featuring a historical overview of different visions of what used to called ‘tomorrow’s world’ the Paleo-Future blog is an endless source of research delights.

And this wry overview of the whole impending 2012 future shock is from the io9 blog. They cover everything from NASA projects to what Joss Whedon is doing with his time now Dollhouse has been cancelled – read selectively, it supplies some highly diverting news items and opinions. Use sparingly as you can spend all day reading it. Both blogs, however, are worth subscribing to.

For more of the same check out the Marshall McLuhan website – it has its moments.

Best of all, however, is the Marshall McLuhan Playboy interview from 1969, which offers a pretty efficient summation of his views on the emergent understanding of electronic culture in the 1960s. Professor McLuhan also enjoys long walks on the beach at sunset, sincere people and driving in his hot-pink 64 mustang with the top down.

Further suggested reading (if you can still be bothered):

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man Routledge Classics, London (2002)
Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society, Routledge Classics (2002)
Marshall McLuhan and David Carson, The Book of Probes, Ginko Press, California (2003)
Stephen Amidon on Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man, New Statesman, November 27, 2000
The chapter ‘Pods and Blobs’ from the book Seeing is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop Worrying and Love the Fifties by Peter Biskind, 1983
The Introduction and first chapter ‘Chronologies and Fin de Siecle’, from Apocalypses: Prophecies, Cults and Millennial Beliefs Through the Ages by Eugen Weber, 2000

Related viewing:

The Youtube clips posted above pretty much tell their own story, but you may also want to check out Mika Taanila's The Future is Not What It Used to Be , his film portait of the Finnish mathematician and inventor Erkki Kurreniemi - for more on the process of storing data on yourself, have a look at Wired's profile of Microsoft's Gordon Bell and his MyLifebits project.

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