Future-forming interdisciplinary research

Meme as Myth: A Story of the Future of Communication and Technology

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Our graphic future began taking shape as we began imagining what would happen in geological terms to the massive waste and technology dumps of today. We imagined a distant future, set in the 25th century, in which a catastrophic global event in the past had caused the ‘Great Blackout’. Technology as we know it ceased to be a part of human culture, but those in the immediate aftermath were still socialised in the practices and idiom of social media and thus continued certain behaviours with pre-digital tools. What would an analogue version of digital culture look and sound like? What would happen if, over time, a mythology emerged around this mysterious legacy? And what would happen if three academics of the future discovered an object rumoured to be the legendary ‘Y-Phone’, which was central to humans’ life and worldview in the hidden past?

 

The ‘Nuwssfeed’ imagines some possible answers, as well as the form a kind of material-digital newspaper of the future might take. One of our aims was to envisage some of the long-term environmental consequences of our current dependence on technology and its components. We found a way of building in that aspect by historicizing the future outlined above. Our graphic fiction ‘Nuwssfeed’ thus became a historical artefact, displayed in a museum of the even more distant future, and enabled us to imply a ‘wise’ future, in which the dangerous environmental consequences of short-sighted management of waste in the present (and accidentally in the 25th century) could have been overcome. 

 

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