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“Jede hinreichend fortgeschrittene Technologie ist von Magie nicht zu unterscheiden.” Arthur C. Clarke, ”Profiles of The Future”, 1961

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Fiktionales, spekulatives und futuristisches Design für Film, TV, Comics und Computerspiele gewinnen nicht nur zunehmenden Einfluss auf das “reale” Industriedesign. Sie formen auch unsere Vorstellungen von Interaktions- und Mediendesign für die neue immaterielle Schicht von Wirklichkeitsformung, wie sie durch das geo-referenzierte Echtzeit-Internet vorgenommen wird.

Frühere Voraussagen des spekulativen Designs und der Science Fiction zu Bildtelefonen, All-in-One-Communicators und 3D-Holoprojektionen à la Star Trek und Star Wars werden nun durch die Präsentation neuer Techniken und Gesten zur Mensch-Maschinen-Schnittstelle weiter geführt.

Wie nehmen die Designer diesen Einfluss selber wahr? Sehen Sie sich in einer besonderen Verantwortung hinsichtlich der Wirkung ihrer Arbeiten für die reale Welt? Andererseits – Zukunftsdesign muss im Kontext seiner Entstehung den jeweiligen Zeitgenossen als ‘zukünftig’ erscheinen – wie autonom sind die Designer dann überhaupt in ihren Gestaltungsprozessen? Sind ihre Arbeiten nicht vielmehr Ausdruck des kulturellen Unbewußten der jeweiligen Epoche und der gesellschaftlichen Entstehungszusammenhänge?

PHUTURAMA – Symposium on Speculative, Fictious and Futuristic Design lädt “Visual Futurists” – Designer und Künstler aus verschiedenen Medien- und Produktionsbereichen – zu gemeinsamer Diskussion und Erfahrungsaustausch ein. Film-Production-Designer treffen auf Spieleentwickler, SF-Autoren auf Comiczeichner, visionäre Automobildesigner auf Futurologen, Profis auf Aktivisten des einflussreichen SF-Fandoms.

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“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke, ”Profiles of The Future”, 1961

Speculative, fictious, and futuristic design fantasies are a necessary ingredient of all popular Science Fiction media genres ever since. From the first SF writers of the late 19th century to the current computer generated imagery blockbuster productions of Hollywood moving pictures industry, the success of the SF genre depended vastly on its visual impact – and the artistic and conceptual skills of its book cover illustrators, comic artists, production designers and envisionists.

Although these artists face in their respective craft the same challenges their exists no platform for creative exchange, inspiration, and profound criticism. Where can a Hollywood SF production designer share his vision with a top notch SF game designer? Where does an automotive industrial designer draw his inspiration when envisioning the car of the future? What does avantgarde architecture take from French classic SF comic art of the 1970s? What is the impact of a Ken Adam 007 production design on the real world of security institutions’ architecture?

So many real world industrial design works and contemporary architecture are lookig astonishingly familiar and blunt when compared to already established fictious design stereotypes. Are speculative futuristic design patterns excessively pre-moulding any serious industrial design practice? What is the consequence for popular mass-media entertainment production designers when their work is prefigurating later industrial design processes? Do they reflect their responsibilty for future generation design languages, or are they deniying any wider societal impact of their work that only serves as a necessary appealing ingredient of the respective movie, game, toy or whatever?

Interestingly most of popular futuristic fantasies are anything, but timeless; often they reflect the fashion and thinking of their respective comtemporary context of origin in a perfectly naive and direct manner. The results often reveil that there is nothing more outdated than the future of the past. The future imagery are perfect probes to extract the mental history of decades ago. What is the impact of retrofuturism future-of-the-past nostalgia and how do they refer to society’s postmodern state of mind? Can contemporary and future SF visualisation cope with real world hyper-progress in information and communication technologies, life sciences, robotics, and nano-technologies? Or is futuristic design a mere fashion statement like Western style, Art déco, or 80s revival?

Time to invite practitioners, authors, and researchers of future design aesthetics and theory from all relevant creative industry branch to PHUTURAMA – a cross-genre round-table talk to share common experiences, to learn from each others particular production processes, and to reflect on their collective responsibility when shaping our popular stereotypes of possible future worlds.

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