Call for Papers: Memories of the Future

20 November 2013

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Chelsea College of Art and Design (UAL) & Institute of Modern Languages Research, London

Keynote addresses: Sir Christopher Frayling, Dr Malcolm Quinn and Prof Alberto Abruzzese.

From our current ‘after the future’ position, where utopias have been crushed under the awareness that ‘the myth of the future is rooted in modern capitalism’ (Bifo), our imagination persistently draws on an extensive repository of symbols, forms and technologies rooted in history, imagination and memory. Yet, utopian visions of the future loomed large in the modern age, often fuelled by spectacular advancements in technology, applied arts and industries.

Even though sequential temporalities and cyclical views of the past have become forcefully questioned by new technologies, the past is still a reservoir, repository and treasure-trove of cultural and symbolic signification which continues to be revisited and reconstructed imaginatively by individuals and communities. The further into the future you look, the further back in time you seem to get…. The conference will address questions such as: is memory scrambled, reversed, reconstituted? Is the future a thing of the past? Is ‘no future’ the new future? How do ancient myths and narratives construct future scenarios? How are myths and histories re-worked in contemporary artistic practises of the future present?

We welcome submissions on all areas related to suggested topics that include:

  • future memory – postmemory, prosthetic memory and the storage of memory in the age of the social media
  • utopian and dystopian visions, myths of the future and revolutionary movements
  • future construction and reappropriation of the imaginary - myth, symbol, archetype, legend, fantasy, science-fiction and their contribution to imagining the future
  • future commodities, biopolitics, neo-liberalism and the turn of art, fashion and design in late capitalism
  • science, engineering and materials at the interface of fantasy and technology
  • the future of mechanisation - toy-making, robotics, cyborgs, automata, androids and clones
  • cyberpunk, steampunk and its derivatives (dieselpunk, biopunk and decopunk)
  • time and space models - parallel universes, upward mobility and future ecologies
  • human/non-human – gene ethics, post-humanism, trans-humanism and the ethics of the interface human/gene machine.

In addition to traditional academic paper presentations, we encourage submissions using alternate forms, such as photographic works, art and design objects or multimedia presentations.

Please send a 250-word paper abstract to memoriesofthefuture@arts.ac.uk with a mini-bio by 1 December 2013.

Steering Committee: Deborah Jaffe (Researcher and Writer), Georgia Panteli (UCL), Emanuela Patti (IMLR), Katia Pizzi (IMLR), Stephen Wilson (Chelsea College of Art and Design (UAL).


About the University of Westminster:

The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations and we continue to invest in our future with new developments, research projects and new ideas.

We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 175-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

Our commitment to educating graduates for the needs of professional life attracts high quality students from within the UK and around the globe.

Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.


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