::fibreculture:: CFP Reminder: Networked Utopias and Speculative Futures

su b su.ballard at gmail.com
Sat Feb 19 02:51:40 CET 2011

Dear All,
A reminder that this call is still open for a few more days, for  
abstracts only at this stage, please.

Special Issue for the Fibreculture Journal: Networked Utopias and  
Speculative Futures
Call for Abstracts


Please note that for this issue, initial submissions should be  
abstracts (200 - 350 words) only.

Editors: Susan Ballard, Zita Joyce and Lizzie Muller

abstract deadline: February 20, 2011
article deadline: May 30, 2011
publication aimed for: November, 2011

"Since most of history’s giant trees have already been cut down, a new
Ark will have to be constructed out of the materials that a desperate
humanity finds at hand in insurgent communities, pirate technologies,
bootlegged media, rebel science and forgotten utopias." Mike Davis
“Who Will Build an Ark: The Utopian Imperative in an Age of
Catastrophe” in Telepolis [Germany], 12/11/2008.

For many centuries the dawn of the new millennium –the year 2000–
epitomised the future to come. The twentieth century raced eagerly
towards this most dazzling of dates fuelled by the cult of modernity
and the turbo-charged transformations of globalisation and digital
communication. Now, a decade past the threshold of what was meant to
be the future, we look up, blinking, and find ourselves gazing at a
terrifying void. We are living in a time where our present actions are
destroying our own future. This issue of the Fibreculture Journal
asks, as we struggle to imagine what the next decades may bring, is
this any time to think about utopia?

The rhetoric of utopia is well-worn territory, explored from one
magnificent boundary to the other, and now requires new treatments
according to the impact of networked cultures and digital media.
Historically, utopian societies are often portrayed as physical
spaces, bordered and isolated in some way from other social
structures. However, the utopian effort to make things better has been
a core activity for networked communities and social groups operating
both on and offline. In the techno-utopian world of the 1990s
communities formed around the emergence of the world wide web. These
moments of intensive thought formed genealogies for our current dreams
of the network. New tools of networked cultures and digital media open
up possibilities for imagining, mapping, reaching towards, narrating,
and critiquing models of the future. In the space between ever-hopeful
techno-futurism and the realities of a world forever changed by the
pursuit of the resources required to fuel it, how can the concept of
networked utopias help us speculate on the future?

This issue of the Fibreculture Journal brings together studies in
networked communities with novel, historical and creative approaches
to utopia in order to examine the productivity of future-thinking from
our present location. The network may be technical and interpersonal,
a mesh of servers and routers, connectivity, participation, creation,
and support. It may exist in the physical location of its
infrastructure, in a shared no-place of communication, or both. It is
as much a body as an event. What then is the relationship between an
idealistic transcendent no-place, and the embodied realities and
contingencies of the changing world in which our selves and our
technologies are actually located? How have current practices broken
down this opposition between virtual and real? We ask: is it possible
to create more sustainable narratives out of the current moment, and
explore imaginative solutions on the verge of near-future crisis?

We invite papers that look at the convergence of technology and
foresight; forethought, imaginings, and speculation. We seek research
that explores the future worlds, experiences, technologies, peoples
and events of networked technology. We are romantics dreaming of
wishworlds; networked utopias and connections hovering between time,
place, and being.

all contributors and editors must read the guidelines at;
before working with the Fibreculture Journal

email correspondence for this issue:

Susan dot Ballard at op dot ac dot nz
lizzie at lizziemuller dot com
zita dot joyce at canterbury dot ac dot nz

Topics and papers might include discussions of:

- internet DIY
- experimental communalism (on and off-line)
- economic collectivism
- studies in prototypes
- speculation on alternative futures in media arts
- grass roots community organisation: free software, DIY,
neo-liberalism, survivalist modes
- the technological sublime
- the Internet of Things
- communities and architectures formed around media technologies
- radio as a harbinger of things from the future
- technofeminist utopias / cyberfeminism / feminist science fiction
- social/ethical/technological experiments
- the technosublime
- studies in futurism (past/ historical/ present)
- speculation and future imagining
- digital speculative objects, prototypes, thought experiments etc.
- the deficiency of the actual
- the space race
- dystopia
- hope
- cloaning, cloaking and invisibility
- deferring the future
- apocalypse
- curation of/ for the future
- speculative social/ethical/technological experiments – either real
(lived) or imagined, fictionalised or proposed
- networked community formation or disintegration
- the angel of history – historical networked utopias
- dreams of ubiquitous connectivity, of communication and connection
- transcendent myths of wirelessness
- Web 3.0, 4.0 5.0…
- re-enactments and wistful thinking
- imaginary museums
- industrial utopias: the Ford Motor company, The Bata shoe factory,
Phillips’ forbidden city
- The EPCOT centre
- cold war science fictions
- incomprehensible technologies
- robots
- military research & development
- information design
- open-source cultures and ‘free’ media
- biospheres
- cities of the future
- optimism and cynicism in post war culture
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