2023|1973: Age of Radical Uncertainty

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TU Dresden | Sommersemester 2023


Age of Radical Uncertainty

50 years ago American future imaginaries were characterized by the looming threat of nuclear war, environmental collapse, social disruption, inflation, and an energy crisis. Doesn’t this sound all too familiar? Are we in a wormhole?
In this seminar we ask if history just repeats itself or if in fact we never arrived in the future. Full speed ahead we’ll travel back to 1973. At the height of the environmental movement and counterculture, amidst cold war politics, the vietnam war and oil crisis; at the dawn of the information age and the end of the industrial age, this year is emblematic of the politics that profit from the condition that Alvin Toffler called future shock: “the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.” 
We will examine American postmodernist and techno-ecological art, design, architecture, literature, and film around the year 1973 to critically engage with the complex histories and roots of contemporary social transformation processes and the future imaginaries that shape them. From eco-fiction stories of forests in space to ecological cyborgs and architectural proposals of inflatable spaceships, we will analyze imagined strategies of surviving in a problematic world and the perception of threats they respond to.
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