University of Connecticut/University of Bonn Symposium on “Radical Futures”

The symposium brings together researchers from Germany and the US to discuss both the future of media and form(at)s of imagination/ imaginaries in the 21st century. Central to the discussion is the role of knowledge of the future for the imagination of digital media in a variety of potential social contexts. How can our imagination contribute to knowing the future? Which kinds of imaginaries do we consult for this purpose? Whose imagination/imaginaries receive(s) a voice? What past imaginations/imaginaries have infused the present today? What diverse digital media can we conjure up for futures that may not reflect who we are today? What truths are available today that inform realities to come? 

The event is inspired by the publication of Media Futures. Theory and Aesthetics, co-authored by Christoph Ernst and Jens Schröter (2021, forthcoming from Palgrave); and by the translation of Vilém Flusser’s (retro)futuristic What If? 22 Scenarios in Search of Images (translated by Anke Finger and Kenneth Kronenberg and with an afterword by Kenneth Goldsmith), a project that is also part of Greenhouse Studios.

Radical Futures” Participants

During our discussions, we will take the books, among other materials, as incentives to explore questions related to our current notion of digital media as “future media,” future cultures of truth, and the imagination of technologies for social change. Potential topics include ubiquitous computing, artificial intelligence, quantum computers, science fiction, social media, interfaces, retro-futurism, radical imagination and more; and we seek to debate ideas from different fields such as media theory, science & technology studies, Afrofuturism and critical futures studies.

This Symposium is sponsored by the UConn Humanities Institute, the Future of Truth Initiative and DHMS. It is organized by Anke Finger (UConn) and Christoph Ernst (University of Bonn).

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