At the Tri Postal, as part of the Lille 2020 Manifestation, Ramy Fischler and Scott Longfellow of RF Studio examine the role of anticipatory fiction in imagining the uses of tomorrow. They explore this subject through an exhibition and a creation laboratory.
The exhibition highlights, through a designer perspective, the fictions and anticipatory tales of the industrial era that have inspired and even forged our daily uses. Literary and cinematographic works and designer projects are brought together to act on visitors as revealing of our ways of being in the world, especially in the face of technology. Secondly, RF Studio and its Bureau des usages experiment a collaborative creation process, where story and design come together to imagine alternative futures. Thus, fictional authors, experts, everyday operators and designers come together in a dematerialized laboratory to contribute to the emergence of other desirable imaginaries.
Science at the heart of a new genre of fiction: the wonderful scientist
From the start of the industrial revolution, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Jules Verne’s scientific adventures and HG Wells’ philosophical novels placed – for better or for worse – science at the heart of a new genre of fiction: the wonderful scientist. The exhibition dedicates a room to a later figure, less known than Raymond Lœwy or Norman Bel Geddes, and yet particularly important in the history of anticipatory design: Hugo Gernsback. At the dawn of the twentieth e century, he is one of the initiators of science fiction as the promise of transformative technical progress in our lives and our daily lives. Hugo Gernsback conceives, by all the mediums within his reach, an abundant reservoir of technological innovations, new precursory uses, all told, and widely disseminated through popular publications. It thus multiplies the force of the enchanting power of technosciences and opens the way to new imaginations.
After the war, another approach, at the crossroads of innovation, the conquest of markets and communication, emerges.
It generally comes from heavy industry or energy. These companies commission visions of the future from illustrators which attest that their industries embody – and build – the future of our uses at best. Prophecy then becomes utilitarian. The American Steel Union ordered a portfolio of illustrations of the future from Syd Mead, the famous designer who would later officiate in Science-Fiction cinema. from a calendar of predictions, he thus depicts some twenty scenes from tomorrow’s daily life: individual transport and the automobile play a dominant role.
The exhibition also brings a contemporary reflection: what future do we really want? The Uses Office, a use control unit integrated into RF Studio, is transformed here into an incubator for alternative imaginations. Authors, experts, thinkers and everyday actors are invited to imagine avenues for the future embodied by characters living in the future. The public will discover them in an immersive room, in which a luminous audio device diffuses these testimonies which are as many new ways of projecting themselves in the world to come.
As part of Lille 2020, from 09/16 to 11/18, at Tri Postal, Lille.
Find Ramy Fischler’s interview-river in our last issue .