Thursday, March 3, 2011

the tubes of tomorrow: the future marches on!

How do we imagine and talk about the future? This question and others are raised in a great book I am reading at the moment called Contested Futures, an edited collection of essays about technoscience.

One essay, by Dutch researcher Harro van Lente, examines the different kinds of language involved in voicing the technological future. He writes that often historical instances are used to formulate technical progress as one piece of ongoing evolution, that is inevitable, and must not be stopped.

This essay is very relevant to the work I am doing on genetic research which steams ahead at a remarkable, seemingly unstoppable pace. But I am also interested in how pneumatic tubes are used as a linguistic device to represent the future of technological progress.

This wonderful prune commercial filled with pneumatic-people tubes, wrinke technicians and rockets seems to be a great example of van Lente's argument, that images of history are pulled together to create a narrative of technological achievement.

Thanks to James Veitch @seamusamadan for his link to this video on twitter.

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