First then, to set the scene […] There is a room, stripped back, bare. Maybe the lights are dimmed. Illumination comes from a chain of naked light bulbs — of different colours perhaps — strung up somewhat haphazardly … and from the gleam of a spotlight, which picks out two figures from the surrounding dark. Two figures – let’s say a man and a woman. They pause … then begin to speak. It would be improper to steal the thunder of their very first line, so … imagine an ellipsis … the dot-dot-dot of passing time. Two figures exchanging visions of the future, swapping narratives of optimism and despair, utopian and dystopian imaginings. A man and a woman, illuminated, mid-flow in the to-and-fro of exchange: “… in the future, everyone will have brown eyes; or ... in the future there’ll be no word for weekend; or ... in the future small will be beautiful; or... in the future no-one will care about algebra or trigonometry or sequence patterns or anything mathematical because computers will do it all, no problem; or ... people will grow an extra thumb for quicker texting; or, people will learn to walk on water; or, everyone will speak all the languages of the world; or ... no-one will remember the seventies … or buses … or takeaways or… dirty weekends”. The two continue to imagine what the future might be like through an unfolding litany of prediction, projection, prospection and prophecy: “in the future; or … in the future; or … in the future … or … or … or ” and so on.
My full paper, What now, What Next - Kairotic Imagination and the Unfolding Future Seized, can be read below. The paper was presented as a key-note at In Imagination: The Future Reflected in Art and Argument, at University of Sheffield, 4 Oct 2013.