[csaa-forum] The Fibreculture Journal—Call for Abstracts/Papers—Networked utopias and speculative futures

Andrew Murphie andrew.murphie at gmail.com
Fri Nov 19 13:28:49 CST 2010

CFP- Special Issue for the Fibreculture Journal: Networked utopias and
speculative futures


Please note that for this issue, initial submissions should be abstracts

Editors: Susan Ballard, Zita Joyce and Lizzie Muller

abstract deadline: February 20, 2011
article deadline: May 30, 2011
publication aimed for: November, 2011

all contributors and editors must read the guidelines at;
before working with the Fibreculture Journal

email correspondence for this issue:

Susan dot Ballard at op dot ac dot nz
lizzie at lizziemuller dot com
zita dot joyce at canterbury dot ac dot nz


"Since most of history’s giant trees have already been cut down, a new Ark
will have to be constructed out of the materials that a desperate humanity
finds at hand in insurgent communities, pirate technologies, bootlegged
media, rebel science and forgotten utopias." Mike Davis “Who Will Build an
Ark: The Utopian Imperative in an Age of Catastrophe” in Telepolis
[Germany], 12/11/2008.

For many centuries the dawn of the new millennium –the year 2000– epitomised
the future to come. The twentieth century raced eagerly towards this most
dazzling of dates fuelled by the cult of modernity and the turbo-charged
transformations of globalisation and digital communication. Now, a decade
past the threshold of what was meant to be the future, we look up, blinking,
and find ourselves gazing at a terrifying void. This particular set of
historical circumstances means that we are living in a time where our
present actions are steadily destroying our own future. This issue of the
Fibreculture Journal asks, as we struggle to imagine what the next decades
may bring, is this any time to think about Utopia?

The rhetoric of utopia is well-worn territory, explored from one magnificent
boundary to the other, and now requires new treatments according to the
impact of networked cultures and digital media. Historically, utopian
societies are often portrayed as physical spaces, bordered and isolated in
some way from other social structures. However, the utopian effort to make
things better has been a core activity for networked communities and social
groups operating both on and offline. In the techno-utopian world of the
1990s communities formed around the emergence of the world wide web. These
moments of intensive thought formed genealogies for our current dreams of
the network. New tools of networked cultures and digital media open up
possibilities for imagining, mapping, reaching towards, narrating, and
critiquing models of the future. In the space between ever-hopeful
techno-futurism and the realities of a world forever changed by the pursuit
of the resources required to fuel it, how can the concept of networked
utopias help us speculate on the future?

This issue of the Fibreculture Journal brings together studies in networked
communities with novel, historical and creative approaches to utopia in
order to examine the productivity of future-thinking from our present
location. The network may be technical and interpersonal, a mesh of servers
and routers, connectivity, participation, creation, and support. It may
exist in the physical location of its infrastructure, in a shared no-place
of communication, or both. It is as much a body as an event. What then is
the relationship between an idealistic transcendent no-place, and the
embodied realities and contingencies of the changing world in which our
selves and our technologies are actually located? How have current practices
broken down this opposition between virtual and real? We ask: is it possible
to create more sustainable narratives out of the current moment, and explore
imaginative solutions on the verge of near-future crisis?

We invite papers that look at the convergence of technology and foresight;
forethought, imaginings, and speculation. We seek research that explores the
future worlds, experiences, technologies, peoples and events of networked
technology. We are romantics dreaming of wishworlds; networked utopias and
connections hovering between time, place, and being.

Topics and papers might include discussions of:

- internet DIY
- experimental communalism (on and off-line)
- economic collectivism
- studies in prototypes
- speculation on alternative futures in media arts
- grass roots community organisation: free software, DIY, neo-liberalism,
survivalist modes
- the technological sublime
- the Internet of Things
- communities and architectures formed around media technologies
- radio as a harbinger of things from the future
- technofeminist utopias / cyberfeminism / feminist science fiction
- social/ethical/technological experiments
- the technosublime
- studies in futurism (past/ historical/ present)
- speculation and future imagining
- digital speculative objects, prototypes, thought experiments etc.
- the deficiency of the actual
- the space race
- dystopia
- hope
- cloaning, cloaking and invisibility
- deferring the future
- apocalypse
- curation of/ for the future
- speculative social/ethical/technological experiments – either real (lived)
or imagined, fictionalised or proposed
- networked community formation or disintegration
- the angel of history – historical networked utopias
- dreams of ubiquitous connectivity, of communication and connection
- transcendent myths of wirelessness
- Web 3.0, 4.0 5.0…
- re-enactments and wistful thinking
- imaginary museums
- industrial utopias: the Ford Motor company, The Bata shoe factory,
Phillips’ forbidden city
- The EPCOT centre
- cold war science fictions
- incomprehensible technologies
- robots
- military research & development
- information design
- open-source cultures and ‘free’ media
- biospheres
- cities of the future
- optimism and cynicism in post war culture


The Fibreculture Journal (http://fibreculturejournal.org/) is a peer
reviewed international journal, associate with Open Humanities Press
(http://openhumanitiespress.org/) that explores critical and
speculative interventions in the debate and discussions concerning
information and communication technologies and their policy
frameworks, network cultures and their informational logic, new media
forms and their deployment, and the possibilities of socio-technical
invention and sustainability.


"A traveller, who has lost his way, should not ask, Where am I? What he
really wants to know is, Where are the other places" - Alfred North

Andrew Murphie - Associate Professor
School of English, Media and Performing Arts, University of New South Wales,
Sydney, Australia, 2052
Editor - The Fibreculture Journal http://fibreculturejournal.org/>
web: http://www.andrewmurphie.org/  http://dynamicmedianetwork.org/

fax:612 93856812 tlf:612 93855548 email: a.murphie at unsw.edu.au
room 311H, Webster Building
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