Fibreculture Journal 20: Networked Utopias and Speculative Futures (2012)

19 July 2012, dusan

“This issue of The Fibreculture Journal has brought 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. Reading through the essays collected here it becomes clear that framing utopia in the future, endlessly deferring it until a ‘perfect’ world emerges, is a perfect way of never doing anything at all. More immediately, the events of the Arab Spring, the rebuilding of Christchurch, and other examples of activism and community work documented here reframe the future through the present, reminding us that the actions we take today open up new possible futures. Indeed this is the message of the ‘risk subject’ described by Levina, in which the future perfect self is created by the choices of the present. Many of the essays published in this issue interrogate the relationships between hopeful imagining and action. In looking for utopia they acknowledge the value of hope, but recognise that ‘networks’ need to be active sites of engagement, critique, and risk, not simply an abstract idea, or ideal. The network alone will not get us there. As a whole this issue exposes and critiques the casually utopian use of the network as a synonym for open, free, egalitarian and participatory. In retaining the paradox at the heart of the term “networked utopias” we have opened up a dynamic, messy, imperfect arena of hopeful action and collective speculation.” (from Editorial)

Articles on: The material substrate of networks; the Arab Spring; re-imagining mobile communications via encounters with a neolithic village; the ‘freedom of movement and freedom of knowledge’ events that have taken place between Spain and Morocco; utopias and political economies of networks, space and time; networks and health; networks and food; and Montréal residents’ appropriation of train tracks.

Issue Edited by Su Ballard, Zita Joyce and Lizzie Muller
Publisher: Fibreculture Publications/The Open Humanities Press, Sydney, Australia, July 2012
ISSN: 1449 – 1443


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