Yesterday’s tomorrows

F. Leger's Mechanical Elements - From the cover of the Penguin edition of Brave New World

Last week I attended the RGS-IBG annual international conference, for which I convened a session and presented a paper.

Shamelessly borrowing a title from a paper by Genevieve Bell and Paul Dourish, my presentation entitled “Yesterday’s tomorrows” was concerned with the manner in which Ubiquitous Computing has been envisioned. I largely focussed upon the example of HP Labs’ ‘CoolTown’ agenda/project. This largely stemmed from some of the fascinating conversations I had with various engineers, researchers and scientists during recent fieldwork in and around Silicon Valley.

It struck me that CoolTown offered an interesting example through which one might explore a notion of ‘vision’ as a practice and a thing utilised in commercial/industrial R&D. What I tried to problematise in the brief time available was – Which stories do those involved in and around the research most want to give as a ‘vision’; what do other people want to tell about those stories and visions; and how are those visions story-ed. I see this presentation as a thought piece, which has allowed to move my thinking on, following some productive fieldwork, to how I myself may go about storying my thesis.

Please feel free to download a version of the presentation notes combined with the slides in a PDF here on my site. I’d be interested in any feedback anyone would like to give.

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3 Replies to “Yesterday’s tomorrows”

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