BCM 325 – Future Cultures: Digital Artefact Pitch


Below you’ll find a video pitch for a Digital Artefact project I am completing in a subject at university called Future Cultures. This subject examines the tensions between representations of our future in popular science fiction films through the ages and our lived realities.

I have been interested in podcasting as a medium for a long time now, and I feel this idea and subject seem to fit well into the project. As both Josh and I are creative writers, it is also an opportunity for us to not only explore writing for this medium, but also get feedback outside of the writing workshops of university. And of course, to build a portfolio of work and online presence.

The premise of the podcast came to me whilst I was listening to a discussion in my documentary class about how we might make a collaborative documentary while our contact is restricted due to the COVID-19 virus.

With the virus and general upheavals in society – especially in Australia with the fires and floods at the beginning of the year – this project seems timely. However, it is important to me that this project still maintain a light and fun tone, its primary purpose being an entertaining look at the future.

We are aiming to have short episodes, about 10 – 20 minutes in length. This length will be easy enough for us to produce alongside our work and university schedules, and should allow for more rapid prototyping and adjustment to feedback.

Timeline of when work will commence on each aspect of the project.

Although the overall mood of the podcast will be lighthearted and geared to entertainment, the episodes themselves we will also try to explore the various ideas of the future that have been presented by theorists and in the media in the past.

We will also be creating a WordPress blog and social media channels to help promote the podcast. This will hopefully grow our audience and can be used to gain feedback from our audience. This might guide the podcasts development in the future.

The book referenced in the video pitch is ‘Putting the Science in Fiction: Expert Advice for Writing with Authenticity in Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Other Genres’, edited by Dan Koboldt, It is a quick reference guide for writers on all things science fiction, and covers everything from wildlife biology to the weapons used in ‘Star Wars’

Koboldt, D 2018, Putting the Science in Fiction: Expert Advice for Writing with Authenticity in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Other Genres., F & W Media, Incorporated.

* Note: video re-uploaded due to issues with audio cutting out.

11 thoughts on “BCM 325 – Future Cultures: Digital Artefact Pitch

  1. Hi Allison,

    Your DA sounds like an interesting concept and will benefit you both in the short and long term in regard to university and building an online portfolio.

    Your DA is evidently well planned out and thoroughly thought through due to your definitive timeline of work as well as clear subheadings in your video, which makes the direction of your DA clear. It is vital that you maintain this timeline, especially due to working in collaboration with Josh.

    Your DA is definitely relative to our current circumstances, and although you are focusing in on the long term, it may be interesting to talk about how the themes explored in ‘Putting the Science Fiction in Fiction’ and further research, relates to the apocalyptic nature of what is happening in the short/current term.

    Furthermore, your audience is clearly defined which is vital for both presentation platforms and determining feedback loops. As mentioned in the former, I think that comparing what is happening currently, in todays society to the book, will enable you to reach a wider audience, specifically with the interest people have on the COVID-19 situation, as well as the increased online presence of society.

    In addition with the podcast, wordpress and social media channels, as a suggestion it may be interesting to have a live stream occur? So people are able to share their thoughts on futuristic fictions whilst you’re talking and you and or Josh could respond in live time? In conjunction with this I think it will be beneficial for you both to share the podcasts and blogs to subreddits which is where a lot of your audience will be gathering.

    I found this article really interesting in regard to the representation of certain aspects of future of science fiction films, which may be beneficial to your future research, or simply a discussion point in future podcasts and blog posts?

    Overall, your DA is extremely interesting, for someone who isn’t entirely aware of this genre, I am eager to hear and read about the progression of your DA and seeing its future trajectory!

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Hello, Allison,

    First of all, I would like to mention that your idea is very original and is very distinct from all the other projects where, on the contrary of exploiting only one concern or prediction that a human being holds towards its future and the future of its society, you will have the opportunity to explore all of them through podcasts that will present a fictional story to the ears of its audience.

    Secondly, the proposition of a fictional story that touches on the sci-fi genre for the presentation of futuristic predictions of the earth in 30–40 years is a very good idea, because as we learned in our course BCM325 Future Cultures, “science fiction does not predict the future, it is how possible future can be predicted”. The construction of your story will certainly follow this process proposed by Csicsery-Ronay Jr. (2008) where “the future in different media is informed by now and the present is the cumulation of the past”. In other words, you will have to gather predictions and theories of futurists and futurologists from the field of future studies of today and the past, in order to imagine the story you will produce in your DA project. And on top of your research, you will have to make predictions about it, as Bell argues, “prediction is a major component of Future Studies, in fact, prediction is part of being human”. Writing such a story will be an enormous challenge, because as Alfred Nroth Whitehead explains, “we must be careful not to reject ideas because they seem impossible at the time, while we also must recognise the limitations of human and technical capacities for the time”. Moreover, you’ll have to narrow down all the predictions around the future and to focus on a specific theme, or else it can become overwhelming for you and your audience. However, the use of a fictional story will reach a much wider audience than through any other creative medium. Indeed, it brings a certain form of vulgarization of the theories and concepts brought by the great figures in the field of future studies which is still unknown to a large part of the public.

    Thirdly, the proposed timeline seems very feasible and realistic. The only part that worries me slightly is the “script feedback” part. You’ll have to be very careful and filter the different comments and feedback where, as Elenora Masini (1982) says, “there is not just one future, there are many futures”. So your vision of the future can be very distinct from what other people around you intent is. If you ever have the time, I think your creative process in terms of writing your story could be very interesting to be published in blog posts. You are going to be able to share the knowledge that you’ve learned through your background research as well as the origin of some of your story’s ideas. This could, perhaps, enhance the connection between your story and the field of future studies.

    Fourthly, looking at your background research, I think the use of the book Putting the science in fiction seems very relevant, but I think that many futurists and futurists are very good at writing about the future and science fiction, for example, Csicsery-Ronay (2008) who proposes that “science fiction’s main narrative strategy is to create convincing ideas about life in the future through precise details and historical cause and effect relationships, recounted by familiar voices”, or Alfred Nroth Whitehead with these words mentioned earlier. I think that a special attention should be paid to these people, despite the gathering of many figures that the author Dan Koboldt proposes in his literary work. For my part, I have found some articles that turn out to be relevant to your DA project. I have found this article, the 1968 sci-fi that spookily predicted today by Anderson that elaborates on the writing process of John Kilian Houston Brunner who has written in 1968 the novel Stand on Zanzibar where his vision of 2010 was accurate. Also, I have found this website created for the purpose of a class called ‘Emerging Future: Technology issues and trends’ that highlights the most important futurists in the past 50 years, or the most groundbreaking ones, etc. It summarizes their different work, so you’ll have a great overview with which futurists predictions that would like to work with while you’ll be writing your story.

    In the end, I think your story will be a reflection of Bell (2003 [1997]) words: “the key to future Studies, which is the systematic approach to examining patterns of the past and present in order to anticipate the possibility and the potential of future events and trends”. I look forward to finding out if your story will be considered “conservative in the future” or “real possible future” according to your predictions as Arthur C Clarke would say.

    Sources for Allison :

    Anderson, H. (2019). The 1968 sci-fi that spookily predicted today. BBC Culture. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20190509-the-1968-sci-fi-that-spookily-predicted-today

    Hirsh, (2014). Module 3 Think Like a Futurist: Notable Futurists. San Jose State University School of Information. Retrieved from: https://learn.canvas.net/courses/292/pages/module-3-think-like-a-futurist-notable-futurists?module_item_id=109009

    Source in the comment:

    Csicsery-Ronay Jr. (2008) The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction. Wesleyan University Press

    Masini, Elenora (1982) Reconceptualising Futures: A Need and a Hope, World Future Society Bulletin, November/December 1982: 1-8.

    Bell, W. (2003[1997]). The Foundation of Future Studies. Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick.

    Maude Gariépy

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Allison! I think it’s such an interesting idea having both of the characters communicating over radios in your podcast story. It will really help the audience feel fully immersed and like they are listening to an old recording/found footage. (Which is ironic seeing as this is set in the future.)

    I’m really interested to see not only your predictions of future communications technologies but how these would play out in an apocalyptic setting. What would their relevance be? Would they still run? I also find it interesting that your main characters are communicating through old communication technologies. How did these characters in 30-40 years know how to use radios?

    While you guys are crafting your scripts it could be interesting to think about this Wired article > https://www.wired.com/story/sci-fi-writers-prepare-us-for-an-uncertain-future/. It discusses the idea that science fiction writers should collaborate with governments and scientists to write fiction about potential new technologies to explore the possible outcomes that these technologies might have if they were integrated into our future societies. Furthermore, their writing would “spur us down a line of thinking that we otherwise might not have and give us a conceptual framework.” It would be interesting to think about how your creative work potentially affect the future of science and technology both positively and negatively?

    Overall I think that this sounds like a unique and entertaining DA and I’m really excited to tune in and see what happens!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This podcast has clear parallels with the concept of ‘Future History’, and is instantly captivating and pairs well with the podcast medium. It’s also an interesting spin on the typical approach to prediction pieces, with the content being set in the time period of the prediction as you look around, rather than being in the present day looking forward. That’s a clever way of distinguishing yourself from similar forward-thinking content, and a key part of what could make this successful. As quoted in the week 3 lecture,”It is through our consumption of mediated fact and fiction, and through the communication of our creative works, that we express our ideas about the patterns of the past and the potential of the future.” In this artefact, you have the unique opportunity to present the patterns of today as the happenings of the past, and to frame the potential of the future as the life you’re living.

    I think an important effort to make (if time allows for it) is to not just focus on the ideas presented by theorists and the media, but to also engage in research that allows you to formulate your own ideas based on your own evidence. Doing so may allow you to create more genuine and unique characters, that are built on their own perspectives based on their own interpretations of research rather than the opinions of those online. An article on future studies goes into its place in society today and how it can be done effectively, possibly something you could take some strategy from for doing research for your digital artefact moving forward.

    A book available online, ‘Critical Theory and Science Fiction’, may have some relevant insights into the genre of Science Fiction and its relationship with critical analysis that you can use in the creation of your podcast. It’s section on Science Fiction and style in particular looks at the presentation of Science Fiction and the meaning of style in the genre, something which may be important to your podcast when looking at how to frame your work. It may even provide you with some Science Fiction tropes you can use for the podcast, or a groundwork you can build off of to innovate in your own way.

    Good luck!

    Sources for reference:

    Future Studies article: https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/articles/futures-studies-theories-and-methods/

    Critical Theory and Science Fiction: https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=s1iF6n6kT-UC&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=science+fiction&ots=CIhosGrqXT&sig=okdsHmYvQZ07S03MVH3QLIl9V10&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=science%20fiction&f=false

    Liked by 1 person

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