Design Fiction Chronicles: Found Futures Image Testaments

I don’t regularly read Wired, but I will occasionally flip to the “Found” back page which, according to words on the networks, is moving to the inevitable user-supplied content/contest model. In the meantime, our avuncular net BFF bruces found a collation of them, which are actually quite nice to look at all in one scrolling column. More of them are hyperlinked via this metafilter page.

Why do I blog this? These “Found” pages demonstrate an intriguing sort of visual story telling, breaking through the road blocks to future imaginaries. They provide a rather techie continuity — most Found futures are driven by the technical designed futures, showing how today’s science columns and news and Wired-style prognostications of various inevitabilities (in the eyes of Palo Alto / Bay Area cultures). They appear variously scary or humorous or sarcastic, and always extrapolations that one hears abuzz amongst the alpha geeks today. Many of the image testaments fall into, inevitably, the “wouldn’t it be cool if..” sort of future worlds.
What I find intriguing here from the design fiction side of things are the way an image can tell the story of the speculation. We find a compelling way of activating the imagination through the power of a single image, whose story is there to be read. There is certainly a kind of literacy necessary to see these images and construct the story. Not everyone would get it without the context of Wired, I imagine. But the objects themselves and the context surrounding it create this sense that this thing/device/scenario lives amongst us and is possible.