Back to Future. Visions of Technologies Between Fiction and Reality

3/12/2021 to 28/8/2022

They dreamt of flying cars, cities in space and underwater habitats. They predicted that we would keep picturephones in our waistcoat pockets and devised time machines for travelling to the future. At the end of the nineteenth century and during the entire twentieth, science fiction authors, inventors and technology enthusiasts conjured up dazzling, fascinating visions of a future that will soon be replaced by an era of technology critique.

The exhibition Back to Future is a pictorial journey to yesteryear’s technological visions of the future as imagined by creative thought leaders. In illustrations and novels, on postcards and in films, they designed images that express the hopes, longings, fears and objections of their particular era. While images are fantastical, the ideas are very detailed – some visions have already become part of our everyday routine. Others are entertaining but missed the mark.

The exhibition presents visions of communication and mobility technology that are both euphoric and critical, and tells about the social breeding ground that nurtured them. Perhaps a look at these historical futures will help us better understand the fears and hopes we project into our future today. Perhaps a glance at these historical futures will enhance our understanding of the fears and hopes we are projecting into our future today. After all, some aspects of the formative future-orientated technologies of the present – robots, artificial intelligence and self-driving cars – are there to discover in the visionary designs of past eras.

An exhibition in the Museum of Communication Berlin, funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

In cooperation with Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Phantastischen Bibliothek Wetzlar, the library for fantasy literature.

Expotizer for the exhibition

Visit the exhibition before your visit to the exhibition: virtual insights into BACK TO FUTURE with our EXPOTIZER (only in German)

Supported by the

Logo der Kulturstiftung des Bundes
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