Visual communication research

Since I have started the course I have been researching the genre of Retrofuturism and how it has affected today’s technology and lifestyle. Alongside this I have been looking at current technology and the western world’s attempts to push new tech into the entertainment industry. Retrofuturism in a nutshell is a guess of the near or distant future, but leaving current trends, fashion and lifestyles intact. An example being the popular 1950s comics and magazines of the year 2000, filled with hover cars and jetpacks, but still strongly encouraged women to be housewives.

I came across this genre when researching technological ideas of the future, and it has not only provided me with inspiration for my practical coursework, but also helped me to understand what to expect in the near future. I found that despite the marvellous inventions we get exposed to daily, we shouldn’t prepare ourselves for something that might never come, especially in the gaming industry. We constantly hear news of vast and wonderful technologies to come, one of the most popular being virtual reality. There have been recent talks of not only adding virtual reality into games, but into medicine, helping people overcome paranoia and anxiety by taking them into a virtual world,  however I found this idea has been promised since 1935, when Stanley G. Weinbaum’s sort story titled “Pygmalion’s Spectacles” released. The short story excited many and inspired the invention on the Sensorama in 1950. This device could give an experience that would rival today’s technology, providing body tilting, sound, smells, 3d images and even wind. This project halted due to lack of funding, but it is a great example of how fragile good ideas can be. ‘’  With this knowledge I have decided to halt my work towards virtual reality based artefacts, until there seems to be evidence that VR will continue successfully.

The genre also holds a lot of potential for inspiration, which I took advantage of within my practical coursework. Retrofuturism changes dramatically every decade or two; this means there are plenty of illustrations, novels and games to be found on the subject. This has really helped me in creating various digital artefacts, as well as allowing me to think of my own image of the future. I think that the genre as well as its many sub genres hasn’t been widely recognized by companies until recent, with the success of the Fallout and Bioshock game series people have been slowly getting more and more comfortable with it; however there are still a lot of games companies that won’t touch the subject. Despite it not being a very common genre in the industry, I think that it is obvious that people like it, this fact has influenced my work greatly and steered me towards the art styles of the 20th century magazines.

My powerpoint presentaition with illustrations, sources and information can be found here : Retrofuture powerpoint


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