Last month the University of Warwick hosted a very special conference. Virtual Futures was a 21st century reboot of a path-breaking international conference that took place there in the mid 90s. The new conference looked back to the original, while also developing its themes further, looking at a fascinating range of issues:
It’s going to answer some very important questions such as, what is cyberculture? What impact has the internet had on culture? What impact did the conference have on the work and careers of participants? Has it changed the world in any way? Is this the first movement defined by Cyberspace? And if so where has this taken us?
The ’95 conference attracted performers and philosophers including Stelarc, Hakim Bey, Manuel De Landa and Orlan. The themes discussed included: chaos theory, geopolitics, feminism, nanotechnology, cyberpunk fiction, machine music, net security, military strategy, plastic surgery, hacking, bio-computation, cognition, cryptography & capitalism. Many of these topics are still poignant today with perhaps the addition of genetics, bio-engineering, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, bio-ethics and social media.
Thankfully the Knowledge Centre at the University of Warwick recorded pretty much the entire festival! So over the next few days, we’ll be highlighting some of the best bits of what was a stunningly eclectic range of speakers and participants. If you are as intrigued as we were about the conference, you can find it (as well as its organizer) on Twitter.