Tag: futureculture

What IS Futureculture? By Andy Hawks Of Mindvox (January 29, 1993)

Subject: What *IS* FutureCulture
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 93 22:20:53 MST

A Manifesto on the Here-and-Now Technocultural [R]evolution

by Andy Hawks

FutureCulture E-List Requests & Info

You are five years old. You are lieing on a grassy hill,
blowing bubbles up into a clear field of blue sky. Bubbles. Right
now, as a five year old child, you look at the bubbles, and words pop
into your head: “pretty”, “oooooo”, “float”. To you, the bubbles
are almost like people — at least somewhat analogous to Bugs Bunny
or a Smurf. Your wide eyes follow the bubbles as they traipse along
the gentle prevailing curves of soft winds, turning, rotating,
revolving endlessly in the air. A sunray beams its light through one
particular bubble you have been admiring, and within its midst your
eyes become privy to a new world — a heretofor unknown domain of
chaotic rainbows swirling about along the bubble. The colors, like a
sentient anthill, work at once individually and synergetically to
give the bubble it’s unique flavor, an individual identity among the
community of bubbles.

As you lay your eyes on the continually morphing rainbows in
the bubble, admiring how this internal shapeshifting never ceases as
long as the bubble is “alive”, the wind brings forth from nearby
another bubble. Now you are focused on two bubbles circling each
other ever closer, probably communicating in some fashion on some
sort of subatomic level. Now that your eyes know to look for the
chaotic rainbows, you enthusiastically discover them in this second
bubble as well. The rainbows exist in both bubbles, with only a
thinly veiled invisible wall of air seperating the two. The rainbows
do not stop in admiration or wonder to ponder the existence of
another bubble, they continue on with their duties in the wake of the
orbic maelstrom that is the individual bubble. And suddenly, in the
mesh of an event that seems at once both predetermined and free, the
bubles combine and join forces as one. If the sun catches the
bubble-morph at the right angle you can still see a wall, where
airspace once existed, within the bubble. All the while, the chaotic
rainbows have continued of course, and now willingly flow back and
forth between what was once two seperate entities. The shape of the
bubble-morph is still oddly circular as a whole, with the original
shape of the individual bubble-orbs stil clearly visible.

The bubble-morph is stil at home among the individual bubbles
and still haphazardly surfs the winds as if nothing had happened.
Low and behold, a third bubble approaches its vicinity. Same chaotic
rainbows, seemingly no different from any other bubble in the group.

*POP!* Quickly this third bubble seemingly self-destructs
without any reason, sending a fury of bubble residue out into the
wind. Some of it lands on a tree, some on the grass, and yet more
lands on the bubble-morph. As the bubble morph continues to rotate,
revolve, spin endlessly, the residue makes it’s way to the
translucent crease marking the marriage of two individual bubbles.
And, then, it is gone. Absorbed into the structure of he bubble
morph, evolving into yet more particles of chaos rainbows.

More bubbles float by the bubbly-morph. Some stumble in it’s
wake and escape it’s grasp, some pop, some are attracted to it and
become yet another aspect of the holistic bubble-creature, still
other bubbles diverge into a completely different spacial area. If
you watch long enough, you might even see one portion of the
bubble-morph leave, mutating back into it’s original state as an
individual bubble.

All the while, bubbles are combining into new bubbles, bubbles
are popping, bubbles are floating, rotating, revolving, spinning,
shapeshifting. Affecting and being affected by each other and other
entities such as the wind, a sharp blade of grass, a flower pedal.
The chaos rainbows never cease, the bubbles will always exist as long
as you, as the bubble-maker, decide to keep blowing bubbles.

You are now, let’s say, 40 years old. You are sitting on the
same hill with your five year old child, urging him to discover the
wonders of the bubble world. Your eyes are not as wide anymore, at
least not as wide as your child’s. But do you still find delight and
joy in the wonders of bubbles? There is beauty in the bubble world,
even though you may approach it now from the perspective of an
accomplished chemist, or physicst, or artist, or engineer, or
cyberneticist, or 7-11 night manager. Hopefully, you have not closed
your eyes to the magic your child sees, the magic you once saw.

It should be obvious, by now, that bubbles are a metaphor.
What do you think the metaphor is? I would be interested o hear what
peole have to say in this regards. But, since this text is to be
confined to the context of futureculture, the bubbles are meant to
represent subcultures. The caotic rainbows represent the people, the
material articles, the ideas, the *memes* that define those

Thus, you can see, subcultures combine into cultures or bigger
subcultures (it’s all relative), subcultures may self-destruct, they
may evolve or morph, they may diverge in a seperate direction. But
watever the case, there’s still bubbles because we, as a global
village, are like the five year old — entrenched in the world of
bubbles, looking on with wide-eyes.

Probably the most important ideas I have related so far are
that: 1) the process is continuous with an infinite amount of ebb
and flow among and between and through subcultures with an infinite
amount of possible outcomes, and 2) when subcultures combine they do
not lose their original individual identity, and may in fact leave,
though a synergetic effect exists which is *unrelated* to the amount
of individual bubbles combined to produce the bubble-morph. The
bubble-morph being, obviously, the combination in some fashion or
another of seperately defined subcultures. It is also interesting to
note that, ultimately, bubbles are “of the same stuff” which can be
paralled to individuals in groups on a vast variety of levels.

Let us now turn to subcultures, let us see what bubbles we have
blown that provide the basic constructs of what we might deem, for a
lack of a better word, FutureCulture. When I use the word
“FutureCulture” I am referring to the FutureCulture E-List. When I
use “futureculture” I am referring to the culture of the future. But
it’s not really the future, it’s here-and-now, and it’s in this
writing. There are some other words with similar connotations, but
yet the distinctions need to be mentioned, and then applied to
everyday life. The first word is “technoculture”. Like a
technocracy is a government run by scientists or those who create
technology, a technoculture is a culture that is fueled by
technology. America is a technoculture. We would be lost without
our televisions, our cars, our computers, our telephones.
Futureculture, then, is a way of deciphering what tomorrow will look
like in a technoculture. Another label to mention is “new edge”.
This is a trendy, shortsighted term that has little relevance to the
perpetual realities of technoculture and futureculture. New Edge is
a here-and-now-gone-tomorrow ideal. Fairly soon, it won’t be “new”
and increasingly so it is definitely not “edge”. The other misnomre
to mention is “cyberculture”. Cyberculture is probably most closely
associated with the idea of futureculture, yet cyberculture is often
mis- and over-used. If you look at the meaning of the word “cyber”,
basically “information” in an oversimplified context, it has little
to do with frequently-used notions of cyberculture, specifically a
Gibson-esque cyberpunk world as it exists today or in the

These are my own personal reflections on the world of bubbles,
and these labels and subcultural labels I am using are better thought
of as what I see as the most outstanding reference points to use in
the context of getting The Basic Idea ™ across. Relative labels
and reference points, no dictatorial lines being drawn here.

Each mention of a subculture will be followed by a basic
reasoning by a defense in applying the group to the idea of
futureculture. The idea of futureculture evolves *from* the
relationship between different bubbles and buble-morphs. These core
bubbles and bubble-morphs produce noticeable ideas, trends, and
material objects for example, which are deemed by some relatively
large bubble-blower (ie society) to reflect the evolution of society
and world culture. Simply put, FutureCulture represents an internal
and external effort, both passive and interactive, observational and
participatory, to: discover these trends/ideas/objects or at least
bring acknowledgement of their existence to a larger segment of the
global populous, provide an interactive forum for the global populous
to discuss such matters and to reflect and refract varying cultures
and subcultures, to then apply this discussion to existing cultures
and subculture to plant the seeds spawning further
trends/ideas/objects. Thus one can begin to see the infinitely
cyclic nature of the process. It is a process which you are at
varying levels of consciousness engaged in every moment you are
alive, by everything you say or do, and every sensory input. By
providing the on-line interactive forum of the FutureCulture e-list,
we as individuals and members of varying subcultures and cultures can
merge the unconscious acts of participation in culture with a
conscious understanding, to create/construct/deconstruct/destroy and
evolve reality and people’s lives on an individual and group basis.
Basically, we are analyzing existing culture, we are creating
tomorrow’s reality, and we are doing it on a here-and-now, globally
interactive, seemingly real-time forum.

Thus I submit the reference points, the subcultures, the basic
bubbles that are essential to futureculture:

Virtual Culture – This is probably the easiest to “define”. We can
————— all say with assurance, that to some degree, in any
basic sense of the word, we are all
participants and members of Virutal Culture.
The essence of Virtual Culture lies in the
notion of cyberspace. In this context I might
define cyberspace as that frontier defined by
electronic communications towhich georaphy has
little or no relevance to being a member of the
group. If you regularly use a phone, modem,
fax, or networked computer terminal,
videophone, or interactive video, consider
yourself part of virtual culture.

Technology is a key aspect of tomorrow’s reality. Technology
seemingly provides the basis of all constructs we produce.
Virtual culture, then, is a giant leap forward for humankind in
terms of the way we approach ourselves as individuals, and the
nature of how we approach individuals in groups. Basic
sociological structures will eventually be realigned to conform
to this key evolutionary step as technology continues to
increase exponentially, thus forever expanding the limits of
virtual culture and therefore potential of all cultures.
Non-communicative technological forces will be mentioned
briefly throughout this writing, but the most interesting
applications of technology increasingly revolve around aspects
of communication.

Psychedelic Culture – Arguably begun in the 60’s, this subculture
——————- revolves around the use and effects of
psycho-active drugs, particularly
psychedelics like LSD, to mainfest new
ideas, new ways of thinking, new ways
of approaching reality and

One of the mysteries of modern day society is the nature of the
mind and consciousness. Psychedelic culture is vital in
exploring these areas. These areas in turn are vital to our
understanding of who and what we are as humans and the basic
philosophical questions homan have asked for centuries.
Recently, psychedelic culture has bubble-morphed with virtual
culture as seen in the potential exploration of the
technoligcal advancements of virtual reality as a means of
“opening the doors of perception”. Here-and-now extrapolations
are evident in the use of “mind machines” as well as the
resurgance of 60’s guru Timothy Leary as a spokesperson for
virtual reality. And need we mention the unbelievable
explosive return of LSD acros the US and other parts of the

Rave Culture – If you don’t know what raves are, I will attempt to
———— explain it, though with a parallel that will disturb
many ravers (myself included in the group of ravers
disturbed by the anology). Aforementioned
psychedelic culture reached a “peak” with the
community of Woodstock. Think of rave culture as
woodstock in the 90’s, though wih obvious notable
advancements and progressions: smaller and more
specific communities allow for more woodstock-esque
events to occur more often and produce a higher
deree of community, the music reflects technology —
techno music is the mainstay – music that may often
range between 0 and 160bpm that is almost entirely
created on computers and modern audio technology and
is an evolutionary mutation of disco music
generally, and finally, raves are often times
associated with psychedelic culture in a general
desire to create one’s own reality or be part of
some sort of *gestalt-consciencous* event. And,
most importantly, the idea of raves is to have
fun!!! We most not overlook outlets of communal
entertainment in futureculture. At raves, the vibe
is generally happy and easy to catch, the people
generally fun, the music is cutting edge, and, if
you want, you can further entertain yourself with
nootropic or other psycho-active substances.

Basically, raves are the entertainment aspect of the evolving
futureculture as it stands now. Undoubtedly raves will
eventually morph into something else, as this particular side
of culture rises and falls quickly in proportion with people’s
day to day lives. Raves, as mentioned before, are deeply
intertwined with technology as well as some aspects of
psychedelic culture, thus their inclusion in futureculture.

Cyberculture – This is a difficult culture to explain as it is still
———— in its infancy, thus it is still comprised of
aspects of the varying other subcultures. I will
do my best to set it apart from other subcultures.

Cyberculture is a here-and-now reality that grew
out of the science fiction movement of “cyberpunk”.
Look at the word “cyberpunk” — broken down you
have “cyber” and “punk” which roughly translates to
people using technology and information in ways
that deviate from the expected norms and mores and
laws of society.

Hackers are part of cyberculture. I will draw more
criticism by defining a hacker as a “cyberpunk” —
as previously stated, one who uses information and
technology in ways that go against the grain of
norm society.

Let me put to rest an ageold debate that persists
among aspiring futureculturists, he said while
slowly walking backwards to the bomb shelter.
Hackers originated in the 60s, and basically did
they same things hackers do now, unly possibly with
less of a violent nature attached. Somewhere along
the line, those hackers gave up their
antiauthoritarian ideals and merged into mainstream
society, though they still wanted to be called
“hackers” because they can program a computer in
nifty ways. Modern-day hackers came along, the
WarGames generation, and the connection between
illegality (antiauthoritarianism rather) and
hackers resurfaced. Old hackers got pissed, and
have done their best to dissociate themselves from
the genreally-accepted term of modern day hacking.
This is most clearly seen in their attempt to
seperate “hackers” from “crackers” which I won’t go
into because old hackers don’t realise that
cracking is still hacking in the original true
sense — it does take skill and requires privied

Hackers nowadays, post-Wargames hackers at least,
have as their motto “information wants to be free”
and thus that is their goal in hacking or, more
appropriately, being a cyberpunk.

Cyberculture, at its roots, appropriates (samples)
heavily from other subcultures. This could be
easily guessed because of the inclusion of the
prefix “cyber”, referring to information. In this
context I would like to see usage of the term
cyberculture return back to its roots — the idea
of an information culture. That is, a culture
where information is an important commodity, if not
the most vital commodity. Information is an
important commodity in modern global culture, as
witnessed by the power and popularity and
prominence of CNN and Mtv in our society. When
people talk about an information society, they are
actually talking about cyberculture, and they are
actually talking about a soon-to-be historical
shift in society that is currently in it’s infancy.
Contributions to this shift will be seen in the
wake of the ISDN (Integrated Services Digital
Network) and other such technologies as they become
more readily available and approachable to the

We might say then, that cyberpunks (hackers, not
just computer hackers either) provide the deviant
portion of an existing cyberculture. Cyberculture
should *NOT* be confused with technoculture, new edge,
or futureculture, all of which will be put in the
proper context later.

As I have said, cyberculture is in its infancy. We really
*don’t* live in an information society, because economics, not
infomics or infonomics if you will, is the underlying thread
that holds our society together. However, this may be
beginning to change, as witness in our reliance on economic
credit systems (your credit is just information, which can be
hacked) as well as on a political scale the intertwining of
political, media, and international-conglomerate businesses as
the definite powerhouses. At the turn of the century, it was
basically just political forces. Post-WW-II, as postindustrial
society developed, it became politics + business which
continues to this day, but now media (information power) is a
substantial force in the global power game.

Rudy Rucker, prominent writer and scientist, is credited with
the outstanding motto of cyberculture as a whole — “How fast
are you? How dense?” The phrase should be examined in the
context of information processing, individuals dealing wth a
world that is transforming and morphing from economics-based to

Industrial Culture – This is a misnomre, actually, since we
—————— realistically live in a postindustrial
society. At any rate, industrial culture is
most noted for a musical movement.
Industrial music is highly technological,
though it has a definite rebellious spirit
that can easily be likened o the punk
movement of the late 70’s. Thus, industrial
musicians could easily be considered
cyberpunks, and sometimes are.

Industrial culture also consists of other
types of performance art other than music.
One notable inclusion is Survival Research
Laboratories, which builds robots, and
usually does strange things with them like
putting it inside a rabbit carcus and having
the rabbit carcuss walk around and fall into
an acid bath. Again, very cyberpunk.

These postmodern industrialists are easily
seen as a byproduct of postindustrial
ziabatsus arising out of the sleek, slick,
greed-filled 80s and their never-ceasing
propagation, as seen in the motivations of an
indivudal like Michael Milken or a zaibatsu
like Sony.

Again, technology is prominent in this subculture and by now
you are probably beginning to see the extent of the overlap
that occurs among these subcultures. The further you go, the
more indescribable as individual entities they become, thus the
need for a meta-subculture or meta-culture that encompasses the
important attributes. From here on out, then, the focus will
shift to smaller or more humanities-oriented topics.

PostModernism – Postmodern art and philosophy arises out of the
————- here-and-now state of our world as it has evolved
and changed, using WW-II as a reference point to
seperate modernism and postmodernism. In the
postmodern world, technology is prominent (tv,
radio, computer). Information is important (se
cybcerculture). Ideas are easily constructed and
deconstructed. Communication is more readily
accessible and is an artform in itself, witness
the popularity of appropriation (sampling) as seen
in industrial and hip-hop culture as well as the
works of writer Kathy Acker. Politically,
postmodernism acceps the reality of a
postindustrial world moving towards an
information-based world.

Postmodernism is a tricky subject, and a parallel between
mentioning postmodernism can be drawn to the use of the word
“shaman” in psychedelic culture – overused, often misinformed,
often appropriated without true understanding. Postmodernism
has been around for some time now and stands on its own, thus
it is difficult to incorporate it in this context. We must at
least, however, acknowledge the fact that the threads of
postmodernism reality provide the basis for the evolving
futureculture, technoculture, and cyberculture.

Street Culture – Primarily Afro-Centric because of the racism and
————– general inequality that exists in America
(specifically), the motto of street culture is
given to us by William Gibson: “the street
finds uses for itself”. Thus, Street Culture can
often be considered D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) culture.
Hip-Hop (Rap) music is a prime example of this.
Kids create singles in their basement (which is
also the case with rave music and industrial
music) and then market it themselves, or, better
yet, market *themselves*. Street fashion is
equally D.I.Y. — small, sometimes local labels
that use postmodernism elements like
appropriation, also a key elemnt in street music.
For example, as I write this I am wearing a shirt
by a group called 26 Red. On the back, the shirt
has a picture of Charlie Tuna with the words
“Human Safe”. This is copywright infringement,
but it is also appropriation and a realization of
the realities of pop culture and not being afraid
to apply them. Graffiti is street culture art,
as well.

Street Culture is a product of a key shift in our postmodern
world, which could best be stated as a movement towards
individualization and specialization, hence the importance of
D.I.Y. aspects in futureculture. You can’t wait for someone to
produce something to appease you, appease yourself instead.
Create your own art, your own clothes, your own music, your own
reality, your own manifesto, whatever…..Action is a *vital*
element in all of this.

Fringe Science – The idea of hyperreality is very important in this
————– conglomeration of cultures. Hyperreality might
best be explained by looking at the realities of
the world that brought Rudy Rucker to make the
aforementioned statement “how fast are you? how
dense?” Our world is now moving very fast, and
is very dense. There is so much out there, that
people have come up with new ways of looking at
Why Things Are ™ — new explanations for new
realities. Cellular automata, chaos theory,
singularity, maybe even quantum theory. Time,
space, dimensions, reality, consciousness, life,
cybernetics, intellignece, artificial life,
subatomic realities, genetic mutations — these
are a few of the fringe scientist’s avorite

A lot of Fringe Science is an outgrowth of people involved to
some degree with psychedelic culture. That aspect, combined
with the fact that fringe science is “fringe” makes it less
valid to some minds. However, these scientists are the
post-Einstiens and should be loked at in that perspective.

Technology is readily being accepted as a foundation of
humankind, and that belief continues to gain prominence in a world
technology increases exponentially. Witness the idea of an
information society — that could not occur in a world where
technology and the desire to Make Something New ™ plays second
fiddle. Technology in our world is rapidly surging us upward, to a
point where we are not even knowing What’s Going On ™. Witness
the out-and-out FEAR of people accepting the TRUTH that is outlined
in this writing, witness the fear of computers, the fear of hackers,
the fear of evolution, the fear of genetic engineering… Those of
us who are out there now LIVING this reality that’s supposed to be
for the *future* have one thing in common – a DESIRE to explore the
unknown, to alter our realities, to alter ourselves and our lives,
and to alter our real lives ourselves. Simply said, we are morphing.
Constantly. On an individual, cultural, and global societal level.
Constantly. On a multitude of levels. Constantly.

We live in a world full of infinite potential. Reality is what
we make it. This may sound like I’m speaking a small fringe special
interest grop, but that is not the case. I am speaking to every
living individual human being, especially those privelaged enough to
live in a postmodern postindustrial world filled with art and
technology, money and information, pop culture and subcultures.

The future is now. That phrase is overused a lot, but in this
context I mean that our visions of the future, what we have written
about, fantasized about, our hopes and dreams of what will be — the
seed of those realities exists NOW.

In the linear flow of history, we found ourselves at an
important nexus in which linear seems much too confining when we live
in a technoculture that seems poised to greet an exponential model of
time with open arms. Here-and-now and tomorrow we are creating New
forums of communication, New philosophical schools, New art, New
politics, New technologies, New realities.

In comprehending and dealing with these New realities, it is
important that we reshape our mindstyles NOW to adjust to constant an
consistent fast and dense change. It is no longer enough to say
“change is the only constant”.

We must try and keep as open a mind as possible: keep all
doors of perception open, prejudices of *any* sort will not meld (and
I don’t mean prejudices only in the physical sense, of course — I
mean in the mindstyle sense, the “faith” sense, the action sense,
etc.). An open mind, open to all ideas, all experiences, all people,
all communications, allows for a completely new transreal way of
looking at ourselves, our world, our realities. In that transreal
mindstyle we should constantly look and redefine ourselves and our
world if it is necessary. For example, we, as a technoculture, need
to transcribe *everything* we can via some means, whether it be via
computer netowkr, video or audio tape, pencil, etc. Everything from
the most individual moments to the most important global occurances.
It’s not enough that we have I-Witness videos and America’s Funniest
People and then CNN. Everything that’s important and meaningful to
you and your life, record it in some fashion or another. This
recording allows you not only to better future generations by way of
sharing the past, but it allows you the potential of looking at
yourself in different lights, different angles (both literally and
figuratively depending on the means of recording).

We should continue to develop the means and resources to
further the specialization and individualization of interactive
technologies and interactive communication forums. Basically, this
is just the idea that the more say each individual has in their
reality, the better. It ultimately promotes democracy and stronger
communities. For example, presidential candidate Ross Perot
mentioned “Electronic Town Halls”, the Internet is a prime example of
specialization and individualization and interactivity, and more
specialized newspapers and magazines, etc., are also a good idea.

Relative to a previously mentioned idea, we need to be more
open to change on every level, not only within our own personal
lives, but in small groups, subcultures, and societies. We need to
be able to deal with the exponential growth of communications in the
world, and to do that we are being forced to change a lot of
deeply-set ideals about the nature of communities, organizations,
etc. For example, dealing with this change might include saying
“Hey, we live in a system of representative government created 300
years ago when travel was difficult and communication very slow.
Fairly soon we’ll live in a world where everyone has some means of
interactive electronic communication in their home, whether it be
telephone or interactive-television or computer-network. On the
basis of travel and communication, therefor, is representative
government still a necessity?”. On a more realisitc level, we must
own up to the fact that in a constantly changing envionment,
tradition for the sake of tradiition is futile and luaghable. If the
tradition does not serve well the current environment and has no
purpose, it should quickly be thrown out and changed. This idea
operates on every level, from dealing wih the national deficit, to
how you arrange your desk at work, to the nature of power structures
that govern the masses.

These are not radical ideas, they are just an acknowledgment of
necessary changes in how we live our day to day lives, how we operate
on every level, from the individual all the way to the individual

ahawks@nyx.cs.du.edu FutureCulture: In/f0rmation
ahawks@mindvox.phantom.com future-request@nyx.cs.du.edu