Home: Future Fantasies

Home: Future Fantasies

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Bohdan Shumylovych

Center for Urban History

December 21, 2011

Center for Urban History, Lviv

Various periodicals and films are fond of predicting what the houses of the future will be like, but our fantasies today are less radical than in the 1960s. Fifty years ago people had daring dreams and images of future that involved holographic projections in the living rooms, recognition technologies for residents of a house, the constant scanning of our physical condition and screening of our health at home, domestic robots and flying machines. Life seemed free of care and full of promise due to the development of science and technology.

At the same time, works of science fiction predict less optimistic aspects of future homes: police and government institutions having direct access to our homes and ability to monitor our communication; overpopulation forcing urban residents to live in small cells; growing internet capabilities (including simulation of bodily and other pleasures) making web surfing more attractive than boring reality. People, in their masses, will spend most of their time indoors at home, fading slowly. This will lead to the realization of the most typical fear of contemporary mass culture: the uprising of home robots against their masters. All of these are dreams and fears, and only part of them has the chance of ever becoming real; we can only dream to see flying machines and (safe) domestic robots in our generation.

Credits

Cover Image: Monsanto House of the Future at Disneyland, 1958 / Orange County Archives