Studio 11: Science Fiction Futurity

Studio brief


Speculative descriptions of the future reveal a magnified — or distorted — reflection of the fears and desires of the present. Conventional history has tended to hold the polemical or programmatic utopias of artists, architects and designers at a distance from those science fictions intended merely as literature or entertainment. This studio, by contrast, will consider all such texts as a continuum, freighted with the same critical energy; and with the potential to reveal possible futures beyond the strictures of the contemporary predicament.


Short stories and extracts from novels will be counterposed with theoretical perspectives to gain insight into the nature and purposes of envisioned futurities. Fruitful connections between speculative, fictive, propositional and critical modes of enquiry will be investigated, and a role for fiction within the history of creative disciplines will be unearthed. A relationship between an anticipated future, and the material form of the objects intended to grow old in it, will take shape; alongside a wider perspective on the use of 'other worlds' to articulate marginalised narratives.


The syllabus pairs fictional texts with theoretical ones (although in many cases both texts are in a liminal space between one and the other). 

eg (tentatively)

  • Rem Koolhaas’s Junkspace with Philip K Dick’s Pay for the Printer
  • Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto with JG Ballard’s Crash
  • Richard Jeffries After London with Emily St John Mandel’s Station 11

Learning and teaching

Seminars will investigate the reading of latent futurity in objects and images as well as texts, and will encourage the use of speculation as a tool. Close reading of texts and discussion is intended to generate an expanded sense of possibility in writing about art, architecture and design. Consideration of the purpose of fictive mise-en-scene will generate new perspectives on the reading of real objects and spaces. 


  1. JG Ballard’s Crash (1973)
  2. Benjamin Bratton The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty (2016)
  3. Svetlana Boym The Future of Nostalgia (2001)
  4. Octavia Butler Bloodchild (1995)
  5. Philip K Dick Pay for the Printer (1956)
  6. William Gibson Burning Chrome (1982)
  7. Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto (1984)
  8. Frederic Jameson Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (2005)
  9. Richard Jeffries After London (1885)
  10. Rem Koolhaas’s Junkspace (2001) and The Generic City (1995)
  11. Ursula LeGuin The Dispossessed (1974)
  12. Douglas Murphy Last Futures: Nature, Technology, and the End of Architecture (2015)
  13. Paul Scheerbart Glassarchitektur (1913)
  14. Ellen Ullman Close to the Machine: Technophilia and its Discontents (1997) 
Geodesic dome


Tutor Luke Jones

Dissertation Studios


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