Time Traveler | Aesthetic Study
Words & Visuals
Time traveling is easy
Sailing across the globe is one thing, but traveling through time is quite another. Many would say that time traveling can only be about time machines, warped spacetime, and moving faster than light, but, in essence, our capacity for mental time travel is what really excites us. Unlived lives of a dreamer, sparked by a thought, a scent, or a sound. Legendary lands, described by prophets and visionaries, who fire our minds with the image of a future heaven on Earth. Utopias, created by believers of a perfect society, egalitarianism, and polyculturalism. The imagined worlds of tomorrow have always appealed to us powerfully and enduringly, creating flows of belief in our hearts and minds.
So the time machine exists. And it is our brain. That fundamentally prospective organ has been designed to use information from the past and the present to generate predictions about the future. We think that our memory is a tool for remembering the past, but it is also generates simulations of possible future events. For our ancestors, that capacity provided behavioral flexibility that would increase their chances to survive. Moreover, without an imagined picture of the future, there would be no cities, no culture, no civilization. Through these time travels, not only that we try to predict the future but also to improve and idealize it.
“The verb to dream never used to stand in for to aspire”
Dreaming is the easiest way to travel to the future. However, the verb to dream never used to stand in for to aspire. Dreaming used to be a matter of sleep. Americans changed the meaning of it with their collective embrace of the so-called ‘American dream’. In 1931, American historian James Truslow Adams coined the phrase ‘The American Dream,’ in his book The Epic of America. Adams used the ‘dream’ as a structuring conceit for his gloss of American history, describing this dream as one of material prosperity, but also of what we might now call self-actualization. Today, according to Oxford English Dictionary, one of the meanings of the verb to dream is “to imagine and envisage as if in a dream; to have a vision or fantasy of. Now chiefly: to think or daydream about (something greatly desired); to hope or long for.”
*Futurology is a discipline between art and science. It doesn’t predict the future – it forecasts the future, studying possible, probable, and preferable events and the worldviews and myths that underlie them. Even though it is parallel to the field of history, part of the discipline seeks a systematic and pattern-based understanding of past and present, to determine the likelihood of future events and trends. One of the area of foresight professionals’ study is trend forecasting. And this is how it works in fashion industry:
“Fashion forecasting started with Tobe Coller Davis Floyd, who was the first fashion forecaster. Back in 1927 Miss Tobe founded her eponymous fashion advisory service company, based in New York City. She started from delivering fashion weekly reports for only 4 clients, but eventually managed to build a fashion empire and provide companies with insightful analysis, strategic and tactical recommendations. Another fashion forecaster was Edward Bernays, one of the most famous PR specialist of the XX century. His self-deﬁned job was “gaining public acceptance for new ideas.” To him, forecasting was not about prognosis; it was a form of PR that could be used, for example, to revive old-fashioned fabrics and give them a new twist. The use of the word “forecasting” in fashion was indeed controversial because of the nature of the forecasters’ methods; it was neither clearly exposed nor scientiﬁc, as its critics objected.
Today forecasting is something that is broadly used in every business and fashion retail, in particular. It is the key priority for every company to provide their target audience with the latest trends. Fashion agencies like WGSM, Trendstop, Promostyl or Fashion Snoops work on trend research, market reports and analysis of cultural shifts for various clients, including designers, buyers, and product-managers.
The future of forecasting industry is researching micro-trends. These trends will last for a couple of seasons and will provide stable results. With fashion brands offering from two to six collections per season, the use of micro-trends can become crucial.” – Helena Vasiliadi
A visionary is one who can envision the future. But their capacity to predict it is not achieved only through meditation, drugs, or lucid dreams. In fact, artists, directors, and writers have a formidable track record of picturing the future quite accurately. For example, Back to the Future Part II correctly predicted a number of technological and sociological changes that occurred by 2015, including video chat systems; the rise of ubiquitous cameras; flat panel, widescreen television; hands-free video game systems; talking hologram billboards; wearable technology; and head-mounted displays. But more often, lots of the science of tomorrow comes in a form of science fiction. Back in 1968, writer and futurist Arthur C. Clarke predicted iPad in his 2001 A Space Odyssey. The iPad was released in 2010, two years after Clarke’s death.
“When [Floyd] had tired of official reports, memoranda and minutes, he would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship’s information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one, he would conjure up the world’s major electronic papers. He knew the codes of the more important ones by heart and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display’s short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him. […]
Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man’s quest for perfect communications. Here he was, far out in space, speeding away from Earth at thousands of miles an hour, yet in a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased. The text was updated automatically on every hour; even if one read only the English versions, one could spend an entire lifetime doing nothing but absorbing the ever-changing flow of information from the news satellites.”
2001 A Space Odyssey (1968)
by Arthur C. Clarke
That mysterious young man wearing modern sunglasses and a printed T-shirt might be a time traveler. The photograph from 1941 of genuine authenticity of the re-opening of the South Fork Bridge in Gold Bridge, British Columbia, was claimed that the appearance of that hipster-loooking guy was too modern and not of the styles worn in the 1940s. Originated from the Bralorne Pioneer Museum, the photograph was featured in their virtual exhibit Their Past Lives Here, produced and hosted through investment by the Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC).
However, further research suggested that the modern look of the young man was an illusion. The style of sunglasses first appeared in the 1920s. Moreover, his “printed T-shirt” was on closer inspection a sweater with a sewn-on emblem, very similar to the one that was used by the Montreal Maroons, an ice hockey team from that era. The remainder of his clothing would appear to have been available at the time, though his clothes are far more casual than those worn by the other individuals in the photograph.