Media Artist and Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts
The Imaginary 20th Century: Re-Constructing Imagination

To understand historic developments of the past we normally turn to facts: Archival records, testimonies or remains from the past – we are looking for tangible evidence to reconstruct the past. In particular in respect to the technological development that originated at the turn from the 19 th to the 20 th century the role of deterministic interpretations has been very strong. The focus is on technologies and how they improved along an inevitable time line towards technical perfection (Marvin, 1988). Another historic perspective that takes the social aspects into account mainly traces how people negotiated the old and the new and how technologies changed the social fabric. What stays out of the focus of most research is what people in the past felt and thought and how their imagination of what is possible and desirable influenced the development of technologies and the society. The following will use the example of the interactive media art piece The Imaginary 20 th Century to discuss an approach to turn the attention to the reconstruction of historical imagination with a particular focus on the imaginative processes and their communication to a current audience.


Andreas Kratky. “The Imaginary Twentieth Century – Re-constructing Imagination.” In: F. Cipolla Ficarra (ed.) Quality and Communicability for Interactive Hypermedia Systems: Concepts and Practices for Design. Hershey PA, IGI Global, 2010: 195-203


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