Fictional Futures

May 27th, 2006

Slides from a presentation on stories, belief and the aesthetics of artefacts in science fiction, from a workshop at the Fictional Futures project, Goldsmiths Feb ’06.

50 slides, so this will take about half an hour. Many interesting links to follow.

Catalhoyuk had a population of up to 10,000 people, and a few strange features like a religion that appears to have been based on fear (‘aren’t they all?’ said someone in the room). To me, the most interesting bit is that the houses were all squashed together. No streets!

To get to your house, you had to climb up on top of the city, walk along until you got to your chimney and climb down. You’d live in your couple of rooms, and bury your dead under the floor. Every so often, you’d knock the house down and build another on top of the rubble. And so the hive-mound rose up.

But no streets is what gets me. That streets – gaps between buildings – are an invention—it’s a beautiful concept. Of course streets had to be invented at some point (Ur had them), but Catalhoyuk reminds us so brilliantly. I imagine it felt like some kind of science fiction architecture at the time: Imagine if related houses were somehow kept close together, they’d say, so you could quickly get between them, and there were faster routes across our whole city!

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