Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, presented by Orson Welles
This is an absolute gem and an almost forgotten one – a documentary version of Alvin Toffler’s classic 70s book, Future Shock presented by Orson Welles.
The premise of Future Shock was that the pace of human progress had achieved a level which would create a pathological reaction, a metaphorical motion sickness caused by the fact that nothing seemed permanent.
Unlike most past views of tomorrow, which look hopelessly obsolete (‘nothing dates like the future’), the premise of Future Shock can only get stronger since not only progress itself, but the derivative of it, its increasing rate of change, exacerbates the core phenomenon.
Stylistically, however, Future Shock is a definitively dated period piece, an early 70s, Jumbo Fonted, psychedelic trip full of deliciously obsolete technology that conjures up wistful nostalgia where it is intended to do exactly the opposite. Even the poor quality of this video with its wavering audio track and bleached imagery actually adds to the effect.
Future Shock is both a perfect piece of vintage cultural nostalgia and still relevant scientific prophesy. It’s Everything retro-futurism should be.