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Future Shock

Futurologist guru Alvin Toffler has died at the age of 87.

He was the author of 1970 Future Shock and other works predicting social, economic and technological change.

Future Shock, which sold 15 million copies, defined people’s anxiety at the pace of social change in the 1960s.

Alvin Toffler popularized terms such as “information overload” and his works led world leaders and business moguls to seek his advice.

He predicted the rise of the internet and decline of the nuclear family.

Alvin Toffler died in his sleep on June 27 at his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Although many writers in the 1960s focused on social upheavals related to technological advancement, Alvin Toffler wrote in a page-turning style that made difficult concepts easy to understand.

Future Shock argued that economists who believed the rise in prosperity of the 1960s was just a trend were wrong – and that it would continue indefinitely.

The Third Wave, in 1980, was a hugely influential work that forecast the spread of emails, interactive media, online chat rooms and other digital advancements.

He also foresaw increased social alienation, rising drug use and the decline of the nuclear family.

Not all of his futurist predictions have come to pass. Alvin Toffler thought humanity’s frontier spirit would lead to the creation of “artificial cities beneath the waves” as well as colonies in space.

One of his most famous assertions was: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, China PMZhao Ziyang and Mexican business guru Carlos Slim were among those who sought his advice.

Alvin Toffler was born to Jewish Polish immigrants in 1928 and honed his theories working for IBM and other technology companies in the 60s. He is survived by his wife, Heidi, with whom he collaborated on many of his books.

Unsound Festival 2011, an original week-long avant-garde music event, starts on October 9 in Kraków, Poland.


Unsound Festival started in 2003 as an underground event of advanced music, and its importance has grown over the years. The annual event is produced by Fundacja Tone, a not-for-profit organization. Unsound has created smaller events in Prague, Warsaw, Bratslava, Kiev, and Minsk, the capital of Belarus. In 2010, a 10-day satellite event involving music, film, workshops and panel discussions, Unsound Festival New York, has begun, its third edition is set to spring 2012. Unsound is a founding member of ICAS (International Cities of Advanced Sound).


This year Unsound Festival theme is inspired from Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, featuring experimental, futuristic music, and events related to the signification of futurism in music, arts, and human life.


Unsound Festival 2011 theme is inspired from Future Shock by Alvin Toffler (1970).

Unsound Festival 2011 theme is inspired from Future Shock by Alvin Toffler (1970).

The festival-goers have the opportunity to visit churches, galleries, cafes, museums, clubs in Kraków.

Live performers and DJs, experimentalists, party music, digital music, evolving and fractured forms of bass-heavy club music (Bass Mutations are a part of the festival) are included in this year line-up.

Chris & Cosey (Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti, ex Throbbing Gristle) with an unique form of industrial music are headliners at Engineering Museum. Peter Christopherson died last year and the band came to an end. Optimo Music released a vinyl edition of Chris Carter’s solo cassette of synthesizer music, The Spaces Between.


Chris & Cosey are one of the headlines at Unsound Festival 2011.

Chris & Cosey are one of the headlines at Unsound Festival 2011.


John Foxx and The Maths with electronic pop are also present. Foxx’s Metamatic is a strong evocation of urban and technological alienation.


Unsound Festival opens on Saturday, with Jingoku’s evening of film screenings, Jigoku’s Future Shock Film Season – Opening Marathon.


The selection includes documentary Future Shock (1972, US, Alexander Grasshoff), Soviet psyche-acid animation Journey To The Stars (1981, Russia, Roman Kachanov), No Blade of Grass (1970, UK, Cornel Wilde) with its apocalyptic futurism and Spectreman (1971, Japan, Yasuharu Hasebe) with nuclear superheroes and pollution monsters.


The opening of the Unsound Festival 2011 Installations takes place on Sunday, and displays works by John Rafman & Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never), Robin Fox (Editions Mego) and Raime (Blackest Ever Black) with Ewlina Aleksandrowicz and Andrzej Wojtas.


At the Engineering Museum Oj, Nie Mogę Się Zatrzymać!(1975) screened with a live score by Felix Kubin and Macio Moretti, and 1924 silent Soviet sci-fi movie Aelita, Queen Of Mars is live-soundtracked by The Generator Analogue Orchestra with Wojcek Czern and others. Felix Kubin plays with Danny Wolfers aka Legowelt at the nightclub Pauza.

Felix Kubin presents on Monday, The Symptom of The East, exploring sound art and experimental music in Eastern Europe. At Krakow Music Academy performs drone-folk heroes Natural Snow Buildings, then Mark McGuire (Emeralds) plays a live set of cyclical guitar and synthesizer improvisations. William Bennett (Whitehouse founder) presents the Poland debut of Cut Hands, afro noise genre (a mix of African and Haitian vaudou percussion with digital synthesis and processing).

Eastern Bridges, a series of Unsound Festival starts on Tuesday, featuring artists from Eastern Europe, i/dex and The Volume. Robin Fox, audio-visual artist, talks about art and science “from neurobiology to cochlear implants, analog synthesizers to audio-controlled lasers”. At the Manggha art gallery, LXMP renders Herbie Hancock’s Future Shock! album. Niwea, iconAclass and Napsyzklat are present too.

The fourth day of Unsound Festival presents a discussion with William Bennett (Cut Hands, Whitehouse), hosted by Blackest Ever Black, centered on the controversial artist’s interest in voodoo and unconscious communication, including his own theory of “the transparent concession“. The 800th Lifetime: Music For The End of The World is a special concert which takes place at Manggha, and includes live performances from Kangding Ray (Raster-Noton), Robin Fox and HTRK.

On Thursday, at Unsound Festival Gordon Savicic talks about Social Media Hacking, and Steve Goodman (Kode9) about “sound, music and futurity”, drawing from his book Sonic Warfare. Dead Center, Christian Wallumrod and Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer perform live at the 16th century St Katherine’s Church in Kazimierz. Sun Araw, Hype Williams, Laurel Halo, Holy Other and Rustie play psych-electronic music at Manggha.


Ricardo Villalobos performs with Max Loderbauer at the Unsound Festival 2011.

Ricardo Villalobos performs with Max Loderbauer at the Unsound Festival 2011.


On Friday are planned talks with Leyland Kirby (The Caretaker), Morphosis, Catz n Dogz and Dave Tompkins (author of How To Wreck A Nice Beach, a history of the vocoder). Time Horizons: featuring The Caretaker, Kode9 + MFO (paying homage to the sci-fi short La Jetee) and composer Morton Subotnick performing Silver Apples of The Moon on the Buchla synth, accompanied by visuals from Lillevan.


Morton Subotnick performs his work, Silver Apples of The Moon, at Unsound Festival 2011.

Morton Subotnick performs his work, Silver Apples of The Moon, at Unsound Festival 2011.


Techno dance music is scheduled at the Unsound Festival on Friday night, Juan Atkins’ Model 500, MMM, Kassem Mosse, Ital, KiNK, Tin Man, Morphosis, Space Dimension Controller with DJs Joy Orbison and Catz ‘N Dogz.

Chris & Cosey and John Foxx play on Saturday at the Unsound Festival 2011, then Sex Worker, LA Vampires, Maria Minerva and Dylan Ettinger. Later perform 2562, Addison Groove, Dreadnought, Teeth, Andy Stott, Sepalcure and Brokenchord, DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad, Objekt, Jacques Greene and Jam City.

Unsound Festival closes on Sunday. Sinfonietta Cracovia interprets the music of Henryk Górecki and Arvo Pärt at the Tempel Synagogue, then A Winged Victory For The Sullen and Jacaszek. The Information Pylon – a co-presentation from Exotic Pylon and the nascent Public Information label – offers wyrd electronics from The Haxan Cloak, Ekoplekz and Stellar OM Source.

Unsound Festival 2011 ends with Burning Out closing party, with VHS Head, Braille, LA Vampires and Machinedrum.

Unsound Festival 2010 theme was Horror: the pleasure of fear and unease.

Unsound Festival 2010, Darkness & Light (video)

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Unsound Festival 2010, The Pretty One (video)

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On Augus 27 is the 82th birthday anniversary of Ira Levin, mystery and suspense writer, dramatist and songwriter, awarded with The Grand Masters Award by the Mystery Writers of America in 2003.


Ira Levin‘s work generated a worldwide interest and inspired lots of famous movies. Rosemary’s Baby (the best known novel), A Kiss Before Dying (Edgar Allan Poe Award), The Boys from Brazil, The Stepford Wives, Sliver, Deathtrap (the best known play), This Perfect Day (Prometheus Hall of Fame Award) are among his writings.


Ira Levin became early attracted by mystery and writing.


When he was twelve Ira Levin was fascinated by the magicians of Tannen’s Magic Shop in Times Square and he learned about concealing reality behind illusion. He liked detective stories and had a collection of mystery books. Anagrams played major roles in Rosemarys’s Baby and Son of Rosemary. Ira Levin continued the tradition of  using the transposition of letters (Lon Chaney Jr. in Son of Dracula) and basics of cryptology (Poe in The Gold Bug).

Ira Levin said he had considered being a writer from the time he was fourteen or fifteen years old. “Before that I wanted to be a magazine illustrator – I probably would have painted Gothic scenes.”

He was accused thinking ahead to the movie script while writing. He denied saying he is a playwright at heart.



Ira Levin's "Stepford Wives" entered the common vocabulary

Ira Levin's "Stepford Wives" entered the common vocabulary


Ira Levin‘s first novel, A Kiss Before Dying (1953) won the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America as the year’s best first mystery.


The Underground Gourmet published in 1954 was adapted for TV and appeared on G.E. Theater, hosted by Ronald Reagan.

Rosemary’s Baby (horror, 1967) was a best-seller (over 5 million paperback copies in the U.S.) and it was translated into lots of languages. It became a horror classic and a milestone. It was followed by books and movies about Satan (The Omen, The Exorcist and others). Ira Levin felt somehow responsible for the rise in Christian Fundamentalism, but “I didn’t send back any of the royalty checks,” he said.

Ira Levin read Future Shock (Alvin Toffler, 1970) and was fascinated by its references to domestic robots. The animated figures in the Hall of Presidents at Disneyland also enchanted him. In this way The Stepford Wives (satirical thriller, 1972) emerged. It tells about men’s desires. The way they found to fulfilled them was considered insulting by Women’s Lib Movement. The word Stepford entered the common vocabulary, with meanings from someone who allow his/her role in society to be dictated to someone resembling an automaton, someone conformist, submissive, or unemotional, mechanical.

This Perfect Day (heroic science fiction, 1970) was often compared with Brave New World (Aldous Huxley), and 1984 (George Orwell). Generally, Ira Levin just tells the story without making any judgements regarding the basic state of the human race, but in this novel he talks about absolute control over the human emotions and desires.

Ira Levin saw an article on cloning that included a picture of Adolf Hitler and that was the beginning of The Boys From Brazil (thriller, 1976).

Three of his mystery novels begin with similar facts: Rosemary Woodhouse is sure she would enjoy living at the Bramford (Rosemary’s Baby), Joanna Eberhart thinks she has found the perfect home (The Stepford Wives), Kay Norris is delighted to move into 1300 Madison Ave (Sliver, 1991).

The basic premise of Ira Levin’s Deathtrap (1978) is: How far will someone go to have a hit play? and it was a hit play, it ran for 1,792 consecutive performances.

“Ira Levin makes the fact that we’re going to die okay. That’s one of the things that horror novels in general do.” said Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk.

Ira Levin died from a heart attack on November 12, 2007.