Jean-Marc Cote: Postcards imagining the year 2000 in 1899

In the year 2000: Firemen rescuing a woman and child from a blaze.

Predicting the future is always risky business. Having been part of the drafting of various institutional ‘vision’ documents, the underlying ‘understood’ assumption was not to hold back – to give a free reign to ones imaginative capacities to conjure up definitive ‘ideal states’. French illustrator Jean-Marc Cote in 1899 had the unenviable task of future gazing 100 years, and with that, to come up with a series of postcards for the Paris World Exhibition in 1900. These postcards (En L’an 2000 – In the Year 2000) were distributed across France in the first decade of the 20th C, and were rediscovered much later in 1985, by American science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. Asimov published a collection of these postcards with his commentary as a book titled “Futuredays: A Nineteenth Century Vision of the Year 2000”. Take a look at some of these postcards, and try and not be amused. Try and imagine life in the year 3012 instead.

In the Year 2000: A curiosity horse – genetic engineering?

In the year 2000: Audio news

In the year 2000: Glowing radium instead of fire.

In the year 2000: Modern kitchen, food dispensed by machines.

In the year 2000: Barbers’ hair cutting and shaving machines. Reminded me of Charles Chaplin’s feeding machine.

In the year 2000: Ferocious air battle

In the year 2000: Battery powered roller skates

In the year 2000: Electric train. Note the ‘Chinaman’ in Paris.

In the year 2000: Electric, robotized farming

In the year 2000: Video telephone. Skype!

In the year 2000: Underwater tour with a domestic whale.

In the year 2000: Underwater sports – croquet.

See the entire set of 49 cards here.

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MAK & CHEESE
MAK & CHEESE
8 years ago

we humans almost always get it wrong don’t we?!

mike
mike
8 years ago

lovely trip back in time,,thnks

Clayton H
Clayton H
8 years ago

Sharing this on reddit.

bibhash
bibhash
8 years ago

crystal ball gazing is a always fascinating, but there are always hits and misses,, at least some of these fantasies have come true.

O Leverton
O Leverton
8 years ago

I really like these – something very quaint and good humored about them.

tanisha
tanisha
8 years ago

fantastico, and yes I am sucker for visual history!

mukesh
mukesh
8 years ago

Flying firemen,,,i never thought of dat! haha

Harriett S
Harriett S
8 years ago

quaint and ‘likeable’. Ty for sharing

kelly
kelly
8 years ago

gotta love those batteries on the skates lol

Pronoti
Pronoti
8 years ago

I am an Asimov fan, and it is good to know about this book. I have not seen it around though, pretty obscure.

mejorado
mejorado
8 years ago

fascinating! i cud not help but grin at some of the ideas haha.

Smeetha Dharmarajan
Smeetha Dharmarajan
8 years ago

Recently read a news report somewhere about a machine staffed fast food chain is in the offing…burgers etc. will be made via machines..Mr Cote was not very far off the mark there.

Guy Peluso
Guy Peluso
8 years ago

I guess its very hard to let go of current attire and fashion, or probably it is the hardest to predict, given the rapid changes in trends.

whale
whale
8 years ago

Try and domesticate me :)

J Dusseault
J Dusseault
8 years ago

Interesting stuff….. funny though.