‘Every possible thing that can happen or will happen has already happened somewhere’: John Titor, hoaxes and speculative design | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 2045-6271
  • E-ISSN: 2045-628X



One of the core characteristics of speculative design projects is the way they can be easily confused with reality. By maintaining a close connection with the mundane, these fictions often pose provocative questions shaped as uncanny scenarios that weave rather dystopian encounters with possible futures. However, where does one trace the line between propaganda hoaxes and critical design depictions? Using the story of alleged ‘time traveller’ John Titor – one of the most well-known Internet hoaxes so far – as a point of reference, this article will discuss the civil role and the cultural resonance of speculative design fictions, as well as the responsibility of the designer in either questioning or reaffirming society’s political, social and economic agendas.


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