The Possibilitist

The Possibilitist

Steven Johnson, a futurist who searches for value in ludicrous ideas, is interviewed by Steven Heller:

Creating comedic images is fun for me; it allows me to be mischievous. … While I like inventing unique things that have never before existed, I find I am too lazy to spend time focusing for very long on a single concept. Spinning out multiple, vaguely possible solutions to real or imagined problems is for me an exciting mental adventure; I love to surprise myself with ideas that I pulled out of the air.

And the result:

[S]ome of Johnson’s fake inventions and “foolish” ideas became fads or products later on. “In 1975 I started predicting (in my drawings) that store-bought clothing would be sold pre-ripped; I was almost a decade ahead,” he crows. “In 1991 I showed a drawing of a small, radio-controlled vacuum cleaner that could creep under furniture. It was about the size of the Roomba, which was offered a decade later. Mere entertainment is sometimes a vehicle for suggesting what is ‘in the air.’”

As for what this work is called? “On my business card I describe myself as a Possibilitist.”

[Image: “Shirt and Tie Permutations,” Steven Johnson, via]