Artifacts from the Future
July 22, 2008 5:42 PM   Subscribe

For years, Wired magazine has tapped a bevy of designers and artists in the tech field to craft detailed visions of futuristic objects for a monthly showcase at the close of each issue. Now, after hinting as much in the July edition, it is clear that that the tradition of FOUND has been brought to an end. What better way to say goodbye to this whimsical feature than by taking a look back at the full archived run of the series?

(Note: Although FOUND has been a regular feature of Wired for many years, the magazine's website only began including it in its online archives in November 2004. Previous editions of FOUND are not indexed on, and are virtually impossible to find elsewhere online.)

MM.YY - Artifact Title (Future year)

11.04 - Election Day (2012)
12.04 - Barf Bag (2047)

01.05 - House Call (near future)
02.05 - Taste Tester (2009)
03.05 - Insurance Form (2069)
04.05 - Horoscope (2056)
05.05 - Bumper Sticker (2012)
06.05 - Antivirus (2022)
07.05 - Nightstand (2017)
08.05 - Crossword (2019) [solution]
09.05 - Space Elevator (2032)
10.05 - Sharper Image (2012)
11.05 - Diaper (2024)
12.05 - Christmas Morning (2016)

01.06 - Mood Ring (2009)
02.06 - Love Tester (2015)
03.06 - MTA Route Map (2067)
04.06 - Tax Day (2021)
05.06 - Operation (2027)
06.06 - Bookstore (2021) [side view]
07.06 - Contact Lens (2020)
08.06 - Diet Cola (2019)
09.06 - Report Card (2018)
10.06 - Bluetooth (2019)
11.06 - Organ Farming (2015)
12.06 - Christmas Shopping (2017)

01.07 - Crayons (2013)
02.07 - Speeding Ticket (2054)
03.07 - Medicine Cabinet (2013)
04.07 - Bug Spray (ca. 2050)
05.07 - Reunion (2052)
06.07 - Fido Fusion (2016)
07.07 - Comic Book (2021)
08.07 - Fruit Stand (ca. 2020)
09.07 - Birthday (2079)
10.07 - Halloween (2015)
11.07 - Waste Management (ca. 2025)
12.07 - Responsibeer (2012)

01.08 - Windshield (2013)
02.08 - Tatoo (near future)
03.08 - Home Shopping (ca. 2016)
04.08 - Risk (2027)
05.08 - Smithsonian (2096)
06.08 - Wine Spectrometer (ca. 2020)
07.08 - "The Final Found" (2018)

Top FOUND contributors include:

Chris Baker - senior editor, Wired
Laura Moorehead - contributing editor, Wired
Sean Hamilton Alexander - designer
Joshua Davis - web designer
Patrick Di Justo - contributing editor, Wired
posted by Rhaomi (29 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
i'm sad to see this go. FOUND was a whimsical highlight of every issue.
posted by mrballistic at 5:53 PM on July 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I noticed this yesterday when I flipped through the new issue. I have to admit, my first reaction was also to hate on Sony. Displacement!
posted by Malla at 5:54 PM on July 22, 2008

Aw man. That was like the only part of WIRED with any spark or creativity.
posted by DU at 5:58 PM on July 22, 2008

The future wasn't meant to last.
posted by plexi at 6:03 PM on July 22, 2008

Between the loss of "Found" and things like their environmental issue, Wired's ear has become almost so tin that they could sell it for scrap. I wouldn't be surprised if they put out a "Why DRM is awesome" article in the near future.
posted by drezdn at 6:21 PM on July 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

"Found" made my dollar-an-issue subscription to Wired worthwhile.
posted by retronic at 6:44 PM on July 22, 2008

Wired magazine gets lamer. Film at 11.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 6:45 PM on July 22, 2008

Well, it sounds like I timed the lapsing of my Wired subscription perfectly -- last issue this month. Hey, it was a gift!

Great post, thanks Rhaomi for putting it together.
posted by intermod at 7:10 PM on July 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Between the loss of "Found" and things like their environmental issue, Wired's ear has become almost so tin that they could sell it for scrap. I wouldn't be surprised if they put out a "Why DRM is awesome" article in the near future.

Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of WIRED: "Is DRM evil?"
posted by humannaire at 7:58 PM on July 22, 2008

posted by sciatica at 8:24 PM on July 22, 2008

Found is lost.
posted by tapeguy at 8:43 PM on July 22, 2008

Wired blows. It's essentially porno for gadget nerds now.

I liked it better when it was porno for techno-Utopians living in the inflating tech bubble.
posted by delmoi at 9:08 PM on July 22, 2008 [3 favorites]

Damn. That was always one of the only reliably cool things in Wired.

Their articles are hit or miss; the good ones tend to make it worth the $12 a year that it costs, but some of the misses can be real stinkers.

"Found" was a nice bit of Dot Com nostalgia, which is a major part of the magazine in general — I'd be more careful cutting it out, if I were them.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:31 PM on July 22, 2008

The long boom will go on forever!
posted by Artw at 9:51 PM on July 22, 2008

Actually wired did do an article predicting the internet bubble collapse a few years out, and a few years before their 'long boom' article as well.
posted by delmoi at 9:59 PM on July 22, 2008

It's been downhill ever since they went monthly.
posted by unmake at 10:49 PM on July 22, 2008

Great post -- like inhaling a whole pile of comic books in one sitting.
posted by ottereroticist at 11:25 PM on July 22, 2008

posted by brundlefly at 11:36 PM on July 22, 2008

Like "Outside," a once great mag becomes a catalog for crap.
posted by cccorlew at 11:38 PM on July 22, 2008

Wired really went downhill after the Conde Nast buyout, and things like the bundled-or-highly-promoted "Fashion Rocks" crap. Who in their right mind thought that readers of a technological magazine would give a rat's ass about a TV fashion show?

I miss the golden days of Wired in the early 90s; my favorite article had to be the one they ran about tunnel exploring under college campuses. Nowdays, the magazine is barely worth the $10/year just to serve as bathroom reading material.

Counted the pages of an issue a few months ago and it came out to something like 65-70% ads (full and half pages) versus actual content (articles, etc).
posted by mrbill at 11:57 PM on July 22, 2008

Winners don't do nootropics.
posted by davemee at 12:39 AM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Rhaomi, great list. Thanks for putting that together!
posted by davemee at 12:52 AM on July 23, 2008

I do (did) love 'Found', even if the examples of future artifacts always seemed to come from an extrapolated super-future where hi-tech and disposable consumer products have continued to rattle away up their exponential curve of growth and advancement. God forbid Wired should ever hypothesise about how simple technologies might be a touch more important than Grow-Your-Own RoboDog kits in a resource-poor future.

Sad to see it go, but this is a great round up of millenial future-optimism.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:47 AM on July 23, 2008

At least they put in some thought and replaced it with a new feature of true quality. I mean, what would it say about the minds behind Wired if they just dumped the back page altogether and ended the issue with some extra ads?
posted by boombot at 8:48 AM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think I have only read Wired while in a doctors office or somesuch place, but always enjoyed flipping through it. I don't recall these "Found" pieces, but a few of them are really great. The taste tester one is awesome. All great things come to an end I guess.
posted by Big_B at 9:24 AM on July 23, 2008

The first archived link (11.04) was the first FOUND I ever paid attention to, as I happen to have some interest in election systems and secure voting. It was doubly ironic given the electronic voting goofups in Ohio and Florida that year.

The genius of the piece is that it is a short speculation on how the unremarkable ordinary of the future might be extraordinary today. Not a new idea, but succinctly expressed.
posted by Araucaria at 11:15 AM on July 23, 2008

Bioluminescent Periwinkle! I love that.
posted by cashman at 12:56 PM on July 23, 2008

I'm also bummed to see this feature go. This is/was my favorite ongoing feature of Wired, the one good thing I could expect even if the rest of the issue was crap. Is there any good reason they canceled it other than to add more advertising space?
posted by sleeping bear at 11:35 PM on July 23, 2008

Email is awesome. Check this out:
For some time now I have been collecting the "Found" feature year-by-year at my blog, and coincidentally, just as Rhaomi was pointing out the unavailability of pre-Nov '04 editions online, I put full 2004 set out there. (I scanned the print editions to get the missing pieces.)

Earlier years are forthcoming.

Stuart Candy
You rule, Stuart. Thanks for the heads up.
posted by cortex at 9:24 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

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