Imagined Futures is a research project concerned with the conditions, dynamics and consequences of rapid media transfer and transformation. Media here encompasses all imaging techniques and sound technologies, with the cinema providing the conceptual starting point and primary historical focus. While changes in basic technology, public perception and artistic practice may often evolve over long historical cycles, our main assumption is that there are also elements not of steady and gradual process, but moments when transfer occurs in discontinuous, unevenly distributed fashion, during relatively short periods of time, and with mutually interdependent determinations. Imagined Futures initially identified two such periods of transformation taking place across a broad spectrum of media technologies: the period 1870-1900 and the period 1970-2000. The first witnessed the popularization of photography, the emergence of cinema, the global use of the telegraph and the domestic use of the telephone, the invention of wireless radio and of the basic technology of television, while the second saw the consolidation of video as a popular storage medium and avant-garde artistic practice, the universal adoption of the personal computer, the change from analogue to digital sound and image, the invention of the mobile phone, and the emergence of the internet and world wide web. A key characteristic of such periods of rapid media change is the volatility, unpredictability and contradictory nature of the dynamics between the practical implications (industrial applications and economic potential) of these technologies, their perception by the popular imagination (in the form of narratives of anxiety, utopia and fantasy), and the mixed response (eager adoption or stiff resistance) from artists, writers and intellectuals. These shifting configurations among different agents offer a rich field of investigation for cultural analysis, posing methodological challenges and requiring specific case studies.