The Future We Remember
Curated by Cora Fisher and Sarah Higgins
Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Salem
2 February – 5 June, 2016
When we envision the future, we re-imagine today. How will our futuristic visions appear once they have become natural history? What follies, fantasies, and visionary utopias will have been revealed? Will we have been dreamers, or cynics?
The Future We Remember brings together a group of contemporary artists whose work collapses the distance between past and future, offering up fictions and fantasies of what culture, technology, and ecology will become. The exhibition includes a wide range of artworks, some of which include new and old geological artifacts. In The Future We Remember, we encounter a plastic rock, a chunk of meteor, and a seed. Interwoven in these artifacts and the artworks are themes of hybridity, ecological utopia, material culture, the ability of an object to bear witness, and the claims on truth that objects and their interpreters make.
If history can be seen as a bracketing system, arbitrary in its beginning and end, then the sliding scale of time reveals our systems of measurement are relative, from a lifetime, to historical time, to geological and cosmological time. In this exhibition, artists’ works scale up and out, calling into question notions of permanence and ephemerality. By the same stroke, many works speculate upon who carries meaning into the historical record, and what fictions may be carried along with them.
The stories through which we project our future selves and societies have the quality of fables. Yet our imagining of what will continue beyond us may be the very thing that allows us to intervene in the present.
Creating a Time Capsule
Visitors are invited to become object interpreters, along with guest storytellers from a variety of scientific and artistic disciplines. Artists in the exhibition have selected objects to interpret. These objects will be used as the basis for interactive storytelling in SECCA’s Overlook Gallery. The stories we weave will become part of a time capsule for The Future We Remember.