Double-sided risograph print made for Always Already?, a show curated by Jack Hogan and Ali Osborn in Fall 2016 in the Mason Gross Galleries, New Brunswick, NJ. Open edition. 11" x 17". The imagery comes from research towards the show's theme which is described in the following press release: There are stories that describe time as a river. If it is in fact a river, then the artists in this show are fly-fishing. They are standing in one part of the river, waist deep in the gushing waters with their sleeves rolled up, wearing big floppy hats that keep the sun out of their eyes. They toss their lines way out to catch something far away in a place––a time––they can’t be. That’s what it’s like to make art about the future... But it is not so simple. Now that genetically modified salmon have been approved for consumption, there is a chance that what we catch in the river has been designed. And if we catch that designed thing, our catching is designed. Further complicating this particular example is the fact that adult salmon swim upstream to spawn. Their offspring swim downstream. So, in our scenario these fish are time-travellers. Genetically modified time-travellers. To practice fly-fishing, to make art, it is necessary to momentarily put all this metaphor out of one’s mind and focus on the task at hand. The casting, the pulling, the catching, the making, the painting. After the fish/thing is caught/made the metaphor can be reapplied and one can stand back and say “oh no, what have I done.” That’s what it’s like to make art about the future. It’s scary stuff. But we’re not alone. As beautiful or original as a future may seem, the influence of earlier designers and thinkers of that future is inescapable. Our culture has already established what our future is/will be. The conception of time, and within it the invention of the future, is perhaps the most radical of human creations. For
much of the twentieth century, the future held sway over our dreams. We are today constantly infiltrated by a discourse of crisis in economic, ecologic, social and political terms. In this paralysis of the imaginary, the future has been cancelled. On March 28 of this year, in reference to Google and Apple, The New York Times asks “Why are the two companies spending billions to build offices that look lifted straight from the 1960s?” Can the emancipatory and future-oriented possibilities of our society be reclaimed? Given that we are going to have
massive technological changes and a brilliant increase in productivity, is this going to lead us towards a world in which we humans are masters of the machines we have created—at ease with AI, synthetic biology and additive manufacturing—or vice versa?