In creating a framework for the Future Histories project I was looking for a way to extend the process of interrogating future by presenting it within a constructed past. In looking at the work that had emerged in 2014 (Apparatus 9-12) there was also an emerging aesthetic that reached toward mythic future technologies, time machines, spaceships, etc … machines that spoke to an unknown impossible invisible functioning.
For sometime I have been aware of a desire to practically manifest that which is perceived to be impossible. If one can do something that is perceived to be impossible it opens a space where for a brief moment a witness calls into question every thing else that they believe to be impossible. Within that place assurance is unstuck and there is a flash of the abject that slips away as quickly as it is introduced. The pieces falling comfortably back into place perhaps less fixed than they were. In repeating this process as a creator I find myself appearing to collect skills and technologies that feel like pieces of a future assemblage. Collecting impossibles to, at some future time, gather them together into a meaning or a life.
I am unable to determine if this intuitive reaching and collecting is informed by a future awareness opened perhaps through a part of my being that is connected in some inexplicable way to future existences (the idea of consciousness existing at higher dimensional frames would, for example, allow for this) or if its a form of gentle delusion that creates meaning where there is none to assist in the linking and integrating of the unfolding of events and discoveries. To paraphrase Forrest Gump … it feels like both.
It is within these psy spaces that I recognize a latent desire to construct a time machine … the Future Histories project is a way for me to approach this impulse. Hopefully without demanding that it be manifested in practically (a process that at this point would most certainly break it), but to allow it to speak an echo of some knowledge or future or subconscious from the depth at which it exists …
The initial question within the Future Histories project can be traced in part as a response to participating in TEDx Manitoba 2014.
Participating in TEDx was a very conflicted process for me. My practice was and is a holistic process with many simultaneous disciplines, projects and explorations contributing toward developing meaning and understanding which then in turn spawns and guides further explorations as a form of externalized knowledge building. Being asked to condense what was an organic hive of questions and concepts and experiences into something that could be articulated in a few minutes with one main idea seemed at first impossible not to mention somewhat offensive. However, I had agreed to contribute and so set about meeting the challenge of the task. It was a process of both discovery and loss seeing how many threads and ideas that have been let go and taking up that which remains. I attempted to explain my practice from different angles and positions. While each approach seemed insubstantial on its own, a particular thread emerged that seemed coherent and essential to many aspects of the work.
I had encountered writing suggesting that the difficulties of establish a space for critical dialog surrounding emerging technology temporal and cultural. The difficulties of critique of the ‘new’ are temporal in the way that the ‘new’ experience lacks established frameworks of meaning through which it may be examined in relation to other preexisting frameworks of knowledge and experience. Among others Marshall McLuhan suggests that ‘When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.’ (McLuhan – The Medium is the Message’)
I realized that, to some extent, this desire for considered technological space was being realized within my practice by a process of constructing and inventing emergent technologies within a technological history both real and mythic. This led to the question now bound up in the Future Histories Project: how can I investigate this idea of a past future more directly? How can I push the concepts further and explore them through practice … ?