Back to the Future 

Cycle of 3 solo projects

With Dominique Blais, Recycle Group, Lei Saito

Le Grand Cordel


The project « Back to the Future » presents visionary ideas to the public, embodied in individual interventions by an international group of artists. The themes of future prediction and time travel are usually associated with literary genres and cinema. Social utopias, apocalyptic images, technological revolutions are often drawn in works of literature. How can we transfer this feature beyond the textual and narrative dimension? "Back to the Future" proposes to embody the creation of fiction in art. Based on the reality of contemporary society, the artistic work becomes a prediction and contributes to the inventions of the future. The project invites the public to meet the future, presented through fragments of artifacts, fictitious documentation, experiments in taste and smell. Technological and scientific advances, confrontation of a story to History, prediction and forecasting are the fundamental notions related to this series of exhibitions.


According to philosopher Fredric Jameson, utopia has always been part of the political field. The history of the bipolar world of the twentieth century witnessed the integration of literary creation in political strategy that equalized utopia and the ideology of socialist and capitalist societies. In the case of the hostile relations between USSR and USA, the concepts of the future in cinema and popular literature tend to be a space of a collective dream, contributing to the construction of a patriotic consciousness of the nation. The highest point of conjunction between fiction and assertion of national power appears in the ambiguous story, narrated in the fake documentary « Dark Side of the Moon » : in the movie Stanley Kubrick confesses to have filmed the landing scenes of American astronauts in a studio. In terms of ideological tools, science fiction could also be a subject for conflict: let’s remember that in 2011, the Chinese government banned any kind of time travel and science fiction in literature and cinematographic production.


The untamed, neutral and uncharted environment of space is an ideal field for a symbolic mental combat. What will be the place for a future battle after exploration of the cosmos, the invention of nuclear weapons, development of new energy? Which enslaving strength will we have to resist?


Science fiction, apart from its political impact on reality, sometimes predicted scientific discoveries and structural changes in society. The Austrian philosopher Karl Popper refers to « one of the oldest dreams of mankind - the dream of prophecy, the idea that we can know what the future is preparing for us, and we can take advantage of this knowledge adjusting our policy to it ». This dream gave a new impetus, he said, to the emergence of a genuine predictive ability of such events as solar and lunar eclipses in the early stages of human civilization, which of course became increasingly refined with the development of science and technology. While technological forecasting defends social engineering to achieve limited but precise objectifs, prophecy prepares the inevitable in order to turn it into an advantage, or to minimize the resulting damage.


Why is it be possible to predict an eclipse, but not a revolution? Why can’t we conceive of a social science that would function naturally and give precise and unconditional forecasts in an applied sphere? Is there a mechanism that could make prophecies possible ? What could art do, and where could an artistic creation lead us in these conditions? Could art function as a prediction of the future itself?


References:


Fredric Jameson, Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions, New York, Verso, 2005.


Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, London, Routledge, 1963, p. 338.


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