Perspectives on Imaginary Futures


25.05.2014 - 23.06.2014

Michael Burton & Michiko Nitta - Near Future Algae Symbiosis Suit, Prototype, 2010

The exhibition Perspectives on Imaginary Futures, which will be on view at the House of Electronic Arts Basel from the 24th of May until the 22nd of June, shows artists envisioning possible scenarios of the future. Under the heading ‘departure’ – the motto of this year’s Oslo Night 2014 – the different positions of the group exhibition address a future, which can be investigated and shaped by the artists’ works. 

How do we want to live in the future? How can we communicate? How can we actively develop our environment and society? And what is our everyday life like – here and anywhere else – how do we eat, live, and love?  The exhibition Perspectives on Imaginary Futures at the House of Electronic Arts (HeK) presents different artists’ concepts of how to take into our own hands the shaping of the future with the help of creative inventions, the potential of the internet and the possibilities of science. Going further than a global promise of progress, these different works offer alternative solutions for the future and utopian concepts, which centre on the shaping of human life. Both everyday life and questions around the development of society as a whole come into focus. Furthermore, trends causing concern are also considered. The different perspectives shown in the exhibition share an impartial approach, which puts to the test, in an ironic and critical way, our visions of the future.  

The British artist duo Burton Nitta for example examines how humans by imitating plants could feed on sunlight. For their project Algaculture (2010-2014) they have developed possibilities of alga and humans living together symbiotically, and show how the human body could be redesigned and further developed. In a similar manner, Markus Kayser, too, has devised a potential solution for the future management of finite resources in his project Solar Sinter (2012). Combining natural energy and high-technology he has built a machine, which produces glass objects from sand from the deserts using a 3D printing process and solar radiation. 
Other works show how pigeons under the use of bacteria can be made to instead of feaces excrete soap (Cohen Van Balen, Pigeon d’Or, 2011), or how in the future children could be raised by robots (Addie Wagenknecht, Optimization of Parenthood, 2013). Alternative future scenarios on the subject of habitation and energy are developed by Tobias Revell in his fictitious documentary New Mumbai (2012), in which genetically modified material causes an invasion of the slums of an Indian megacities by giant mushrooms, which in the end lead to the independence of the residents, because they can be used as energy supply. In Neïl Beloufa‘s Film Kempinski (2007) the inhabitants of Bamaka, the capital of Mali, tell their dreams of the future. Under the suspense between typical sci-fi elements of their fantasies and the realities of the people, Neïl Beloufa plays with the western audience’s expectations towards an exotic Africa. 
Similarly, the German artist collective Reinigungsgesellschaft for their project Bus to the Future (2012) have collected visions of the future.  They asked the inhabitants of an American metropolis about their hopes for a bus system and investigated future urban development and public transport. 
The American artists Stephanie Rothenberg and Jeff Crouse engage with the subject of lust and labor. In their online crowd funding project Laborers of Love/LOL (2013) they reflect upon how, with the future outsourcing of work to the internet, sexual fantasies and lusts will be met by anonymous suppliers. Other possible new ways of life are explored by Julia Minnig, student at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Basel.    

Artists: Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Neïl Beloufa, Michael Burton & Michiko Nitta, Markus Kayser, Julia Minnig, Marisa Olson, Reinigungsgesellschaft, Tobias Revell, Stephanie Rothenberg & Jeff Crouse, Addie Wagenknecht, and more

The exhibition is going to be on view from the 24th of May until the 22nd of June.

Saturday May 24, 2014, 4–12pm during Olso Night Arts Festival

Opening hours
Wed-Fri: 3-8pm, Sat/Sun: 1-8pm
Oslo Night (24.05.2014): 4-12pm

Guided tours
Every Sunday at 3pm
Family Sunday: Sunday, 15th of June 2014

Art Basel (17.06.2014 -22.06.2014)
Open Tue-Sun: 12am-8pm
Guided Tours Tue–Sun: 2pm


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