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Future Climates

Art Faire in 2046

  • Fiction
  • Nov 06 2019
  • Antonia Alampi and iLiana Fokianaki
    Future Climates is a platform that aims to propose viable futures for independent cultural practice. Its objective is to actively shape the forecast of institutional climates by addressing the critical and precarious conditions of individual workers and small-scale organizations of contemporary art and culture. At its core lies the urgency for imagining new sustainable economies in response to the changing weather that affect labour rights, work ethics and funding methods, and addressing related issues of symbolic appropriation, exploitation and exoticization.

Disclaimer: This is a collection of at-times utopian and at-times dystopian thinking we have been ruminating over for a while, which was gathered for the occasion spontaneously. Some of these words are completely imaginary, some decisively less, though all are rooted in our desires and fears for the future. We did have fun writing them down and will be writing more.

July 2046: The Shah of Blah doesn ́t exist anymore as a figure of power, in the cultural world that is. You know that figure that travels the world talking from a conference room and a white cube to the next, mansplaining how and what things are. For that matter, white cubes also don't exist anymore; those specifically defined as confining spaces representing patriarchal authority are long gone. The obsolete idea that we may be able to contemplate works of art solely for their aesthetic qualities is long dead and the white cube and white supremacy with it. Disposed of in a container down in the depths under the surface of the earth. Divisions based on race, class or gender, are non-existent. Populations have merged with one-another, gender is obsolete, and now the only thing that remains is language. This is why those long and tiring discussions to convince that white-middle-to-high-class random person that, “Yes! Historically, artworks have perpetrated - in their very essence - the power relations at play in the society of their time, and that not acknowledging the problems of gender, race and inequality, embedded in them, will not give space to the myriad of stories that have historically been suppressed in their reading…”Ah, take a breath…Well, that is long gone. People know. Humanity has changed. 

There are four languages prevailing in the world (English, Arabic, Chinese and Indian) and two divisions, you are either a Commander or a Soldier. Commanders are the 1% of the species with the highest intelligence, the best physical characteristics (not beauty as assumed during modernity, but agility, reflexes, quick mathematical calculations, good ears for languages, physical strength and fertility). Commanders have more responsibilities, but not much more money. They are in fact servants for the rest of us. Don’t be fooled, these are nerve-wracking jobs, that are not sought after, but appointed by large assemblies, where Soldiers and Commanders participate in equal numbers after random selection.  Yes, this is the status quo. 

Oceans of Notions have emerged, complexity has won over simplification and reduction. Everything became simple again. White males are a minority, most of them very old now, living under the care of other soldiers, stripped of all their privileges, they are the remnants of those rich patriarchs that used science to prolong their lives and have not yet died. They usually attract attention in the streets when they walk as they look so different than everyone else. They sometimes ignite hate by other, older, soldiers, who still remember the stories of repression from their foremothers.  In such occasions, commanders interfere to remind all of us, that they have zero power now and they pose no threat. So we let them be. 

We live in times of equality in every sense of the word. Salaries are obviously colour-and-gender-blind, and are based on qualities such as commitment, knowledge, responsibility and reliability. Society has achieved the free movement of people, so society is equal in its inherent diversity. Wealth has been redistributed. There are no tycoons, oligarchs or their ilk anymore, the difference between the lowest and the highest income is merely symbolic. Nobody starves. Healthcare is free, education as well. There are no taxes, there are no borders. Everybody has a shelter. Dis-ability is visible and embraced in all its forms. The work-week is made of three days, so people have more time for care work, for slow life-styles and generally for a decelerated way of living in thought and actions. The temperatures do not allow for much more. Everything needs to be done carefully and slowly to not traumatize the earth even more. 

The cultural world has played a huge role in this planetary change, even if just by chance. It took a while to understand how this change had happened. A large international (at the time there were still nation-states) alliance of small-scale precarious and vulnerable organizations together with free-lance precarious workers unionized, demonstrated, fought and ultimately managed to convince, without black mailing, big corporate and public museums to convert, to understand the need for redistribution, for practicing ethics and justice, not only on a stage, but deeply and profoundly within their infrastructures and the way they work. Two artists were commissioned to represent this shift in their work. One of them proposed a new art institution as a new model of society: horizontal structures, some commanders, some soldiers, with possibilities of changing positions and responsibilities. Curators became cleaners, cleaners became curators, artists became registrars and registrars became artists. They had the option to return to their initial calling, or any other role they wished for, if everyone approved that they were satisfactory in what they were doing. This was the initial model of our current society, with many tweaks since then. The individualism brought on after decades of turbo capitalism has withered. Now, it is more about what everyone – as a collective body - wants. 

The second artist proposed a new drug: a virus that provoked a strange but intense disease that made every single human being of the art-world “feel” (bodily, even before cognitively), all the pain and all the love of the world around. The only way to FEEL GOOD was suddenly to have everybody around you FEEL GOOD too. Nobody knows how this virus was conceived and manufactured, but it seems this artist understood that such a thing would be the only possibility of survival for the human species. As a matter of fact, this contamination brought a revolution that nobody could have ever imagined. From the art-world it spread to all segments of society. The virus was contagious. To this day we are not sure whether that was on purpose or by accident. The chemical component of the virus, the artwork itself, is now the symbol, the flag and the insignia of this new world. Both artists are unknown and now forgotten, as this was their wish, after the virus was released in all hemispheres. 

Nonetheless, art is still very present in society. Everyone can produce it, but they are collectively utilizing prima matter from a software called Art Faire. Inspired by the now extinct French language, Faire means “do”. Art Faire is a software that collects the desires, images and imaginaries of all the populations of the globe. They are inserted in this software through the pods in which we all sleep at night. Our inner thoughts, our subconscious is collected, filtered and categorised into themes. Artists utilize these through thematic chapters that consist of thousands of sounds, smells, images and ideas, and compose art. Be it literature, music, installations, poetry, paintings, etc. An Art Faire are hosted every week, in every part of the world. There are thousands around the globe. Every week they present new productions, which are for free and for everyone. There is never a dull moment at these events, we all can, at times, recognise fragments of ourselves in the art presented. 

The pieces are not for sale, but can be rented, if anyone wanted to re-experience them in the comfort of their own home. The profits from the renting, are used to support new research, either for combating climate deterioration and disasters in specific areas, but especially for the newly formed non-human societies of the planet, that are in need of interpreters and infrastructures.   

There is complete freedom in thematics. At times quite disturbing works are produced. But since we all feel the same, sadness or fear coming from these works of art they serve to rewire our quest for eternal happiness. A wave of global sadness, for an hour, makes us realise how lucky we are to live in such happiness and equilibrium. We have art to thank for that. 

  • Footnotes
    1. Both the „Shah of Blah“ and the „Ocean of Notion“ are a reference to characters in Salman Ruhshdie´s „Haroun and the Sea of Stories“, read on a Puffin Books edition from 1993.

    Photo: Vincente Manssur, Ovnis (2017)



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