In the wake of political conservatism and neoliberalism in the early 1980ies and in the midst of quickly evolving technologies, many different visions of the future - in film, architecture, and the visual arts - have been imagined. Although we are still far removed from establishing self-sustaining human colonies in space, scenes in Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner might give today’s spectators a shiver of déjà vu. Visual manifestations of technocratic governments, social breakdown and dehumanising forces are shockingly reminiscent of the apocalyptic turmoil of 2016. But in the face of Brexit, the US election, Aleppo, post-truth politics, terrorism and impending fascism in Europe, what we need is not an escape to the blank page of the unknown future, but rather a pause in the known present. As Marc Augé has pointed out, the prevailing idea of “the Future” rests on our present fears of the contemporary world. Can we find the courage to discard our new year’s wishes and predictions for 2017 in favour of a confrontation with the present time? And more broadly, can we direct our practices toward finding invigorating ways to work together, break down barriers, and resist the hyper-normalisation of hate?
PRESENT CLUB. So, what do you suggest? is a new year’s event that invites artists, curators, and thinkers to return to the present-day and envision ways to join forces, inside and outside the field of art, on an institutional and human scale. In addition, the invited speakers will propose a selection of films that resonate with or respond to the troubles of our times. A cinema of dark, hopeful and confident present-day perspectives. A programme against feelings of indifference and paralysis.
Curated by Marie de Gaulejac and Laura Herman