Forewent Conclusions, Forthcoming Adjustments
2022 is projected to be the year when the pandemic will end, which moves us to think about the phrase “from now on”. Our current moment is nothing if not destabilized, but we can rely on one certainty: that the pandemic has radically altered any previous ideas of the future—from the mundane ways we conduct life, business, and school to the spectacularly vexing questions of survival—of the planet, of the human race.
How will life be lived? How do we imagine the environment, politics, and social encounters? The group exhibition Forewent Conclusions, Forthcoming Adjustments will include 15-20 artworks that explore possible future scenarios, extrapolated from lived experiences today through sculpture and works on paper.
Organized around a timeline running the perimeter of the room, works in the show will expand on the idea of a more precarious future: new objects, forms, systems, and visions that speak to what life might look like in 2022 and beyond. Using timeline exhibitions (such as Group Material’s 1989 Aids Timeline and Borderland Collective’s Northern Triangle 2014-2018) as a point of departure, a decision-tree like timeline will traverse the gallery walls mapping possible developments in racial justice, environmental policy, and adaption, recurrent pandemic cycles, economic realities, and political futures. The perimeter gallery wall, painted with a sunrise-like gradient, will serve as the backdrop for these parallel futures envisioned by artworks.
Artworks will speculate on matters from the mundane to the imperative. For example, a drawing might simulate a newspaper article about changes to Black and African American’s monthly reparation checks, digital collages might depict Kanye West’s inauguration or suggest high-fashion full-coverage sterile bodysuits, and textile works might imagine a redesigned American flag acknowledging all 574 Native American Nations, or Michelin star restaurant meal designer-IV bags that avoid virus transmission. Two series of confirmed works include watercolors depicting new civic policies informed by sea-level rise, and maple leaves reshaped by carbon levels in the atmosphere. Presented together, these pieces will hold the utopic, dystopian, pedestrian, and uncomfortable projections of the future simultaneously, thereby giving physical form to the plurality of possibilities related to present-day decision-making through aesthetic forms.
We will also create a participatory phone work, Prediction Line, which will be offered to members of the general public in the United States and Canada to call in and record 1-minute predictions of post-pandemic life. These predictions will be made available in a free takeaway broadsheet publication as well as an audio work that can be streamed online as well as the interior and the exterior of the gallery.
Amy Khoshbin, Anna Whitehead, Ayesha Hadir, Ayodamola Tanimowo Okuseinde, Camille Turner, Cassie Thorton, Diedrick Brackens, Jason Eppink, Jennifer Willet, Justin Langlois, Lisa Hirmer, Marina Zurkow, Miguel Azarbe, Sarah Hotchkiss, Sita Baumik, and Stephanie Rothenberg will be invited to visualize a response to one of the timeline categories (environment, politics, social forms). Additional support for these artists will be sought through Canada Council, Brooklyn Arts Council, and crowdsourcing platforms.
Anchoring the show is a central sculpture, Time Piece. Time Piece is a three-piece sculpture made from a boulder, a digital clock, and a laundry line with a pair of old socks hanging to dry. Together, they give form to different ways of understanding scales of time and change—geologic time, day-to-day time, and lifetime. The aim of the project is to draw attention to the interplay of time and change, as it relates to geologic time and climate emergency—changing weather and landscapes, radically altered workscapes, and the precariousness of life and all of its social forms rendered by the virus. The digital clock at the center of this sculpture doesn’t always move forward in Greenwich Mean Time—it slows and speeds up, and sometimes reverses. When placed alongside a large boulder and a laundry line with a sock on it, this installation leaves the viewer uncertain as to ‘what time’ the clock is counting and the ways in which a long, stable, life for both humans and the planet is no longer guaranteed.