What has happened to our future? A brief explanation of What Future

whatfuturesign

UNIT/PITT’s latest series of commissioned works, collectively titled What Future, is now in full swing, and will be up at 15 E Pender until early May. Three artists, and one artist collective, produced new works on the broad subject of the future:

  • The first commission, which launched in late January, was Before I’m Done by the PJS Collective. Although the installation that went with this piece is now down (and the lovely #idlenomore stencil that may or may  not have been part of the piece is also gone), the video component is still screening in our front window, nightly from 8 to 10 pm. The future in this work is a product of the interactions between three men whose relationships are building a legacy of art and community.
  • We shifted gears slightly with Susanna Browne’s work A Perfect Day. The work itself consists of a song being broadcast into space, using a satellite transmission facility. Susanna Browne’s rendition of this early-20th-century parlour song has now reached past the limits of our solar system, and will continue until it becomes an impossibly faint signal at some time in the distant future. However, we are also transmitting the song locally on UNIT/PITT Radio until early May, and the accompanying publication, which contains the recording, can be purchased at any time.
  • Kelly Roulette’s Traditional Road Warriors consists of two paintings, portraying the persistence and strength of First Nations people. The vibrant colours of the figures — a male elder in one, and a mother and child in the other — are both a question and an answer. What is the future, a dead end, or a realization of the power of the knowledge and cultural wealth that is being passed on the future generations, even in sometimes desperate circumstances?
  • Kevin Murphy has created a model of his proposal for an Atlantean Timepiece designed to tell people in the far future how much time has elapsed since Vancouver was inundated with rising ocean waters. Partly a warning of disaster to come, and filled with astute references to Vancouver developers’ predisposition toward glass towers on artificial waterfronts, the documents and mechanisms behind the plan are also shown in an artist’s book.

“The Future” is a fluid thing; it changes from moment to moment, and can appear completely different depending upon where you stand. In this series, artists took a role in our collective future by envisioning it.

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