November 25-26 , 2016 Ballestrem Palace, Wrocław
Conference: Culturo – Futuro! Beyond the limits of imagination
curators: Edwin Bendyk and Roman Pawłowski
The conference is intended to present and confront different visions of the development of culture, society and people in the face of dynamic changes to the civilization, technology and society. The starting point for discussion will be Roman Pawłowski’s book titled Bitwa o kulturę #przyszłość [Battle for culture #future] (published by Teatr Stary in Lublin and Wydawnictwo Krytyki Politycznej). During the conference, the book’s central figures – artists and theorists accompanied by invited guests, will present their perspectives for the future of culture and art. In the practical part of the conference, the invited artists and curators will show their artworks or artistic ideas dedicated to future generations.
Throughout the 20th century, artists, theorists and futurologists conjured up visions of the future that reflected their expectations and anxieties connected with the development of civilization; at the same time, these prognoses were the outcome of needs, fears and dreams of individuals and entire communities. Today, in the second decade of the 21st century, it is much more difficult to indulge in fantasies about tomorrow. Somebody has robbed us of our future, and it has happened twice. The first time was when capitalism turned out to be unpredictable, and all the hopes connected with economic development were shattered by its crisis. The second time materialized when the new authoritarian regimes focused on politics of memory and turned towards the past in order to legitimize their actions.
The conference is an attempt to reclaim the future and defend our right to dreams and utopias. At a time when political, social and technological changes are just as predictable as sunspots, we want to look for answers to the question about the possible scenarios for culture’s future. We deeply believe that culture is more than economy, politics, science and technology put together, because it determines the reason why humans use these complicated tools.
So instead of studying the impact of technology on culture, we are going to think about the degree to which cultural changes can influence new technological inventions. Instead of analyzing how political changes affect culture, we will ponder on the role of cultural transformations in shaping new ways of playing politics. We will not talk about the pressure of economy on art; instead, we will focus on the goals set by culture for economy. Science will be discussed in the context of new challenges that culture is posing for researchers.
We are going to establish a connection with the future with the assistance of people of culture: artists, theorists and curators. On the first day, they will present their perspectives on the development of culture and art, which will lead to discussion revolving around the most important challenges faced by culture. Alongside the theoretical discussion, we will launch a practical laboratory of the future. As part of an artist hackathon, i.e. a 24-hour intensive working session, a group of young artists from Wrocław will prepare their own projects devoted to visions of the future. The effects of their work will be presented on the second day of the conference.
“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed,” wrote William Gibson, a classic of sci-fi literature and a grand visionary who has predicted the emergence of a global information network. We would like to invite you to look for its signs together.
As a result of the art hackathon and over the course of a 24 hour collaboration with Marcin Fajfruk, we have created a „time” booklet. Based on our calculations, each year we are loosing about 21 thousands of seconds (about 6 hours) what gives as about 57 seconds per day. We are loosing it now in order to get it back every four years – on February 29th, thanks to the leap year (Gregorian calendar). But what about our trust? Would the chain of events pass the time savings on to us? Or maybe we are going to lose it. Who knows what is going to happened tomorrow. We decide to materialize those 57 seconds of „trust” into an object everyone can touch. That’s how the black and white photo book was created. It is a set of 57 still images, made in 57 seconds on a busy street in Wroclaw. The motion captured in photography became our visualization of the future and an extra time we store in it. We are still accumulating time in order to get it back in February 2020. Enjoy!