Opening exhibition: The Future that Was

Image by Goda Budvytytè

The Future that Was
Gabriel Lester

Featuring: Thomas Bakker | Melanie Bonajo | Pedro Barateiro | Heman Chong | Jonas Dahlberg | Mariana Castillo Deball | Koenraad Dedobbeleer | Gintaras Didziapetris | Thea Djordjadze | Zoro Feigl | Hella Jongerius | Surasi Kusolwong | Runo Lagomarsino | Joris Lindhout | Goshka Macuga | Raimundas Malasauskas | Jankovics Marcell | Girolamo Marri | Bojan Sarcevic | Onco Tattje | Bik van der Pol | Barbara Visser | Freek Wambacq

Opening reception Saturday 3 November, 19:00 - 05:00 hrs
Exhibition until Sunday 30 December 2012
SMART Project Space , Arie Biemondstraat 105 - 113, 1054PD Amsterdam

The opening is a part of the programme for Museum Night 2012 and includes the launch of New Art Space Amsterdam (NASA), the new art institution that SMART Project Space and the Netherlands Media Art Institute introduce together. In conjunction with the opening NASA is presenting a full evening's programme of sonic art performances by Florian Hecker, Germaine Kruip, Surasi Kusolwong, Mononoid, Baba Electronica & DJ Lonely special guests.

In The Future that Was Gabriel Lester brings together some twenty artists whose work positions them in the area of tension between a linear concept of time and its opposite, a cyclic notion of being as eternal recurrence. The artists' work is presented in a scenographic installation designed by Lester, based on elementary cell structures. Following on from the artists' work, The Future that Was seeks out the role that faith, fortune and fate play in our experience of time and space. Moreover, fate can be regarded in Nietzschean terms as Amor Fati - an embrace of what is unavoidable, or translated literally, as "love of fate".

To explain existence as we experience it in infinite time and space, it is simple to begin with oneself and one's personal experience. We breathe in and out, our heart beats, blood flows through our arteries, and our hair continues to grow. People live in this logic and know nothing more than that this process will repeat itself until there is a definitive end. But does anything ever come to an end? Rather than ending, perhaps things enter a domain outside our perception, continuing to live, or appearing in a new form.

Perhaps finiteness applies primarily to us as individuals, and not to the species, which lives on and is renewed with each generation. Moreover, many believe that things do not end, but are transformed into something different. This is the basis of belief in the hereafter, and in any case it is an idea that is in harmony with the physical law of the conservation of energy. It is clear that it particularly depends on the perspective that is taken, whether things are finite, or whether there is development, or whether things repeat themselves endlessly. It is also our experience that the linear and cyclic experience of time are interwoven with each other, and that there can be progress in cyclic processes.

The Future that Was relates to such experiences of time, which fascinate Lester, and to our ways of dealing with them when we try to arrive at a picture of the past, present or future. What if everything simply continues to repeat itself to infinity?

"Why do you find this particular one so difficult to name?" she asked. "I think I've named too many," he replied, "It seems to me, I have run out of names." They converse, without looking at each other, their eyes affixed on their screens, fingers rapidly firing away letterson the keyboard. "Wasn't there a technique you used to generate possible names for these new elements?" she asked. "There is. And it still works pretty well," he replied. "A new technique perhaps? It seems to me you're sick of your own cleverness with this one," she said. "There isn't time to develop a new technique. And even if I did, I'm sure it wouldn't be good," he replied, eyes on his screen. "Revolutions take time, and you have none. So what does one do in such a situation?" she asked. He sighed, softly. He stopped typing, sat back and folded his arms. She stopped typing, and stared at him.

With this exhibition and the Museum Night, SMART Project Space and the Netherlands Media Art Institute introduce the new presentation institution New Art Space Amsterdam (NASA).

Both the title of the show and the last paragraph of this text are from Heman Chong, and comprise his contribution to this exhibition.