Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Brief History of the Future......

Just back from a trip with 30 students and 3 colleagues to the Royal Museum of Fine Art in Brussels for the exhibition 2050, A Brief History of the Future inspired by the book of the same name by Jacques Attali.

In the afternoon we had an hour or so scheduled in the ancient art collection of old masters so we could make by way of contrast 'a brief visit to the past'. It strikes me that one of the things that links both the past and the future together is myth.  We are hardwired to project our imaginary worlds, either 'real' or 'fantastic' into the past as historical narratives, myths  or legends and into the future as utopian dreams or dystopian science-fictions. 

The ancient or pre-modern world seems to have been more oriented towards the past as the locus of projection for wisdom and moral discourse, as in biblical stories or classical mythology, whilst in the modern era the compelling myths or narratives of an evolving scientific and technological progress are firmly fixed on future horizons.

If we compare the works below we can find so many remarkable continuities despite the apparent dissimilarities.

The world is a creation of the mind.

'Fiction' 1998 C-print on dibond Ryuta Amae Aeroplastics Contemporary                  

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563)