a project by Petr Bystrov


The future is the subject of the most varied speculations.
Amongst the discourses about tomorrow we can single out two principal types. The first is based on the logic of our notions about the present day and flows from present achievements and good intentions. The second has its source in the realm of pure fantasy: it has nothing in common with the present, however progressive and developed that may be; it diverges from all our hypotheses, even the most fantastic. It is unimaginable.

The bright future promised by the totalitarian regimes was based on the attempt to calculate tomorrow and erect a defense against it; it followed from the achievements of the present moment and included an economic model, a politics, and an ethics. In turn, the moral and ethical character of judgments about the future range from the romantic prognosticism of the scientist, with his talk of hyperboloids and moon buggies, to the enticing hullabaloo of the fortune-teller, who for a price cracks open the door into our unknown.

The precarious infrastructure of the unknown is formed by currency exchange rates, weather forecasts, and personal predictions. And yet we know very little about the future in the authentic sense of the word, even the immediate future. The artists who present their works in the project Enduring Futurism show us various versions of what should happen tomorrow.

Control over tomorrow - including warding off the onset of non-existence - and the virtual beautification of tomorrow are symptomatic of all forms of authority. In the rhetoric of the state, those declared useful for this tomorrow are always designated, as well as those who hinder its emergence - that is, the future as it should be. To this day, scenarios for successful development based on the dogmas of nation, country or state continue to multiply. Perhaps they are non-functioning, totalitarian or quasi-totalitarian, but they preserve within themselves this conceit.

The pieces by Elena Kovylina, Abstraction: Russia N1 and Egalité, make explicit this confused, sometimes unconscious claim on the future: the claim to (future) order, (unalterable) hierarchy, and (an indefinitely enduring) regime. At the same time, they visualize the well-known “Russian idea” (whose actual content, however, no one knows for certain): eastern ornamentalism crossed with European regularity. The attempt to manage the future with know-how, visibly and handsomely, is frightening because even outwardly impeccable mathematical constructions in practice inevitably presuppose victims and suffering, the rejection of all superfluous elements. In dialogue with the decorative panel, the video Egalité figures as a contemporary version of the Procrustean bed, alluding to attempts at forcible socialization.

The cult of war tops the hierarchy of civic values and liberties in Marinetti’s Futurist proclamations. It is war that is a blessing and good; war is the specter of tomorrow. The set of issues engaged by Archi Galentz in Globe of Armenia belongs to this problematic: the mutual convertibility of borders, the endless modification of identity, the permanently emerging map of sovereign nations. The aesthetics of Globe has its origins as it were in the classical formula of the world as war (and vice versa), or of the world engulfed in the flames of war – if not a hot war, then a cold war, but a permanent cold war whose outcome has been predicted in countless ways.

Aleksandr Schumow, however, interprets the entire history of the avant-garde precisely as a perverse manifestation of passionarity, of the impetuous will to act. And if the desire to fight, conquer, and emerge victorious is common amongst “ordinary” men, then the avant-gardists (in life as on the surface of the canvas) carve out a strange and decorative behavioral pattern that again leads to bloody and contradictory relations and generates a chaos teeming with events. Such is the picture of the artistic and “everyday” avant-garde proposed by Shumov in the labyrinthine installation SUPREMUS.

The project by Anvar Kadyrov, Booth of Silence, was born out of the desire to change tomorrow for the better, out of a radicalization of spiritual ecology and mental hygiene. This is an uncompromising humanitarian mission that wants to realize itself in the form of a massive new infrastructure whose benefits are for the time being as it were unimaginable. Simultaneously, this project is an uncompromising apology for silence as a phenomenon, as an elemental force.

Ilja Kitup also tells us a story about a tomorrow better than our today. His taste for inventions (the series STAMPATO) is akin to the qualities of those scientists who have little concern for the future applications of their constructions. Instead, the process of creating these innovations itself consumes them.

In his lecture about Beautiful future projects and Mountain of Darkness, Bernd Brincken discusses the historical relationship between “pure” art and realpolitik. His topic is the furious enthusiasm for the invention of all manner of contraptions, engines, and flying machines, which characterized the European totalitarian regimes, and the unprecedented concentration of the future in the present, with its emphasis on a speedy forced march in that direction.

In the performance Left, Left – Right!, Petr Bystrov questions the essential belonging of all forms of creativity. Does creativity belong to order or chaos, to what is already given or to the unknown? This performance also functions as an open discussion of the political foundations of the Futurist project, which began as something revolutionary but then mutated into the aesthetic “doctrine of fascism.”
“Left, left – right!” Thus two pluses make a minus, and two minuses, a plus, in continuous, agonizing, physically painfully rebirth: from rhythmicity to chaos, from regularity to the riot of impulses.

Then again, in his piece My Brother, Aleksander Korneev offers us an image of pure experimentation girded by the logic of “what will be, will be.” This experiment is such that its function has nothing to do with corroborating a theory and certainly not with serving the ideals of civilization. This is a maximally absurd action whose goal is to achieve an improbable result.

Giovanni de Dona, the only countryman of Futurism’s founder in our project, presents Diachronic, a performance during which he reveals an experimental mode for the processing of information by demonstrating a series of sounds and images. This mode is unburdened by a logic that seems singular, immediate, and indisputable.

Petr Bystrov

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concept.txt · Last modified: 17. 05 2013 16:11:54 (external edit)
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