Archive of the Future Anterior

A provisional index of misplaced futures

Catherine Sullivan

Dec 9, 2011
CUE Art Foundation
511 West 25th Street, New York

Simon Leung and Warren Niesluchowski

March 26th, 2011
CUE Art Foundation
511 West 25th Street, New York

Svetlana Boym and Matthew Buckingham

May 22, 2011
Apex Art
291 Church St, New York

The tense of the future anterior (French: Future auxiliary verb + past participle) is one of potentiality. Within any given present, it images “what will have been” before an event actually comes to pass. To return to the moments of bifurcation is an objective of the Archive of the Future Anterior. An archive which wishes to serve less as a time-capsule than a provisional index of loss or misplaced futures; where future has not yet become past and multiple futures remain compossible within a single present.

Initiated by Thom Donovan and Sreshta Rit Premnath this project is a video archive of interviews in which artists, writers, scientists and colleagues from various disciplines discuss their work in relation to this future conditional tense. The interviews will present futures which never came to pass, but may still hold the potential to be realized in the present. We hope that by producing an archive of futures which have yet to come to pass we may be able to alter the course of the future, as well as change the way we narrate and remember the past. Putting artists, writers, historians, scientists and other culture workers in dialogue with each other will be a crucial aspect of this project, inasmuch as we believe that in our present epoch fields of knowledge should communicate and synthesize to both recall and imagine a future we would want to create.

Through our collaboration, we also wish to destabilize the simple dichotomies of personal and social, interior and exterior, memory and history by triggering the future anterior tense wherein the stimulation of memory produces action, and imagination produces possible worlds of experience. Participants will likewise be encouraged to draw upon their somatic experiences as catalysts for potential futures. To what extent can our bodily memory (muscle memory, genetic code, anamnesis) germinate possible futures?