Life in 2050: Artists imagine 40 years into the future

Life in 2050 is an exhibition coinciding with the Sci-fi London film festival. Design studio Transmission and Proud Central Gallery have asked 22 artists to imagine how life would be in 2050, 40 years from now. When you think about it, it really isn’t that far away, but in context of the past 40 years and the exponential change that has already occured, I don’t think these are all that far fetched. I love how different the work is too. There are reinterpretations of a 1970′s past future (one of my personal favorite themes, which I even did my thesis on),  fragments of psychedelia and the obligatory Star Wars inspired driods.

I couple of my favorite pieces are Dan McPharlin’sYear One,” Tom Gallant’sdoubleplusungood.” Gallant uses the newspeak term doubleplusungood, meaning the worst, to help paint the picture of an Orwellian dystopia. According to his artist statement,”In 2050 Newspeak becomes the official language of Oceania in Orwell’s 1984.  By then, according to UN figures, the world population, estimated to be 9.3 billion, will be unsustainable leading to use of vertical farms.” Scary to think about but necessary if we’re to rise above it. I’m drawn to McPharlin’s work because it draws directly from past-future visions that obviously have not come to pass. The catalog states, “His work pays homage to mid-century modernism, 70s sci-fi and surrealism but reimagined and reorganised into a past-future that never was and never will be.” This is something I’ve always touched on in my own work.

And now for the winner as chosen by the curators… “‘Modern Romance’ by Arnold Steiner is a meditation on man kind’s quest for perfection. This post apocalyptic vision shows an extreme time where people have sacrificed their humanity and Natural resources in the ultimate quest for freedom from death. The blissful robots dancing celebrate the end of the human spirit and the biological world. Both seductive and repulsive, this image toys with our false hopes of a technologically brighter future.” Who doesn’t love a sepia toned robot dance surrounded by ancient technology? Complete with laser beams.

Food for thought.. enjoy.


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Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010