Futurity | esse arts + opinions


100 - Automne 2020

This hundredth issue explores the theme of futurity, offering new theoretical avenues for thinking about a more positive outlook for the world, outside of traditional schemas of critical utopianism. According to a chronological mode of conceptualizing time, the past influences the present, which then affects the future. Futurity, on the other hand, proposes that the kind of future we anticipate determines our present actions. Thus, the future we imagine acts directly on the present by shaping our actions. The notion of futurity may also be understood as a form of reparation inscribed within a decolonial perspective. Practices such as Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurisms, which address these issues in a specific manner, are therefore central to the considerations of futurity. We thus discover works that exist outside of temporal frameworks and that combine traditional knowledge and technology, ancestral myths and speculative fiction—works that are decidedly critical and committed to what’s to come.


Articles à la pièce

Gwynne Fulton
Oli Sorenson
Nathalie Desmet
Anne-Marie Dubois
Gabrielle Moser
Charlotte Jacob-Maguire


Our Future Present(s)
Sylvette Babin

FEATURE: Futurity

Mermaids… and Mud: Futurability in Viral Times
What does the crisis wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic mean for the future? Gwynne Fulton draws on Franco “Bifo” Berardi’s theory of futurability and the Karrabing Film Collective’s dystopian video The Mermaids, or Aiden in Wonderland (2018) to imagine possible futures after the end of economy. Touching on the politics of death and ongoing legacies of settler-colonial violence, Karrabing’s Dreamtime story of a toxic mud, poisoned by extractive capitalism, offers an intergenerational vision of the future from the perspective of our radical dependence on the earth.

Gwynne Fulton

No Future?
Made up not only of teenage junkies, the punk scene advocates for progressive policies like direct democracy, feminism, and anti-militarism in order to negate the coercive aspects of futurity. In French, futur refers to a fictitious time beyond the present, diverging from the term avenir, which points to actual things-to-come. While new technologies are wrongly credited as signs of a benevolent future, climate activists are fighting for policy changes that take effect right here, right now. By mobilizing to shape a legacy of their own making, artist collectives such as Decolonize This Place are embracing punk’s impulse of self-realization in the present, as it slips into the future.

Oli Sorenson

Chronopolitics of the Future: An Interview with Aliocha Imhoff and Kantuta Quirós
In the book Les potentiels du temps: Art et politique, Aliocha Imhoff and Kantuta Quirós consider fiction as an operator for imagining a possible world. Fiction allows them to multiply political spaces and connect their fictional experiments to a “potential regime” or even chronopolitics. Their film project Les impatients is both an investigation into particular kinds of space-time, outside of contemporary global simultaneity, and a work of mapping. An atypical consideration of time can lead one to conceive other futures and even envision a democracy that wouldn’t be solely human.
[Translated from the French by Oana Avasilichioaei]

Nathalie Desmet

Indigenous Intemporalities and Performative Futuries
At the turn of the 2000s and in the wake of sociopolitical and aesthetic criticism borne of Afrofuturism, artists forming the Indigenous Futurism movement also re-appropriated representations of the future to give voice and body to Indigenous imaginaries. Through a combination of their specific traditional cultural baggage and new technologies, Shuvinai Ashoona, Skawennati, and KC Adams debunk “colonial times,” a period deeply marked by linearity, progress, and humanist utopianism. Between tradition and contemporaneity, the indigenous futurisms articulated by these three artists draw on resilience and imagination to envisage other futures emancipated from History as written by the victors.
[Translated from the French by Louise Ashcroft]

Anne-Marie Dubois

Surviving the End of the World: Colonialism and Climate Change in the Work of Christina Battle and David Hartt
Although we are now accustomed to thinking of the current epoch as the Anthropocene, the term’s obsession with the present obscures the ways in which colonialism has shaped the climate over the last four hundred years. Analyzing the strategies that Black artists use to visualize the links between colonialism and climate change, the author examines Christina Battle’s billboard series Today in the news more black and brown bodies traumatized the soil is toxic the air is poison (2018), alongside David Hartt’s installation in the forest (2017–2018). By building image archives that blur past, present, and future narratives, these artists ask viewers to stretch their thinking about the timescale of colonialism’s impact on the planet and illuminate the ways that Indigenous and Black subjects have survived and resisted the world-ending conditions of colonialism and transatlantic slavery since 1610.

Gabrielle Moser

Reinventing Strangeness: Shannon Finnegan and the Demand for Disabled Futures
If futurity is what could be, then it is present in the works by disability activist and artist Shannon Finnegan. As Alison Kafer tells us, futurity happens to be normatively deployed only when it serves able-bodiedness and able-mindedness. By recognizing that futurity is customarily claimed by able-bodied people, Finnegan’s work is significant in that she expresses timelines and a possible future for persons with disabilities. In firmly grounding disabled temporalities and crip time in her work with the past, present, and future, Finnegan proposes that a different future is possible.

Charlotte Jacob-Maguire


Rajni Perera
The worlds that Rajni Perera constructs prophesy possible futures of diasporic cultures for Indigenous and racialized peoples. The beings that populate her horizons are hybrid, mutated, in fusion with nature or elements such as fire and water. […]

Florence-Agathe Dubé-Moreau

Ekow Nimako
[…] Ghanaian-Canadian artist Ekow Nimako can imagine that, and does. When considered as an orchestra, his sculptures play a continuous parafictional narrative, a symphony exploiting the fissure, in which all approaching invaders of Africa are vanquished. […]

Connor Garel

Laurent Lamarche
Laurent Lamarche’s practice straddles the worlds of science, history, and philosophy, shaping a kind of archaeology of the future, to use philosopher Fredric Jameson’s term. […]

Anne-Marie Dubois

Syrus Marcus Ware
Syrus Marcus Ware waters and tends to the seeds of the revolution through the multiple channels his work takes as an activist, artist, educator, scholar, and DJ. A core team member of Black Lives Matter — Toronto and a co-founder of Toronto’s Prison Justice Action Committee, Ware’s art practice is in many ways inextricable from his activism, as both interconnect to build community, honour Black queer and trans experiences, and, in his own words, “[weave] narratives of hope” in working towards an abolitionist future. […]

Valérie Frappier

Camille Turner
[…] Falling within the tide and aesthetic of Afrofuturism, Camille Turner’s artistic strategy, in both her performances and installations, oscillates between speculative fiction, non-Western cosmologies, mythology, science fiction, technology, and history and opens a field of myriad possibilities. […]

Dominique Fontaine


Lorenza Böttner: Requiem for the norm ou la transformation contestataire
Marie-Hélène Toutant-Gauthier


« Ça ne va pas bien aller », prédit un futur irrité
Michel F. Côté


Visual Arts

The Dead Web – The End, Musée Ludwig, Musée d’art contemporain, Budapest & Molior, Montréal by Kaysie Hawke

Giorgia Volpe, Maison de la culture Janine-Sutto, Montréal by Michèle Lorrain

Valérie Blass, Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver, by Anaïs Castro

Construire un nouveau Nouveau Monde : L’amerikanizm dans l’architecture russe, Centre canadien d’architecture, Montréal by Alexandre Piral

Images fabuleuses. Quand la fiction prend racine, Galerie d’art Foreman en partenariat avec Sporobole, centre en art actuel, Sherbrooke by Sophie Drouin

Cindy Sherman, Vancouver Art Gallery, by Julia Skelly

Milutin Gubash, MAC LAU, St-Jérôme by Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre

RESET, Festival Art Souterrain, Montréal by Charlotte Dibon

Endre Tót, Květoslava Fulierová & Július Koller, Salle principale & GB Agency, Paris by Vanessa Morisset


Curating Live Arts, Berghahn Books, New York & Oxford by Victoria Carrasco

Performance Art

Bodily Response, Mountain Standard Time Performative Art, Calgary by Didier Morelli

OFF.Radio, OFFTA, Montréal, by Julie-Michèle Morin

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