Visions of Futurology

The fourteenth edition of the festival of contemporary photography OFF Bratislava, is titled “The House of Plausible, Probable, Possible and Preferable Futures”. It explores visions of the third millennium and explores the idea that art has held the power to foretell the future since time immemorial.

From horoscopes to shamanic rituals, humans have always tried to envision what will come. Today, trusting prophecies and predictions has become part of our day to day life. From the weather forecast to the time the satellite navigation says we will reach the destination; everyday lives are built around what once were futuristic fictions. In the last decades the borders between art, science and philosophy have been eroded. In the same way that science is borrowing principles and methods of artistic thinking, vice versa; art is borrowing tools from scientific experimentation. 

Futurology emphasises the creative function of critical thinking. Since the future is not a fixed point, but one based on endless variables, there are a broad range of theories which can help to organise and understand how likely various scenarios may occur. These sequences of events have the potential to unfold in many directions creating a series of hypotheses. 

Julien Pacaud: of gods and men

For example, in one scenario, The House of Plausible, Probable, Possible and Preferable Futures is set in the year 3000, centuries after the world’s information infrastructure was wiped out by a massive geomagnetic storm. Technology and knowledge have been erased and a dark age has reappeared. An alternate version of this story maintains that the world’s information infrastructure was taken over by artificial intelligence. After the robot uprising, computer programs became the dominant life form on Earth.

The festival believes that thanks to technological developments art has the possibility to progress, advance, and evolve within new mediums and platforms. As new formats of expression are allowing humans to manifest themselves in a way that reflects the technological advancements of the era, the vision of a future world is open, multifaceted, and contradictory; bringing countless possibilities for interpretation in artistic storytelling.

Since 2010 OFF Bratislava has offered a platform for fresh talent from the international photography scene. Since its inception, the aim of the event has been to create optimum conditions for the promotion and support of emerging artists working in the field of photography and new media. In its 13-year history, OFF has tackled such subjects and themes as the ideology of dogma, birth, revolution, migration, and the human impact on the ecosystem of our planet.

Nikhil Chopra, Burn - 2023 (Courtesy: the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA)<br />
Nikhil Chopra, Drawing a Line through Landscape - 2017 (Courtesy: the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA - Photo by: Ilan Zarantonello, OKNO Studio)<br />

Words: Fabrizio Mifsud Soler

The House of Plausible, Probable, Possible and Preferable Futures is open at Kunsthalle Bratislava from the 3rd to 17th November 2023.

Images: Isonative courtesy of OffBratislava


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