making futures from present and past material conditions
Speculation as a device for thinking
It is not surprising that contemporary art sees speculation as a strategy for opening up discussion and dissent and I see one of my own roles as creating spaces for imagining alternative environmental futures — of creating ‘anticipatory archives’ — not already in existence.
The title of .–. / .- / .- (Penguin Anticipatory Archive) (2013) hypothesizes that penguins could communicate in a form of Morse Code. The archive was an assemblage of visual facts and questions bringing together the ‘weird triangle’ of Little Penguins in Sydney Harbour, the WWII Japanese minisub attacks and the geometry of wave formations to unsettle assumptions and causal relations.
The two-channel video installation Anticipatory terrain (capricious dreams) (2017) was about visions and nightmares and the night landscape as a place of uncertainty and potential. It contained footage of Perth’s urban wetlands, plotting the shadowy traces of Western Grey Kangaroos, which may or may not inhabit various locations. Again, uncertainty about truth and orientation is at the core of unsettling the present. What happens when an archive is for the future and not just the past? What happens if a landscape speaks forwards and backwards and for more than human others?
Fairley, G. (2013, 14 October 2013). Artful penguins in Sydney Harbour: Penguins, ultrasound drawings, Bengal tigers, and freeform video are the subject of an exhibition at Cross Art Projects ArtsHub [external link]
Phillips, P. (2015). Artistic Practices and Ecoaesthetics in Post-sustainable Worlds. In C. Crouch, N. Kaye, & J. Crouch (Eds.), An introduction to sustainability and aesthetics: The arts and design for the environment (pp. 55-68). Boca Raton, Florida: Brown Walker Press.