How was FuturePerfect born?What is the philosophy of the project?
The name FuturePerfect refers to the
future perfect tense
, and not to a utopian
made better by technology or art.It is an overlapping of future and past,anticipation and retroaction that is bestindicated by the future perfect tense —
what will have been
. The name is a way of complicating the relationship of past,present and future — with no predictableoutcome, and possibility for ambiguity,circularity, and no finality. We wanted toget away from previous ideas about thecoupling of “future” and “technology” asmarkers of the “new”, “better”, and “pre-dictable”. And also to escape the utopianand dystopian polarities that tend tostructure narratives around technology.FuturePerfect abandoned the previousdecade’s concern with defining what wasessential about electronic media. We arenot interested in reinforcing the categoriesvariously termed “electronic arts”, “newmedia”, or “digital culture”. We don’twant to rigidly differentiate “electronic”or “digital” from “analog”, or from bound-ing off practices based on computationfrom those of theater, painting, dance,video, or any other expressive culture. We are interested in all forms of human / machinic intermingling, organic and inor-ganic trespassing—the mixing of humanand non-human systems including bothscreen and non-screen based interfaces. We are invested in a kind of productivemessiness that emerges because artistsand scientists are exploring, thinking,and making across different practices andideas previously unavailable to one anoth-er. FuturePerfect intensifies dialoguesacross media, locating and exploitingantagonisms between platforms, histories,and different aesthetic and socialeconomies—from the web, to the street,park, club, gallery, theater, and operahouse. We offer commissions, production assis-tance, workshops, presentation opportu-nities, and marketing to selected artists,researchers, and scientists invested inthese issues; as well as public dialogueand debate to a growing and increasinglysophisticated audience. The projects weare producing map the ongoing butintensifying interplay between the fieldsof contemporary performance on the onehand, and technologies of mediation, soft-ware, transmission, and simulation on theother—the crossing of live, mediated,recorded, networked, and machinic chan-nels of address.
What is the evolution of FuturePerfect?
FuturePerfect is a start up organization,funded primarily with private monies.The works we produce are often complexand costly to implement, and require dif-ferent kinds of partnerships, resourcesharing, and economic models to sustain. We do not have our own space, but rather,seek out the most appropriate place andcontext for each new project we produce.Sometimes we have to build our ownspaces from scratch. We do not as yethave our own regular festival or perform-ance season, and as needed, bring on con-sultants with the appropriate production,technical, developmental, and communi-ty-building expertise. Currently there aretwo program coordinators helping tomove FuturePerfect into its next growthphase—Lisa Reynolds and Kate Little.In this sense we are nomadic, which alsoenables us to create works and projectsin other cities and geographical locations.Presently, we are in an intensiveexploratory phase, trying out differentmodels of artistic production, collabora-tion, and audience building. We inaugu-rated FuturePerfect in 2009 with
,a three-week sold out installation byAustrian / US artist Kurt Hentschlager andco-produced with 3LD Art & TechnologyCenter in association with PS122.In November we presented the Norwegianartist collective Verdensteatret’s withDance Theater Workshop and PS122,with support from the Royal NorwegianConsulate General in New York. We alsopremiered the Norwegian musical duoNEXT LIFE in bars and clubs throughoutthe city. Featuring the composer and stageartist Hai Nguyen Dinh on guitars, andTormod Christensen on keyboard, NEXTLIFE’s central interest is discovering themusical potential of mixing the alternative
IN NEW YORK
I met Wayne Ashley, the Founding Artistic Director of FuturePerfect, in Montreal, at Elektra Festival, whenhis project was just beginning in New York. FuturePerfectnow is a performance, media, visual art and technologyplatform. They commission, produce, and present new work,offer residencies, talks, education, and opportunitiesfor touring. Interview.
© P H O T O R . R .