For the past months, we have witnessed the present making a clown out of itself—between impossible political candidates and leaders, the rise of a global right, climate-change deniers, and a worldwide anti-intellectual sentiment, it is hard to take the present seriously, and we have caught ourselves double-checking to make sure that we are not reading satire news, only to realize that, sadly, the information that makes us cringe is coming from sources as reputable as The New York Times.
The present is being dismal, so instead of keeping a temporality where the present and the past influence the future, we want to switch things around and have the future influence the present. Maybe that way things shape up a bit. With this intention in mind, the 9th Futurological Congress will gather in Warsaw this coming September 24, to write the first chapter of a possible common future.
It is hard work to think about the future! One must resist the temptation of making grandiose blanket statements that sum up the totality of the future in a couple of sentences. Also, one must not be a colonizer. Much too often—because we have run out of planetary space, and outer space is still somewhat inhospitable and unaffordable—the colonization of time seems like a viable alternative. But we don’t want to do that. We also refuse to fall prey to dystopia. Dystopian futures are the easiest ones to imagine, because they require nothing of us, other than passive resignation, “yes, the world is going to hell in a hand basket.”
The 9th Futurological Congress will convene for the first time of many, to try to imagine a future that is not singular—better say, to try to imagine a multiplicity of futures, that are interwoven, animal, polysemic, astronomical, indigenous, aquatic, post-planetary. And also to try and fail at imagining the futures that we are not meant to imagine yet.
In this first chapter, introduced by Julieta Aranda, Mareike Dittmer and Ijon Tichy, five futurologists will discuss some urgent topics. Natasha Ginwala will talk about the future of observatories. Antonia Majaca will suggest a possible future of the unconscious, by way of considering current developments in the marriage of pharmacology and genomic data management. Anda Rottenberg will analyse the challenges of the present and the role of artists in shaping our thoughts about the future; Rory Rowanwill talk about asteroid mining and extra-planetary activities, and Marcus Steinweg will discuss the future of love.
Julieta Aranda is one of the chairmen of the 9th Futurological Congress. She is also an artist and editor of e-flux journal.
Mareike Dittmer is one of the chairmen of the 9th Futurological Congress. She is also an associate publisher of frieze magazine, and part of the editorial team of mono.kultur magazine.
Natasha Ginwala is a curator, researcher, and writer. She is curator of Contour Biennale 8 and curatorial advisor for documenta 14 (2017).
Antonia Majaca is an art historian, writer and curator based in Berlin.
Anda Rottenberg is a curator, art historian and critic, educated at the University of Warsaw. She is currently acting as a freelance art writer and curator and the author of the personal weekly radio broadcast Andymateria as of 2012.
Rory Rowan is a Lecturer in Political Geography at the University of Zurich's Department of Geography, where his research focuses on Earth system governance and the political and philosophical dimensions of the Anthropocene.
Marcus Steinweg lives and works in Berlin as a philosopher. He teaches at UdK (University of the Arts) Berlin.
We will share the proceedings of this meeting in the website of the 9th Futurological Congress, but if you find yourself in Warsaw, please attend. You can register at: firstname.lastname@example.org