If the supercontext of Antiquity has always been accessed and reinvented via key supertypes (the ruin, the copy, the collection), then its counter-context, the Future, has always been prescribed via supertypes of technology: data processing, environmental control, transport, telecommunication, representation.
After five years of working on extreme cultural contexts, we have found technology-as-context to be the most perversely irrational and uncannily fertile of all. As the artifice of the instrumentalist rationale crashes down around our ears, technology (itself fundamentally instrumental) is here ripe for hypercontextual invention: in-built obsolesence, undersirable trait transfer, false autonomy and erroneous calibration are operative strategies for critically reoccupying the space of technology itself.
No less nostalgic than Antiquity, the (ancient) idea of the Future is a minefield of postmodern traps, here outwitted THROUGH ACTIVE INSTRUMENTALISATION OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH. Though selected technologies were studied in their nineteenth-century infancy, their foibles and the precarious futures they promised are still with us today. Thus: the perpetual despair of Theo’s Sisyphean landscape is driven by the discovery that early voting machines were designed by gambling engineers – explaining much about recent elections.
Friction in the calculations of early computers is rewritten by Fusako as the friction between calculated and counted, surveyed and surveyor in the ominous melting of the Mer de Glace. An architecture of suspicion cloaks Jenny’s Grand Tour arterial roads for 60kph zootropic kerb crawling. The massive error margin in early telegraph calibration led Sayaka to design an itinerary for getting lost, in more senses than one, in Palermo’s quanats. On discovering that Austin’s moon towers were effectively sited by the world’s first serial killers (only in Texas), Hye Ju has prepared a case for the prosecution for murder of the balconies, dumpsters and traffic lights of Palermo. Identifying the paradoxical similarities between the Ferris Wheel and the panorama machine, and in homage to Byron’s Venetian plunge, Angelo proposes a swim through the Grand Canal: a panorama machine for the flâneur aquatic.