For modern man, experiencing certain scenarios often turns out to be an effective way of opening up new perspectives on ourselves and the world around us. Bearing this in mind, the exhibition There Will Come Soft Rains(1) tests a particular experiential context by initiating a fictitious journey through time. To this end, a group of international artists remove themselves to the year 2318, where they find themselves in a new kind of world, one without the human species.
Taking this leap in time as their starting point, the artists Marcela Armas, Carolina Caycedo, Julian Charrière, Andreas Greiner & Tyler Friedman, Jeronimo Voss and Pinar Yoldas investigate the characteristics of a non-human world through a range of newly conceived installations. While the exhibition display, with its staging of thematic spaces, roughly takes its cue from the typological presentation form used in museums of natural history, the exhibition actually inverts the was such museums look back on historical epochs to provide instead a speculative view of the future. The exhibition also includes a separate projection room featuring filmic works by Hicham Berrada, Galina Leonova, Uriel Orlow, Mario Pfeifer and Superflex. The program of films looks, in an associative way, at the dystopic potential of the present day inherent in current developments in the fields of ecology, society and politics. The presented films explore possible reasons behind a future disappearance of humankind.
In the exhibition, basic questions about the way we treat our environment, the relationship between art and science as well as the late-capitalist man’s self-image form recurring themes of the different artists’ investigations. At the same time, by speculatively and poetically taking existing developments to a next level, the various works also look at the deeper implications that connect the future with the present. They thus conjecture about both the positive and the negative associations of a possible depopulated world.
Against the backdrop of the exhibition, the current speculation about hybrids and virtual extensions can be understand as a continuation of the anthropocentrism of the past. With the scenario of a non-human world There Will Come Soft Rains aims to look beyond this attitude. At the same time the concept thus becomes an open reflection on forms of coexistence far removed from human dominance. But what kind of alternative thinking about a future world can be initiated by the negation of the human perspective? And are new structures and symbioses imaginable in this world, the kind of positive links that serve to widen the current individual’s horizons?
1)The title There Will Come Soft Rains refers to the same-named poem by Sara Teasdale which was first published in the Harper’s Magazine in July 1918.