Cover image of the review

Future Eaters

19 Aug 2017
22 Jul - 23 Sep 2017

Asking the viewer to consider sculptural responses to our technological present, Future Eaters presents a series of works that are diverse, divergent, and in many ways reductive of the ways technology is involved in our lives. Technology here—like sculpture—is equated with hardware. Of course this is a ‘common sense’ understanding of the technological, but as a premise for a show it sits uneasily with the other, more interesting question: what will the future think when it looks back at 2017?

Seeming to counter the claim made in last year’s Sydney Biennale (whose title “The Future is Already Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed” was a quote from science fiction writer William Gibson), Future Eaters suggests another kind of ethics, one that goes beyond the technological manifold of globalisation toward a radical openness to the future as other. The Future Eaters is the title of a 1994 book by Australian author Tim Flannery, suggesting that current environmental management practices are unsustainable and arguing that we need to re-think our relationship to our resources. Will a future that glances back toward our excesses judge ours as a decadent, narcissistic society that did too little to preserve the planet and guarantee the human future? There is a profound sense of self-doubt, self-critique and introspection in this thought that is not matched by a lot of the work in the show, and as a result the curatorial bow seems a little overdrawn. However, if this exhibition is simply about the future of sculpture and the exhibition, then it becomes more coherent at the expense of its more profound implications.

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