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Stop Press is ISBN Magazine’s guide to happenings in Hong Kong. From art to auctions and from food to fashion, to entertainment, cinema, sport, wine and design, scroll through the best of the city's dynamic cultural offerings. And if your event merits mention in our little book of lifestyle chic, write to us at stoppress@isbn-magazine.com

Future Perfect

Science fiction has been around for longer than many might think. In fact, gazing into the future and imagining mankind's potential has been with us since the dawn of civilization. Parts of the Bible have such elements - the prophet Ezekiel's 'vision' is thought to be a UFO sighting, as does the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh (2000 BC), reckoned by many to be the first reference to sci-fi in humanity. Greek playwright Aristophanes had voyagers flying to other worlds in The Birds and The Clouds, as did Ovid's Metamorphoses. The Indian Hindu epic Ramayana (5th century) - one thousand years before Leonardo Da Vinci created robots in 1495 - has flying machines that travel into space and destroy galactic cities using advanced weapons, and the old English poem Beowulf (9th century) and German poem Nibelungenlied (1230) all have futuristic, though often fantastical rather than science fictional elements. Sightings of strange objects such as flying saucers may even predate modern man. Carvings on rocks of the granite mountains of Hunan Province, China, reckoned to be 47,000 years old, around the time of Neanderthal man, show cylindrical objects resembling spacecraft.

Structured around the themes of retrofuturism, steampunk and archeomodernism – a concept developed by the academic, critic and curator Arnauld Pierre - the exhibition FUTURE PERFECT strives to create a dialogue between past cultural output that imagined the future – our postmodern era – with work from contemporary artists, which in both form and substance refer to the past by revisiting and reviving certain visions of the future or of modernity, generated between the last third of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. We feel the strong influence on and of cinema, and superhero comic forms on this journey. We also feel the impact of scientific and technological development. 


There's some interesting discoveries too. Hugh Ferriss, a trained US architect who never built a single structure but influenced generations of his peers. He was a delineator - creating a perspective drawing of a building - whose work was frequently used for advertising purposes. He was the architectural equivalent of fashion's Rene Gruau. (See Ferriss's The Metropolis of Tomorrow, sketches of tall buildings and skyscrapers to get a flavor of his work). 


The transporting works on display evoke divided feelings: first, the triumph of science fiction - or its popularization of science - as a genre on culture for 150 years and its ability to foretell events which came to pass. Second, whither science fiction today? So techno, bio, nano and digitally driven, it has become almost indistinguishable from the world it attempts to signify; bionics, gene therapy, asteroid mining, bio-terrorism, nano-medicine, NASA space suits for Mars, robotics, 'designer babies', 'mind uploading' and 3D printing of satellites. We already live in futopia, a cyberlyptic, robopolitan neuro-now. Science fiction was meant to be the contemplation of the 'What if', yet humanity's progress and expectation has surpassed it. 'What if' has become 'When'. Technology will make transhumans, or posthumans of us all and the long dreamed of 'future perfect' might be one in which, ironically, humanity transcends itself. Old-school science fiction has become new-school artifactual, and it's a tantalising and troublesome vision to contemplate. Here's hoping the artwork and its impact on 21st century culture continues to be as exhilarating as this collection. 

FUTURE PERFECT curated by Jean-Francois Sanz. agnès b.’s LIBRAIRIE GALERIE. G/F, 118 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong. Until July 5. 11:00am - 7:30pm daily (closed on Sundays and public holidays) Tel: 2869 5505. Free Admission.

IMAGES: (Top)  Ray Caesar, Metatron, 2012. Digital Ultrachrome on paper. 8/10, signed. 183x122cm. 

(Below): Warped, Mr TIB: New Order, 2011. Digital print © Warped Prod. 35x50cm


 



Admin

Future Perfect

Science fiction has been around for longer than many might think. In fact, gazing into the future and imagining mankind's potential has been with us since the dawn of civilization. Parts of the Bible have such elements - the prophet Ezekiel's 'vision' is thought to be a UFO sighting, as does the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh (2000 BC), reckoned by many to be the first reference to sci-fi in humanity. Greek playwright Aristophanes had voyagers flying to other worlds in The Birds and The Clouds, as did Ovid's Metamorphoses. The Indian Hindu epic Ramayana (5th century) - one thousand years before Leonardo Da Vinci created robots in 1495 - has flying machines that travel into space and destroy galactic cities using advanced weapons, and the old English poem Beowulf (9th century) and German poem Nibelungenlied (1230) all have futuristic, though often fantastical rather than science fictional elements. Sightings of strange objects such as flying saucers may even predate modern man. Carvings on rocks of the granite mountains of Hunan Province, China, reckoned to be 47,000 years old, around the time of Neanderthal man, show cylindrical objects resembling spacecraft.

Structured around the themes of retrofuturism, steampunk and archeomodernism – a concept developed by the academic, critic and curator Arnauld Pierre - the exhibition FUTURE PERFECT strives to create a dialogue between past cultural output that imagined the future – our postmodern era – with work from contemporary artists, which in both form and substance refer to the past by revisiting and reviving certain visions of the future or of modernity, generated between the last third of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. We feel the strong influence on and of cinema, and superhero comic forms on this journey. We also feel the impact of scientific and technological development. 


There's some interesting discoveries too. Hugh Ferriss, a trained US architect who never built a single structure but influenced generations of his peers. He was a delineator - creating a perspective drawing of a building - whose work was frequently used for advertising purposes. He was the architectural equivalent of fashion's Rene Gruau. (See Ferriss's The Metropolis of Tomorrow, sketches of tall buildings and skyscrapers to get a flavor of his work). 


The transporting works on display evoke divided feelings: first, the triumph of science fiction - or its popularization of science - as a genre on culture for 150 years and its ability to foretell events which came to pass. Second, whither science fiction today? So techno, bio, nano and digitally driven, it has become almost indistinguishable from the world it attempts to signify; bionics, gene therapy, asteroid mining, bio-terrorism, nano-medicine, NASA space suits for Mars, robotics, 'designer babies', 'mind uploading' and 3D printing of satellites. We already live in futopia, a cyberlyptic, robopolitan neuro-now. Science fiction was meant to be the contemplation of the 'What if', yet humanity's progress and expectation has surpassed it. 'What if' has become 'When'. Technology will make transhumans, or posthumans of us all and the long dreamed of 'future perfect' might be one in which, ironically, humanity transcends itself. Old-school science fiction has become new-school artifactual, and it's a tantalising and troublesome vision to contemplate. Here's hoping the artwork and its impact on 21st century culture continues to be as exhilarating as this collection. 

FUTURE PERFECT curated by Jean-Francois Sanz. agnès b.’s LIBRAIRIE GALERIE. G/F, 118 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong. Until July 5. 11:00am - 7:30pm daily (closed on Sundays and public holidays) Tel: 2869 5505. Free Admission.

IMAGES: (Top)  Ray Caesar, Metatron, 2012. Digital Ultrachrome on paper. 8/10, signed. 183x122cm. 

(Below): Warped, Mr TIB: New Order, 2011. Digital print © Warped Prod. 35x50cm


 



Admin