“On Futures” is a series highlighting how designers, artists, curators, and writers envision alternative cultural and architectural temporalities that map out an expansive range of possible futures.
Sesshu Foster and Arturo Ernesto Romo are authors of ELADATL: A History of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines. A surrealist history that flows backwards and forwards in time, their novel tells a utopian story about airships and revolution—including how groups like the East LA Balloon Club and the Bessie Coleman Aero Club were hard at work to revolutionize travel, with an aim to literally lift oppressed people out of racism and poverty. The text, a series overlapping narratives and imagined artifacts, grew out of a long collaboration between Foster and Romo and is accompanied by drawings, collages, and photographs.
“On Futures” is a series highlighting how designers, artists, curators, and writers envision alternative cultural and architectural temporalities that map out an expansive range of possible futures. Emmet Byrne, Design Director and Associate Curator of Design, Walker Art Center and Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, Neville Bryan Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design, are two of the team curators behind the exhibition Designs for Different Futures. Organized by the Walker Art Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago, Designs for Different Futures brings together some 80 dynamic works that address the challenges and opportunities that humans may encounter in the years, decades, and centuries ahead. Among the questions raised by the designers in the show: What role can technology play in augmenting or replacing a broad range of human activities? How can we negotiate privacy in a world in which the sharing and use of personal information has blurred traditional boundaries? How might we use design to help heal or transform ourselves, bodily and psychologically? Ultimately, the exhibition asks: Who shapes future?
Ann Lui and Craig Reschke founded Chicago-based Future Firm in 2015. The practice combines their expertise—Lui co-curated the US Pavilion for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennial and Reschke is trained as a landscape architect—in order to envision what is on the cultural horizon and to deal directly with critical issues facing neighborhoods and communities in Chicago. Their work spans diverse scales: from events to residential and commercial buildings to urban and territorial speculations, and helps develop unorthodox approaches towards community, belonging, and public engagement in contexts where multiple stakeholders come to the table. Future Firm also currently operates The Night Gallery, a nocturnal exhibition space on Chicago’s South side, which features video and film works by artists and architects from sunset to sunrise. Their work has been exhibited at Storefront for Art & Architecture, New Museum’s Ideas City, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation and published in The Architect’s Newspaper, Chicago Architect, Mas Context and Newcity. They are a 2020-2021 recipient of Exhibit Columbus’ J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize.
“On Futures” is a series highlighting how designers, artists, curators, and writers envision alternative cultural and architectural temporalities that map out an expansive range of possible futures. The work of journalist and novelist Annalee Newitz is about what is real and what is fictional, what is past, present, and future. Questions of temporality, urbanism, and identity percolate through Newitz’s science fiction and nonfiction. They are the author of the forthcoming book about archaeology Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age, and the novels The Future of Another Timeline, and Autonomous, which won the Lambda Literary Award. As a science journalist, they are a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and have a monthly column in New Scientist. They have published in The Washington Post, Slate, Popular Science, Ars Technica, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among others. They are also the co-host of the Hugo Award-winning podcast Our Opinions Are Correct. Previously, they were the founder of io9, and served as the editor-in-chief of Gizmodo.
Born in El Salvador, Los Angeles-based artist Beatriz Cortez crafts sculptures—often large, metal, and architectural—that evoke Latinx and Indigenous pasts and presents. Her practice explores simultaneity, life in different temporalities and different versions of modernity, particularly in relation to memory and loss in the aftermath of war and the experience of migration, and in relation to imagining possible futures. Widely exhibited, Cortez’s has had solo exhibitions at the Craft Contemporary Museum and Clockshop in Los Angeles, and has been included in group shows at the Hammer Museum, the Whitney, and Ballroom Marfa, among others. In 2019 she received the inaugural Frieze LIFEWTR Sculpture Prize and in September 2020, she installed her monumental piece Glacial Erratic in New York City’s Rockefeller Center as part of Frieze Sculpture 2020. In addition to her art practice, she is a cultural and literary critic and professor of Central American Studies at California State University, Northridge. Cortez is the author of Aesthetics of Cynicism: Central American Post War Fiction and the author of numerous essays on postwar Central American literature and culture.
“On Futures” is a series highlighting how designers, artists, curators, and writers envision alternative cultural and architectural temporalities that map out an expansive range of possible futures. Brooklyn-based visual artist Olalekan Jeyifous creates work that critiques the present by looking at the past and the future. Trained in architecture at Cornell University, he blends techniques and skills from the field with speculation drawn from a range of science fiction imaginaries from Afrofuturism to Solarpunk—a genre that envisions possible ecological futures under climate crisis. Best-known for his digital illustrations in the series, Shantytown Megastructures, an imagined Lagos, Nigeria in which contemporary ad hoc construction practices are extrapolated into fantastical vertical settlements, his practice crosses between disciplines and mediums, taking shape as drawings, films, and installations. Jeyifous’ work has been shown at the Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Guggenheim Bilbao. His large-scale public artworks were shown at Coachella in 2017 and recently along the waterfront in Alexandria, Virginia. He is one of the participants in the 2020-21 cycle of Exhibit Columbus and the upcoming MoMA exhibition, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America.