Critic’s Guide: Antwerp

Ahead of the third Antwerp Art Weekend, a guide to the best shows across the city. By Antony Hudek

‘A Temporary Future Studies’, 2017, installation view, M HKA, Antwerp. Courtesy: M HKA, Antwerp‘A Temporary Future Studies’, 2017, installation view, M HKA, Antwerp. Courtesy: M HKA, Antwerp

A Temporary Futures Institute
M HKA
28 April – 17 September 2017

The Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, M HKA, has just undergone a thorough revamp, with a ground floor interior redesigned by architect Tatsuro Miki and interior designer Axel Vervoordt. New spaces for the permanent collection, an Artists’ Archive Centre and a public reading area make the museum into a much more intimate, cosier, even, place. On the first floor, cosy is probably the last word that comes to mind: in the exhibition ‘A Temporary Futures Institute’, co-curators Anders Kreuger and Maya Van Leemput conjure up a sometimes retro-poetic (Michel Auder, Miriam Bäckström) at other times techno-predictive (Simryn Gill, Mei-Mei Song) overview of what awaits us in an indeterminate future. For the Antwerp Art Weekend, on Saturday 20 May, Kreuger and Van Leemput host a workshop around the theme of ‘diversity’, which promises to make the future feel like a stone’s throw away.

via Critic’s Guide: Antwerp | Frieze

Updated guidelines for contributors

The conference programme included more than 40 items by 65 contributors. Abstracts of all DDT contributions will appear in the printed illustrated conference proceedings. A hybrid between exhibition catalogue and conference proceedings, it will feature all the artists and futurists taking part in A Temporary Futures Institute as well as DDT contributors. It will be made up of essays, papers, reports, short stories, images, scripts and other unique contributions.

In addition, a special issue of the Journal of Futures Studies (JFS) will feature a selection of peer-reviewed articles, illustrated narratives and a ‘digital exhibit’.

Finalised contributions for the proceedings as well as JFS are due by August 30th.

JFS expects articles, essay and reports to show an in-depth understanding of future studies’ dimensions, content, research perspectives and methods.

To stimulate the systematic use and growth of futures literature, one of the criteria for publishing in the journal is indicating how the article relates to others in the futures literature. That is, your paper should refer to material published in this journal and in the other journals in the futures field (including, the Journal of Futures Studies, Futures, Foresight, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, The European Journal of Futures Research, World Future Review, On the Horizon) as well as futures material contained in books, monographs, other field related journals, including visual resources and web resources. Editors strongly advise authors cite at least two or more works in the futures field.

Essays for either JFS or the proceedings| 2000-4000 words in length (including references). Essays are expected to provide original viewpoints and visions, expressed through strong and intelligent prose.

Articles for JFS |  4000-8000 words in length (including references). Articles are expected to make novel contributions to the futures studies field, build on the corpus of futures literature, be evidentially strong and develop clear themes and arguments. Articles are double-blind peer reviewed.

Papers for proceedings | 3000-5000 words in length (including references). Papers are expected to provide a unique contribution to the state-of-te-art on designing and developing futures for transformation. They need to develop a clear argument and a self-aware perspective. Papers a read by DDT reading committee members and edited with the authors.

Shorts for proceedings | 700-1800 words in length (including references). These short narratives provide a unique perspective on applied futures from your DDT presentation. They highlight cases, experiences or ideas in a direct manner. They can be first-person accounts or stories from the futures as well as short reflections or opinion pieces.

Unique contributions for proceedings | Make a proposal we can’t refuse based on your contribution to DDT.

Formatting instructions for JFS.

  • Manuscripts should be double-spaced
  • The cover page should include the title of the manuscript, the name(s) and surname(s) of the authors and the author’s affiliations, e-mail, correspondence and a suggested running head.
  • A footnote on this page should contain acknowledgments and information on grants.
  • The next page should contain an abstract of no more than 100 words and keywords of the article.
  • The following pages of text should be numbered consecutively.
  • More details on the preparation of manuscripts (including referencing) for JFS.

A brief foreword and/or an epilogue is not required, but may be included.

The Journal of Futures Studies encourages authors to use an accessible, clear, plain English style. Our aim is to make the Journal of Futures Studies a readable, lively source of the best of futures thinking and methodologies.

More details on preparing your manuscript for JFS.

The authors of papers published in JFS are entitled to 1 copy of the printed issue in which their articles appear and all DDT contributors receive a printed copy of the proceedings.

A Temporary Futures Institute

In the spring and summer of 2017, M HKA will host an exhibition that intends to be ‘more than an exhibition’. ‘A Temporary Futures Institute’ will attempt to turn the museum into a laboratory or studio, and to bring together two contexts that have certain things in common: art and futures studies (also known as foresight).

The initial impulse of the co-organisers, M HKA’s senior curator Anders Kreuger and Antwerp-based professional futurist Maya Van Leemput, was to compare their two speculative domains. Perhaps they are disciplines, perhaps not. How do art and futures studies relate to knowledge? In art, the concept and practice of knowing is always contested: sometimes under-rated, sometimes over-rated, often in conflict with thinking and feeling. In futures studies, the desired object of knowledge – the various futures that might be – is per definition always absent, because it doesn’t yet exist.

Since we want to challenge the museum presentation format, we thought it would be useful to invite both artists and professional futurists (with specialisations in Alternative Futures, Design Futures, Postnormal Futures and Technology Futures) to contribute to and participate in a common project for a few months. Therefore the title: ‘A Temporary Futures Institute’.

From a curatorial perspective it is interesting to work with futures as an exhibition theme and to consider the futures of exhibition-making itself. From a futurist perspective this is a valuable opportunity to see how artists can create and communicate images of futures and help question the meanings and methods of futures studies.

As a structuring device for the exhibition, we decided to use an approach originating at the Manoa School of Futures Studies at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu where professor em.  James Dator developed an analytical and scenario modelling tool that he calls ‘four futures’.

All contributors in ‘A Temporary Futures Institute’ are asked to address either continuation (or continued growth), collapse (in itself but also as a possible beginning of something new), discipline (whether top-down, as in authoritarian societies, or bottom-up, as in activist movements) and transformation (with special attention to possible future roles of Artificial Intelligence).

The intention is to ensure that each futures scenario is addressed by at least one artist and one non-artist, and to organise the exhibition as discrete units, enveloped by a purpose-built set commissioned from the artist Alexander Lee (1974, French Polynesia).

The other invited artists are: Nina Roos (1956,Finland) and Darius Žiūra (1968, Lithuania) for ‘continuation’; Michel Auder (1944, France/US),  Simryn Gill (1959, Malaysia/Australia)  for ‘collapse’; Miriam Bäckström (1967, Sweden) and Kasper Bosmans (1990, Belgium) for ‘discipline’; Guan Xiao (1983, China) and Jean Katambayi (1974, Democratic Republic of the Congo) for ‘transformation’.

Maya Van Leemput (1969, Belgium) is also contributing to the exhibition, for ‘continuation’. The professional futurists invited are: Mei-Mei Song (1966 Taiwan) for ‘collapse’; Centre for Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies (London/Chicago), consisting of Ziauddin Sardar (1951, Pakistan/UK) and John Sweeney (1977, US) for ‘discipline’; Stuart Candy (1980, Australia/Canada) for ‘transformation’.

The museum’s mediation team has been involved from the beginning in devising the content and form of the project. Our aim is to attract audiences that are different (and hopefully broader) than M HKA’s usual followers. We are hoping to involve a variety of groups and organisations in creating activities inside and during the exhibition, encouraging visitors to come more than once.

The DDT unconference will be held on Friday June 16th and Saturday June 17th inside the exhibition.

‘A Temporary Futures Institute’ will open at the end of April 2017 and run until the end of September. The project is part of the series ‘The Uses of Art’, funded by the European Union through the LInternationale museum confederacy, of which M HKA is a founding member. Other members of the confederacy include MACBA in Barcelona, Moderna Galerija in Ljubljana, Reina Sofía in Madrid, SALT in Istanbul and Ankara and the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven.

Summer of Futures

The European  Summer of Futures connects several futures oriented activities in the summer of 2017 in Europe. For the duration of the ‘A Temporary Futures Institute’ exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Antwerp (from April till September 2017) a team of volunteers and students provide an information, communication and services hub.

The string of futures conferences taking place in Europe in June 2017 provides the backbone of a joined calendar. It begins with the World Futures Studies Federation’s Humankind  2050 June 7–9 in Jondal (Norway) to celebrate 50 years since Mankind 2000 in Oslo of 1967 that lead a.o. to the founding of the WFSF. Next there is the Finland Futures Research Centre’s Futures of a Complex World’June 12–13 in Turku (Finland), celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the FFRC. Then follows ‘Design, Develop, Transform’ in Antwerp and Brussels (Belgium), June 15–17 organised by the knowledge centre Applied Futures Research-Open Time and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Antwerp.

A blog with reports and critical reflection on various Summer of Futures activities will start here soon. For the calendar of dedicated futures events that our volunteers update, refer to the ‘upcoming events’ listing below on this page.

For the conference period and until mid September the SoF team also offers travel and lodging advice. In particular, we assist participants from the global South on their stay in Europe and have volunteer hosts at key locations.

Do you want to participate? Do you want to be a host ? Do you have a futures oriented activity on between May and October 2017? Contact the SoF coordinator Maya Van Leemput via maya@reelfutures.net.

Open Time

The centre of expertise Applied Futures Research – Open Time of the Management, Media and Society department of the Erasmus University College Brussels coordinates the collaboration on DDT. The (un-)conference is the public closing event of our first PWO research cycle (2015–2017).

This cycle is aimed at building and sharing expertise on futures orientations in practice and assessing existing overviews and categorisations of futures theory and research, methods and techniques. Together with organisations from civil society, culture, local authorities and social movements, we apply selected ideas and methods in four case studies. Our goal is to make futures more accessible to a network of students, lectors, practitioners and professionals from the fields of practice of our study programmes. We seek to connect these local actors with an international network of academic and professional futures thinkers and researchers.

Futures theory and research exist in many flavours and are applied in widely varying contexts. In this heterogenous landscape Open Time develops knowledge and insight for applied futures research.

An increasing number of actors in society (public authorities, companies, civic organisations and other groups) is involved in different forms of futures oriented work. National and international think tanks, research centres and institutes, research teams, consultants and individual researchers conduct more or less systematic futures research, applying multiple perspectives and approaches.

Open Time records this evolution and participates in it with its own applied futures research projects. With DDT we want to bring together and share more of the rich variety of futures orientations. In particular we want to learn about co-creative, artistic and transformative futures approaches in the global North and South in profit, non-profit and policy settings.

At DDT our researchers will present their project results, including an online game developed for case study partner Greenpeace.