group show 51
Future Isms

Future Isms: The Expiring Present

A few years ago, one of my former colleagues came into work excited about how he had recently handed a picture book to his four-year-old daughter. Instead of turning the pages, she tapped and swiped at them as if she was holding an iPad or iPhone. We laughed nervously as the future predicted in the pop-culture of our childhood had become a present reality.

Today, the television-phone on The Jetsons (and even me referencing the TV show) seems outdated, Marty McFly’s hover board may soon be as well, and all the while, a Biff-like Monopoly man emerges as president-elect. Eighties pop-culture references aside, art and literature have a legacy of positing sci-fi fantasies of the world to come, which often contain parallels to the uncertainties of our current social and political climate. Humble's latest exhibition: Future Isms approaches these present day futurisms with a similarly uncertain gaze. Some photographers offer optimistic, utopian angles, others look at the present-future with a dystopian pessimism, and many offer a blurry hybrid. 

In his series Testament, Kris Graves makes portraits of Black American men and women, but gives them full control over their likeness by providing the agency to control the lighting aspects of their portraits, often with blue and magenta hues. The series gives hope to a reclaimed representation by popular media in spite of historical bias. Mark Dorf and Anastasia Samoylova create fantastical images that look at visual media’s role in shaping how we experience the world. Samoylova creates layered sculptures from stock images of landscapes and outer-space tropes, while Dorf looks specifically at the role that inter-connectedness plays on our personal lives. Taking a more traditional photographic approach, Niv Rozenberg makes straightforward, typological photographs of rapidly transforming, and constant fluctuation of urban developments in Tel Aviv. Having moved to the United States from Israel several years ago, he views this territory with a conflicted gaze: half native/ half outsider to a landscape that gradually becomes unfamiliar. Flipping the timeline, Jade Doskow looks to how the utopian future was perceived in the past. Her series Lost Utopias, captures the surreal, dreamlike structures of former World’s Fair sites as they exist today, often abandoned, or repurposed into the contemporary world.

Like many of our previous exhibitions, Future Isms hinges on the ambiguity of its curation of nearly 80 images from photographers around the world. The future is murky, it's unsettling, and our attempts to represent it, continue to shift shape and get closer to expiration.