Whenever time and technology are brought together there’s often a dystopian vision behind the marriage. Yet it’s more telling to think of technology as a neutral space of speculation: a way of imagining potential futures, enlightening as well as alarming. Future Eaters at Monash University Museum of Art considers not only what it means to make sculpture in our current digital age, but how sculpture connects to technology and the future.
Featuring both Australian and international artists, Future Eaters presents a range of sculptural works that evoke our current digital landscapes and virtual realities.
As curator Charlotte Day explains, the aim of the show is “to explore the myriad ways that sculptural form and language is shaped by the industrial and digital possibilities of the present moment.”
Evoking the idea that new periods of history and technology are entwined with innovations and changes in artistic practice, the show features many sculptures only made possible because of technological advances. Exploring the rise of global citizens, as well as cybernetic bodies, the exhibition features new commissions by Benjamin Armstrong, Damiano Bertoli, Marley Dawson, Lewis Fidock and Joshua Petherick, and Mira Gojak. Not to mention the work of Hany Armanious, Nina Cannell, Aleksandra Domanović, Alex Dordoy, Yngve Holen, Alex Israel, Magali Reus, Anna Uddenberg, Guan Xiao and Anicka Yi.
Yet Future Eaters doesn’t simply present sculpture as an object of contemporary art. Instead the exhibition has been designed to conjure an archaeological site, where sculptures are transformed from works in a gallery to relics from the past. “We most often think of the museum as a space of preservation and exhibition of the past, or platform for new work, and our audience to it as our contemporaries,” explains Day. “I wanted to play with the timescale of the museum and push the gallery space into the future, to imagine the viewer of a future era speculating on these sculptural artefacts just as an archaeologist of our own period might speculate on the residue of earlier times.”
By conflating multiple time periods, audiences are prompted to inhabit the position of a future viewer, looking at our present moment as already passed. Both humourous and complicated, Future Eaters isn’t merely an investigation into contemporary sculpture and technology, but how we conceive time, history and progress.
Monash University Museum of Art
22 July – 23 September