Para-Real: The Future is Present- Research Lab Sandberg Institute (28 Feb h 17.45)

The late 20th Century has seen the advent of machines that have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between the natural and artificial, body and mind, self-developing and externally designed, and many other distinctions that used to apply to organisms and machines.

The boundaries of the real and the artificial have blended into a murky grey pool of indistiction. Where once speculative fiction seemed like a fantastical space beyond the reach of reality, today we see the unvailing of a mere optical illusion.

This year we would like to use speculative fiction as a tool to understand and reconstruct social processes and relationships in contemporary life. If sci-fi is a reflection of the things to come- how can we use this to find alternatives to the circumstances of the present?

Venus in Scorpio

Venus in Scorpio- Amelia Clark Productions

Somebody once told me that there’s only 8 different kinds of people in the world. 8 moulds out of which each person that inhabits the world is cut out of. When I look around I see heterogeneity but if I look deeper it feels like everybody is in a heightened state of selfawareness. If everybody’s constructing themselves then they’re simultaneously turning into flattened images of themselves, walking and talking but inside them is a quiet numbness, because they aren’t actually human at all.

This film takes place in the past, present and future simultaneously. In the past a girl and boy explore their relationship, in the present the girl explores her relationship to the past, and in the future people describe what relationships mean to them.

Warning: All characters in this film are cardboard cut-outs pretending to be be human. Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely co-incidental.

A Foot in the Fence- Luc Windaus

This film is a montage of documentaries about vegetable production in the early 20th century superimposed with clips of the sci-fi film Space Firebird. In these documentaries, greenhouses are introduced as futuristic architecture and deep freezers are a thing of marvel. In Space Firebird, a select few have control over humanity, and monopolised the food industry.

By collaging imageries that depict topologies of both the past and the future or at least the future as we imagine it, the viewer is brought to a placelessness that best describes the present.

I found pills and ate them- Benedikt Wöppel

This short film shows a selection of works from the video series I Found Pills And Ate Them, a project by the designer Benedikt Wöppel. In this series, different narratives of YouTube videos (e.g. vlogs, tutorials, unboxing, commercials, etc.) are deconstructed and retold in a bizarre and radicalized way. Here image and sound are not based on existing footage, but is entirely staged. All stories, images, symbols, characters and products exist – ‘para-real’ – in a fictional present.


“A foot in the fence” – textile installation by Luc Windaus.

A friend of mine quoted a physician who visited the class he was teaching, at his primary school: “the universe is falling rather than expanding”. The consequence of such a shift of perspective leads to the conclusion that a falling universe has no centre. This in turn stands in high contrast to the idea of an expanding universe, which started at one point and is continuously expanding by producing great amounts of energy. Living in a falling universe demands reconsideration of effort. It refuses an attempt to master energy  and force it into certain rationally profound directions, and rather calls for a decentralised way of making something by creating a space where energy can just happen or into which it can just fall.


Sandberg contribution is curated by Judith Leysner of the Sandberg Instituut.


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