We cannot perceive the future directly or “remember” it.
—Oesten Dahl “Tense and Aspect Systems”
Tom Leeser’s Future Tense is a curated installation of moving image, spoken word and sound art embedded within the Alabama Contemporary Art Center’s Futures Project.
In grammar, the future tense is used as a reference to time. It is used to describe an experience that hasn’t yet occurred, but is expected, desired or feared to occur. Tense also refers to a mental or nervous condition that is related to tension, a feeling of unease.
Future Tense does not function as a singular reference, instead it is positioned as an assemblage of possible futures culled from past and present media. The curatorial intent is to exhibit work, host workshops and conduct artist talks that can be framed as multiple space-time shifts. These future shifts represent past and present tenses derived from our cultural anxieties, social complexities and political instabilities. The exhibit strives to translate these precarious conditions into a poetics of trepidation.
As part of the project we invited a selection of the participating artists to respond to the question and provocation: “Future-Why?”
The following are their responses.