In 2015, Xpose Art Collective launched a crowdfunding campaign to publish an editorial project featuring the work of more than 240 international artists, curators, and theoreticians. Although a daring initiative, the campaign only received 2% support of its overall goal on Indiegogo. The editorial content had the seeds of an outstanding publication, so in 2022, we decided to pick up the project and revive it with a new formula. We expand on the original idea of blending perspectives on art, technology, science, cultural studies, politics, and environmental matters towards a more practical focus—the present future of how we understand humanity and subjectivity amidst current sociocultural, technological, and climate transformations.
The idea of a “critical kit” that stimulates “reflection on a systemic change in mentalities” was welcome in 2015. In 2023, this looks more like an urgency. Now more than ever, we need cross-sectorial and trans-disciplinary approaches from diverse cultural contexts to understand how to balance our impact on nature, counter undergoing social mutations, and use technology towards more responsible sociocultural and environmental goals. We refine the idea of a critical publication that looks beyond artistic intersections to integrate socially engaging perspectives and address a transformation in cultural understanding, using art as a vehicle to inspire new imagologies, praxeologies, and visual cultures.
At a time of increasing demand for sustainable policies and practices, ecosystems decline, and scarcity on multiple levels, our conceptions of humanity and subjectivity deserve renewed attention. We must ask ourselves questions such as—How can we understand our intimate and emotional relations to the objects we physically engage with and our environs? How does the human mind create alternative realities, and how does that help to generate optimistic life scenarios for our current conditions? How does identity shift when everything can be artificially generated and regenerated? What are the relations today between our identities and the environments? What does it mean to be human in a technologically enhanced world that nevertheless neglects its life-supporting environs? How do we define what is ‘normal’ for most humans when technologies such as genetic engineering, stem cell cloning, transgenesis, biotechnology, or nanomedicine have accelerated to a point where they increase human performance beyond what is considered ‘normal’ for most of us? What does subjectivity mean at a time when AI, robotics, brain-computer integration, and bionics are prevalent, yet we find it hard to cope with social differences? How can humanity develop beyond its historical state of existence and deterministic conditions?
We expand some of the discussions conceived for the original book project. But rather than focusing on definitive artistic perspectives, we now seek to supplement the contents with overviews from other disciplines. We add more than 40 discussions conducted for this new book iteration with researchers and specialists across the spectrum—from speculative designers and technologists to scientists, biologists, ecologists, and cultural anthropologists who analyze the artworks and their implications in stimulating conversations. Some of the previous discussions are updated to reflect the new direction of the book and provide additional insights—including conversations on hacktivism, net art, and networked cultures (with Josephine Bosma and Tatiana Bazzichelli); urban digital art and criticality in the media city (with Tanya Toft); the intersections between art, technology, and architecture (with Maaike Lauwaert); the politics of surveillance and international security (with David Barnard-Wills); the intersections between art, law, and science (with Daniela Silvestrin); culture, place, and memory (with Norie Neumark); anthropology and the tactical use of post-digital technologies (with Mitra Azar); or the exchanges with The Institute of Critical Zoologists, Ruben Pater, Jennifer Hall, or Manfred Bohm.
We revisit and refine the contribution of more than 220 international artists, including David Altmejd, Allison Kudla, Diana Thater, Joyce Kozloff, Mike Pelletier, Dominik Lejman, Leila Alaoui, Yael Kanarek, Zeitguised, Mark Dorf, Brigitte Kowanz, Herman Kolgen and Dominique Skoltz, Victoria Vesna, Brandon Ballengée, David Maisel, Daniel Canogar, Ahmed Mater, Anne de Boer, Keita Miyazaki, Sama Alshaibi, Yann Mingard, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Ivonne Thein, Susan Silas, Gregory Bennett, Macoto Murayama, Maija Tammi, Katie Torn, Sophie Kahn, and many others.
A new version of Revolving Futures is currently in development and will be published in 2024. Sample designs of work in progress © Sabin Borș, 2014—2022 / Stranger Projects OÜ, 2022-2023.