As an international collaboration between cultural partners in Liverpool, Aarhus, Berlin, Vienna and Montreal, Human Futures: Shared Memories and Visions seeks to incite a process of re-evaluation in how we conceive our surroundings. Across the host cities, a series of newly commissioned cultural projects will invite citizens to participate in shared encounters; each offering a renewed conception of our environments and confronting the accelerating potential for communication and collaboration. Structured as a series of eight artist residencies, each hosted by a partner organisation, the idea of sharing and of the exchange is central to the project’s philosophy, Canadian and European artists trading-places and opening up new platforms for dialogue on an international scale. In rethinking the connections between cities, artists will respond to their new urban environments and engage with local communities and concerns; each tackling a different model of space and re-imagining its capacity for shared experience. Sharing in; cognitive space, networked space, living space and urban space will all be explored, offering glimpses of impending realities and multiple embodiments of the future community.
With the escalating potentials of technology requiring new considerations of our ability to comprehend and engage with such spaces in our daily lives, this project sets out to forecast and interrogate the future terrains that will shape our experiences. Just as the fundamental 20th Century discourses upon the understanding of space were manifestations of the bourgeoning potentials for new communication and personal locomotion; Human Futures establishes such dialogues as an on-going necessity. In revealing new geographies through the interconnectedness of formerly disparate locations, this project seeks to develop a renewed perspective, a new standpoint from which to regard our environments. It is in such comprehension of the changing ‘shape’ of space that we can affirm our relationship with, and affinity to our surroundings; and recognise the abilities for community building and collective action now being offered to us.
It is the artists’ function to support this recognition, creating dynamic platforms for a shared conception of space; and evaluating the implications that these new ways of thinking have for our view of the world and our position within it. Formats for presenting these artistic outcomes will include a Marketplace in Aarhus, a Projection Parcours in Montreal, an Exposition in Liverpool and a Human Futures Toolkit, which will provide strategies for stimulating creative sharing and collective identities for the future development of our cities. It is technology’s ability to re-contextualise our perceived position within space that demands such a renewed outlook, no longer enforced upon us, the structure of our surroundings is increasingly a consequence of our own design. The understanding of space, both past and present, maps out a path of fluid transition; one that we must retrace and learn from, as it flows into the shifting potentiality of our advancing horizons. Within this, the role of the artist is refocused, yet in a way that is somehow familiar, as the observer of what is and the interrogator of what ought to be; our future is no longer a circumstantial imposition, but a choice.