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'Future Tense' by Sterling Crispin at False Flag, New York

Crispin runs up against the edge of humanity – or at least humanity as we presently perceive it. His creations mine the artifacts and reconfigured detritus of larger technological systems. Some already exist, while others are likely to exist in the near future: emotional robotics, computational engineering, behemoth venture-capital firms​, and server farms.

Future Tense considers humanity's collective, unclear conclusion, portraying an apocalypse that never seems to arrive. We have birthed both technological miracles and existential threats: alongside the Green Revolution and the Information Age have come climate change and runaway inequality. Crispin’s work embodies this paradox of technological advancement – which simultaneously enables both improvement and destruction. 

Encompassing a remarkable aesthetic and technical range, the exhibition co-opts the aesthetics of Silicon Valley: overwhelming infographics, branded identities, slick logos. Crispin undermines and explodes this visual language with a transhumanist mysticism drawn from global cultural reference points. The clock is ticking down. Metaphors of time and progress recur throughout: from 3D-printed candelabras to a wristwatch that only tells us not to panic. (Always relevant.) A series of modified fire hydrants and safety labels augur an unresolved future that is simultaneously utopian and dystopian: Boundless Joy, Endless Pain, Hungry Ghosts. 

Far from hopeless, these works are ecstatic. Or perhaps they’re in a place beyond hope, inhabiting a state of only speed and collision as humanity either dies off or transcends itself. If we are to endure, we need more than just technology: our survival demands a new vocabulary, one towards which Crispin moves. 

25.1.20 — 11.5.20

False Flag

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