We can't go back, but we don't want to. Nor can we go on like this much longer. What will emerge from such a transitional phase, when the civic body is so lacking in health (physical, moral, political and economic)?
The Renaissance was not an end in itself, but a bridge between two paradigms (feudalism and modernity). It was a cultural movement that diverted history by rediscovering lost pasts. Today, we do not need newness to cut short capitalist realism, to restore a degraded nature, to achieve greater equality. We have everything necessary for change. We only need the will.
The collective trauma of the pandemic has become an excuse for global capital to accelerate the total commodification of everyday life. Everything is for sale. There is more merchandise than love, more sponsored content than truth. No society in human history has demanded so many people be such active participants in producing the contemporary. No contemporary has ever been so aggressively monetised.
As a coping mechanism, many amongst us have decided to check out from reality altogether; preferring to inhabit tailor-made fantasies and simulations. But only children believe that closing their eyes renders them invisible to monsters. When the monsters are real, closing our eyes rather increases the danger.
Inside Real Review 13
Who owns the past? We interview columnist ROBIN GIVHAN on pluralist history. Artist GERHARD RICHTER reproduces a reproduction of an overpainted photograph. Author PHILIPPA SNOW reviews leather jackets. Balenciaga CCO MARTINA TIEFENTHALER and JACK SELF discuss fashion's cyclical relationship with the past, while philosopher CHRISTOPHER SCHABERG reviews airline travel chaos. Director DARCY THOMAS reviews climate reparations and the history of slavery. SOPHIA ALAMI reviews conscious parties and LEON BATCHELOR reviews the Carboniferous Period.
Historian MINA POLO was born in 2001 and reviews the 20th century. Designer MARTIN SIGLER reviews Black Being, HEIDEGGER and NEGRITUDE; Artist JORDAN/MARTIN HELL reviews the blasphemy of asking. JACK SELF reviews deferred fulfilment and the housing crisis, while PATRICK MCGRAW and LIAM DENHAMER review a two-room apartment. HALIMA ALI reviews domestic (non)functionalism. EMILY SANDSTROM reviews MODEM's vision of the smart city. DIANE POLHEMUS reviews Trussonomics. TANYA ANAND reviews keywords and generative art; CHRISTINE SMITH reviews the dreams of spiders.
MINING THE PAST
Robin Givhan, Gerhard Richter, Philippa Snow, Jordan/Martin Hell, Martina Tiefenthaler, Christopher Schaberg, Darcy Thomas, Sophia Alami, Leon Batchelor, Mina Polo, Patrick McGraw, Halima Ali, Liam Denhamer, Emily Sandstrom, Martin Sigler, Jack Self, Diane Polhemus, Tanya Anand, Christine Smith, Noé Cotter, Modem, Jonathan Monk
All times appear equally and at once. The past no longer recedes in an orderly way, but threatens to resurface at any moment in the guise of the contemporary. Nostalgia cycles are getting faster. Old material artefacts return as integral components of current trends. The future is no longer desirable or unforeseen. Simultaneously, the chaos of our epoch masks a vast project of algorithmic derisking to make tomorrow identical to today: who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.