How can speculative fiction help us imagine a future when living in a time filled with uncertainty, fear and injustice? What do we dream about? How does it sound and how does it smell? What can we touch?
Touching 2022 is a virtual group exhibition where nine artists create worlds and imagine alternative realities situated in the near future. Each artist has been invited to create an interactive three-dimensional space. The spaces are interconnected by portals, and the viewers can navigate through them from a first person perspective.
The past year we have been forced to reorient our relationship to intimacy, communication and globalization. The covid-19 pandemic has situated us in between life and death in a new way, which is affecting everybody differently. It has contributed to a societal shift where the notion of care and collective responsibility has become central; a seemingly conditional and temporary care that is balanced against continued dividends, market economy and individualism. The failures of established power structures are becoming tangible which opens up a space of critique towards the general longing of going “back to normal”. Instead of holding on to pieces of normality in a shattered world, we could try to imagine a world that reinvent itself unbound from current structures.
Things have changed so fast that picturing the future within a month, a week or even just a few hours seems to be an abstract concept. With this in mind, Touching 2022 uses the spirit of science fiction and worldmaking as a tool for approaching the coming times, but instead of imagining a distant future we look at the year 2022. A near future that has the potential to carry societal structures far away from today’s present.
The participating artists address the gradients and the tension of being in between togetherness and isolation, utopia and dystopia, private and public, analogue and digital. In Vessel of Flesh David Tobias Bonde Jensen explores the boundaries of life, “liveness” and the afterlife, capturing a transformation of existence. Lova Ranung considers different ways of portraying nature and explores the relation between power and cuteness in Natural+Cute+Vain. In Niels Munk Plum’s MEADOW the viewer embodies a horse that gallops endlessly, questioning the solidity of language, notions of work and paradise. Luca Sørheim is informed by images self-published by and of men on the internet and a childhood forest in Well, at least you died lifting!”3, proposing an eternal space with existential choices. In Lesia Vasylchenko & Yurii Tymoshenko’s In Search for a Star That Can Bring Them Home the viewer is taken to a vast landscape where a constellation of misleading stars project multiple night skies. Karin Keisu & Josse Thuresson imagine a moment between a world falling apart and a world starting over while a setting sun recites a song in No Promise of Happiness but the Sun is Setting. Magnus Andreas Hagen Olsen touches on the power of togetherness situated in the middle of a massive sports arena surrounded by cheering hooligans in STADIUM.
The compilation of artists presents multiple realities, unbound by physical meeting restrictions and imminent uncertainty. The different voices create a collective touching point and facilitate a space where intimacy and future can be imagined and redefined.
- Karin Keisu, Magnus Andreas Hagen Olsen and Josse Thuresson, curators of Touching 2022
Touching 2022 is generously supported by the Nordic Culture Fund.