24 January – 21 March 2004
Curators: Rita McBride, Glen Rubsamen, Rutger Wolfson
“_By monitoring feedback from short-wave radio signals sent into outer space in the early sixties of the 20th century, we learned that De Vleeshal, in the Dutch town of Middelburg, will become the most important contemporary art centre of the North Atlantic population cluster mass at the end of 23rd century. The first Triennial of Middelburg, called Futureways and organized in 2304, will be looked upon as seminal._”
Science Fiction is a genre. It is not a pigeonhole, but rather a context in which to make artworks. It is an invitation to form which quickly becomes a tradition: a developing complex of themes, attitudes and formal strategies that collectively constitute a set of expectations. Conceiving a genre as a set of expectations, rather then as a set of qualities inherent to the artwork, helps us to formulate an organic idea of the workings of the art context and its constant micro-evolutions.
Most popular genres are formulaic; Science Fiction is not. The idea of the future defies formularisation. The idea of the future is the mechanism with which we have been told to think about the world. The idea of Modernism is an explicit example of this fundamental process: the future as metaphor is the definition of Modernism. Science Fiction, like Modernism, can be understood as an attempt to restore human meaning to time, to assert that progress is real and that time’s purpose is indeed the glorifi-cation of our ideas and creations. We create fictions of endings to give meaning to time.
For 'Futureways: The Middelburg Triennial 2304' the following artists did exactly this: Nick Crowe; Alexej Koschkarow, Dirk van Lieshout; Jen Liu; MP & MP Rosado; David Schafer; Maki Umehara; Joao Vilhena and Virginie Yassef.