C- LAB Forum: A Future Slowly Cancelled 未來緩慢取消
March 17-19, 2023
Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab
As we have just wrapped up the first 2 decades of the 21st Century, our projections of the future are already loaded with references to the past. From the archival turn and reenactments of history in contemporary art, popular film and television works such as Period Dramas and Imperial Palace Dramas, to diverse subcultures related to popular music genres like City Pop, Neo-psychedelia, and Vaporwave—contemporary cultures are getting better and better at novelties made from historical materials. Anachronism becomes the norm.
The Internet serves as an important medium for present-day nostalgia. Within this biggest database in human history, specific historical trends are excavated, archived, genrefied, and amplified in circulation. Conventionally, “nostalgia” is directed towards a reality that has been personally experienced. However, in the post-internet era, we are more likely to be exposed to stylized historical texts nowadays that easily evoke our nostalgia for historical moments we have never lived.
Starting with comebacks made by historical styles in a post-internet era, this forum reflects on the hauntology of contemporary cultural production. The title of the forum is derived from “the slow cancellation of the future,” the phrase coined by Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi and was later used by the late cultural theorist Mark Fisher, underscores the fact that contemporary capitalist society gradually rids people of their imagination of “the grand vision of the future.” The sense of “newness” proposed by modernism in the last century are now replaced by never-ending “upgrades.”
During the slow cancellation of the future, we feel somewhat outdated all the time, while we also get slightly anxious about such obsolescence. If this is what yields a new type of nostalgia, how are our cultural memories remixed, translated, and re-made amidst the shifts? What is the structure(s) of feeling behind it? When past countercultures, too, have become references to specific time periods for nostalgic commodities, how should we ponder the possibilities of defiance? Simultaneous Chinese-English interpretation throughout the forum (3/18–3/19). For more information, please refer to the Event Booklet (release online soon).