Future Remains

Of Time Folds, Ruins and Trash


Lecture and Seminar

The lifecycle of objects involves transition from being a commodity to becoming trash (Julian Stallabrass). This process of loss of use value, is essentially a liberation of objects from their identity. At this moment objects are transformed into stubborn matter that stares back at us, telling us that we a guilty of consuming too much, and too fast. Is there anything valuable to trash? We will explore the possible afterlives of trash  and the long-lasting fascination of artists with obsolete objects and sites. After some time, these material residues can become a historical objects, indexical fragments of the past. Artists have a long existing fascination with ruins - from the  Romantic fragment to the figure of the outmoded, which for the Surrealists had a revolutionary and creative promise. Robert Smithson’s text is an account of a journey to a terrain of decayed monuments. He called them “ruins in reverse” because they are situated in a strange fold in time, between being built and falling in decay, resonating both with an unknowable future to come and a immemorial past. Ruins are in a process of constant change, of entropy. Andreas Huyssen argues that ruins function as screens on which modernity projects asynchronous temporalities and it obsession with the passing of time.

Julian Stallabrass, “Trash” In The Object Reader, eds. Fiona Candlin and Rainford Guins (London: Routledge, 2009), pp.406-425

Andreas Huyssen, “Authentic Ruins” In: Ruins, ed. Brian Dillon (Whitechapel Gallery and the MIT Press, 2011), pp. 52-55

Robert Smithson, “A Tour of the Monuments of the Passaic, New Jersey”Artforum (December 1967), pp. 52-56