Museum of Times Past

The exhibition ‘Looking back at the Anthropocene’  at the Museum of Times Past was conceived, developed and produced in the course of the Summer Semester 2019, with the students of the Design Foundation Class. It was an experiment in creating a collective narrative through the combination of individual research and design projects. Inspired by the Reverse Archaeology workshop format by Stuart Candy, the idea was to make a museum’s show, in a 100 years from now. In the show, objects made by each one of the students were displayed; they were fictional artefacts found from the past, although the students were imagining the future when they were designing them. The making of consists of a complex methodology, where a number of tools were employed throughout the semester, starting with Instant Archetypes – a new tarot for the new Normal by London-based Superflux studio, a futures toolkit to activate creative and critical thinking through live storytelling, problem-solving and insight exploration. Then followed the workshop Assembly – Reassembly with designer, researcher and curator Laura Bernhard and the workshop Narrative Mapping with Dr. Sumugan Sivanesan, anti-disciplinary artist and academic.

The outcome was an exhibition which was activated with a LARP (Live Action Role Play) performance during the Rundgang in front of the jury of professors. The professors assumed the role of the museum’s visitors, following a tour by Fritz, the guide. The tour was the performance’s spine. Each student had an expert’s role, presenting each artefact.

What was personally surprising was that although we discussed in the class about going beyond the binary of a good or a bad future, most of the projects came out quite dystopian. This made me think that we have to find ways to decolonise fiction from this kind of imagination.

Valentina Karga, July 2019