For several centuries now, the fight for the future has been one of the major fronts in the wars of ideology. After the much-vaunted ‘end of history’, however, humanity suddenly found itself trapped in the present. The question of the imagination has become one of the central political problems of the day, and the possibility of thinking about the future is a now vital ethical challenge. How can we learn to dream again? Do we have the capacity to imagine something radically different? Where can we find the tools to build new utopias?
All of these questions are left open, but the creators of the films featured in this programme believe it is important to restate them. Some, like the art collective Metahaven — the creators of Eurasia (Questions on Happiness) — prefer to approach them from a more critical perspective. Isiah Medina, the director of the experimental film Inventing the Future, and Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, the authors behind the eponymous philosophical manifesto from which we have borrowed the title for this programme, are true to the May 1968 slogan of “Be realistic, demand the impossible!” Cyberfeminist and posthumanist thinker Donna Haraway and Fabrizio Terranova, the creator of the film she appears in, see no future while humanity remains atop its throne, ruling over animate and inanimate nature. The African American director Khalik Allah adopts the path of spiritual knowledge as the only possible weapon of liberation. The thing that unites them is their view of the future as a construct, or even a construction kit, the parts of which lie in our hands.