My former colleague Jess interrupted my day with a link to the marvelous, weird International Necronautical Society's "Declaration on the Notion of 'The Future'." Just imagine a collective biography of Gropius, Proust, Marinetti and Turing, run through the Fuck Yeah Menswear literary filter, and you'd be there. Or check it out for yourself.
The International Necronautical Society now entering its eleventh year, the First Committee has recently come under pressure to release, in keeping with the INS’s avant-garde demeanor, some kind of “statement” both assessing the organization’s achievements and prognosticating for its future. Both these impulses we reject.
As for the first: What would it mean to speak “of” the INS’s first ten years? To speak above them, overdub?…
[T]he concepts, presumptions, and ideologies embedded in this overstuffed and lazy meme—“The Future”—are in need of an urgent and vigorous demolition.
Oddly, I kind of agree with that last bit. The rest of it probably is best read by randomly selecting a passage, then choosing something else at random, William Burroughs-like (these are cut and pasted from different parts of the essay, not one long passage):
Contemporary intellectual follies, part two: neuroscience. Or rather, the glib wholesale transferral of the logic of neuroscience to the realm of culture.
[W]e advance not onto new ground but over old ground in new ways: more consciously, with deeper, more nuanced understanding.
[O]ur current age—call it “modernity,” “late capitalism,” or the seventh phase of pre-thetan consciousness, according to your disposition—has to be understood through the lens of catastrophe.
[T]he INS rejects the idea of the future, which is always the ultimate trump card of dominant socioeconomic narratives of progress. As our Chief Philosopher Simon Critchley has recently argued, the neoliberal versions of capitalism and democracy present themselves as an inevitability, a destiny to whom the future belongs. We resist this ideology of the future, in the name of the sheer radical potentiality of the past, and of the way the past can shape the creative impulses and imaginative landscape of the present. The future of thinking is its past, a thinking which turns its back on the future.
And—here’s the genius of Crash—out of this landscape rises the event: the überaccident that fails to take place, that occurs precisely because it doesn’t happen. Vaughan’s ultimate goal is to die in a head-on collision with Elizabeth Taylor at the precise moment of orgasm. He spends months planning it, down to the last, minutest detail (working out at what time she’ll be passing such and such a spot, the approach angle his car must take toward hers, and so on). But, disastrously, he gets it wrong and misses her car by inches; subsequently, while Taylor stands alone, frozen in ambulance light, touching her gloved hand to her throat, he drowns in his own blood. Vaughan, who has been in thousands of car crashes, has met with his first accident.
When, in 2006, a range of writers, scientists, artists, architects, and misc. were asked to contribute a sentence each to Hans Ulrich Obrist’s reader on the Future, J. G… Ballard confined himself to four words: "The Future is boring."
[T]his Declaration… should… be repeated, modified, distorted, and disseminated as the reader sees fit.