Common Futures: Work in Progress by Alexander Missen is now on at The Fishing Quarter Gallery.
Missen investigates how imagery both informs and is informed by culture.
In Common Futures, he attempts to depict the visual language of the future, looking at why we deem some designs and imagery to be perennially modern, often regardless of their age or application.
In finding a nominal sense of likeness between things that initially seem unrelated, we are better able to understand what drives our shared culture of referring to something as ‘futuristic’.
A fragile future
Missen believes our relationship with the future is a fragile one.
Its intangibility prohibits us from any definite comprehension and instead is contingent on our own hopes, fears and belief systems.
What this leaves space for is a sense of wonder and the ability to consider what might be.
Often these ideas centre around the short to medium term directions our societies seem likely to take, be that dystopian or utopian.
Themes of exploring the universe, technological advancement and a better future for man are regularly turned in on themselves to instead become cautionary tales.
This imagining has led to the development of recurrent ideas about what the future will be like.
Missen explores the aesthetic likenesses between objects and imagery that may categorically seem unrelated, but share common traits.
He has photographed and sourced imagery from institutions with an innate relationship with cutting-edge technology and design attributes frequently described as ‘futuristic’.
So far this includes: European Space Agency facilities at German Aerospace, Die Neue Sammlung Design Museum at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich and archive imagery from NASA in the 1950 and 1960s.
Everyday images employing the same visual language are included alongside these ‘futuristic’ advancements.
Missen creates a situation in which it is impossible to know what is truly modern, what has historically been considered modern and what is fabricated.
The viewer is invited to consider how these images seem related and what cultural forces drive these perceived commonalities.
To coincide with the private view on Thursday, April 19, an artist talk was hosted by Miniclick.
Common Futures: Work in Progress by Alexander Missen, is open to the public until April 29.
Opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday, midday to 5pm, at the Fishing Quarter Gallery, 32 Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 1NB.
More of Alexander Missen’s work is available to view here.
Spectrum Photographic is sponsoring the exhibition.
Main image: DLR Columbus Sokol © Alexander Missen