Vanguard sculpture by baptiste tavernier

Resuscitating Lost Futures: Can Art Escape the Age of Endless Pastiche?

Hauntology, Lost Futures and Cultural Stagnation

Hauntology, a term coined by Jacques Derrida, blends the concept of haunting with ontology, the philosophical study of being. This notion suggests that our present is always intertwined with the specters of the past and the unfulfilled promises of the future.

Mark Fisher expanded on this concept to critique contemporary culture's inability to generate new visions for the future, leading to what he describes as "lost futures"—the cancellation of future possibilities, where society is unable to conceive of new, imaginative directions, culminating in cultural stagnation.

The Art World's Struggle Against Nostalgia

This phenomenon is palpably evident in the art world, where visions of progress and innovation rarely seem to come to fruition. Certainly, there are artists striving to delve deeper, inventing new techniques, languages, and conversations, yet they often find themselves overshadowed by a deluge of nostalgia-fueled art that dominates not only social media but also art fairs. For every forward-thinking, risk-taking artist, how many are there creating pastiches of Hokusai’s Great Wave, Warhol’s tomato cans, or Star Wars-themed “artworks”? Nostalgia and pastiches sell well, but this cultural phenomenon represents more than just a longing for the past; it's a mourning for the futures that will never be—a lamentation for squandered potentialities.

New Mediums, New Futures - Challenging Cultural Stagnation Through Innovation

As an artist devoted to 3D printing and vinyl wrapping, I view these mediums not as tools for parodying an old manga or movie character, but as matrices for forging new artistic expressions with their own grammar and poetic sensibility.

Through my work, I challenge the notion that technological advancement has not been matched by cultural innovation. We can indeed create art that doesn't merely reference the past ad nauseam but actively reimagines and reconstructs the lost futures.

Beyond Nostalgia: A Call to Action

Embracing the challenge of creating new futures requires a conscious effort to move beyond the comfort of nostalgia.

How can technology  be used to foster cultural innovation rather than perpetuate endless series of pastiches?