Prospective: noun, concerning the future evolution of society, permitting elements of forecasting.
In 1967, François Bayle and Pierre Henry created ‘Prospective 21e Siècle’, a collection devoted to musique concrète and electroacoustic, electronic, and avant-garde composers for the French label Philips. Fifty-five years later, we invited Vica Pacheco and Miguel Rózpide to reflect together on a possible 22nd century prospective.
At the end of the sixties, the future was often fantasised about. Future-oriented thinking was the norm and 'art music' was reaching a new audience who were already aware of avant-garde sounds and improvisation by artists like Soft Machine and Frank Zappa.
Between 1967 and 1977, the collection was characterised by the idea of an art resolutely centred on anticipation and modernity with a desire to understand and question the future. As part of an experimental process, we asked visual artist Miguel Rózpide to think of a unique image that would be published as posters. During these 3 evenings of performance, the audience is invited to take the print home with them as a mark of a moment in time.
Miguel Rózpide's visual approach lies in a place where the difference between environment and subject is defined. His images pay particular attention to what happens there, they enrich the ordinary and undoubtedly evoke an atmosphere, whether warm or sterile. There are places, objects, people or animals, and colours that envelop them. The palette is restricted, sometimes even sombre, and the images are realistic whilst flirting with abstraction. In Rózpide's work —as in the colour field painting movement— colour is freed from its figurative functions and invites itself into the frame as a subject.
Here, Miguel Rózpide’s image is quite different, at least in its initial appearance. The subject is an unplugged incubator, placed in a neutral grey space, under the sharp lights of a photography studio.
This is an industrially-formatted image; it's timeless but dated, inhabiting a formal dimension where the object is the photograph. It evokes a certain idea of a consumer society where "beauty is born from the balance between form and function" (Formes Utiles - UAM).
Is this "neutral" proposed by Rózpide evoking a kind of "not yet", a thought at the edge of language, a superposition of matching tones?
What does this incubator, which protects the baby from the cold because it is not yet mature enough to regulate its temperature, say to us? What does this tone-on-tone tell us?
No matter what Vica Pacheco's sources of inspiration and concerns are, she definitely has a taste for hybridization. When producing sound installations, she likes to confront the most heterogeneous elements existing between field recordings and manipulated voices. She creates an atmosphere, a place transformed, a science fiction soundtrack and, of course, prospective research. The recognizable sounds speak to us as if they were the present being transformed. The story is this: we do not come from nothing, we remember. In an almost cinematographic narration we make a journey, we extrapolate, we move forward. It’s a journey to the beyond, between utopia, space-opera, and an alternate history.
For three days at CCINQ Vica Pacheco will experiment with detailed recordings in and around the incubator object-subject of the poster. Pacheco will freely imagine a world set apart by means of sound design, and will present the results of her research each evening. The three performances will bring conceptualism, confusion and recognition, and transforming art through the links between artists into question. The audience knows that it's not about the real world, it's about research that could lead us to an escape, to a better world.
Finally, viewers will be able to take the physical production home with them, allowing its reactivation and reconfiguration outside of CCINQ. They will also leave with an immaterial element, an echo of the world transformed into what it is not (or not yet), a distancing one can appreciate.
Written by Patrick Carpentier
Edition of 300, Off-set Print
70 x 80 cm
Installation views of Prospective pour le 22e Siècle (duo show) w/ Vica Pacheco at CCINQ, Brussels, Belgium