Critical thinking at the frontier of Art and Foresight
If Art has always been a source of inspiration to Foresight, its critical frontier and contribution to Future research is still under-discussed – as opposed to Design (Candy) or Science-Fiction (Zaidi). In this communication, we will show via a rich selection of references, how contemporary art practices and critical thinking can open futures. If futurism is the explicit intention of few artistic movements in the 20th and 21st century, Art is not dedicated to the future per se. Art operates as a non-conventional anthropological time tracker and time traveler, alongside mankind’s past, present and future. Its multicultural and non-instrumental character creates space to re-define and decolonize visions of the past, historical “truths” or past futures, provides a multi-perspective lens on the present, and lays the ground for alternative insights on the future. Beyond their visual or affective dimensions (generally considered in foresight), Art productions can be read as weak-signals revealing societal transformations, imaginaries and trends in all domains. Since the 90’s, certain artists, curators and critics have seen Art as a critical laboratory, questioning related value-systems and philosophical frames, the very principle of interpretation and speculation, and the porous border between reality and fiction. Exploring the depth of the aesthetic experience via Art supports the investigation of the many facets of the future, that other ambiguous fiction. Art thus complements the more performative and use-centric prism of Design on the future. Then Art experimentation and communities can also prototype futures, incubate societal, technological or urban transformations, and shape cultural trends via their live and virtual ecosystems of influence. Finally, more recent artistic research projects create innovative methods and trans-disciplinary and speculative rationales, which open new entries Futures Literacy and Foresight knowledge at large.