Future is Not What it Used to be
“Is the merging of man and machine really possible? Or has it already happened? This is a film about 1960s avant-garde music and film, the early history of microcomputers, and the open questions of 21st century science.”
Mika Taanila’s lyrical portrait of Finnish designer, philosopher, and artist Erkki Kurenniemi, the pioneering developer of digital and interactive instruments in the 1960s-70s such as the legendary DIMI synthesizer, who went on to design robotic systems and industrial automation. Using archival footage and materials from the early years of electronic art and excerpts of Kurenniemi’s own experimental films, Taanila’s essay film follows his obsessive recording of every aspect of his daily life as a digital diary in order to create a reconstruction of his life, or a “virtual persona,” by July 2048.
Future is Not What it Used to Be is part of Filmmaker Focus: Mika Taanila, a retrospective overview of the documentary films of Mika Taanila, who has created acclaimed works of film, video, photography, installation, and sound over the past 20 years. Reflecting on utopian technological innovators across the fields of engineering, architecture, and music, Taanila’s films explore unsung genius and delve into the gap between technological progress and society’s looming destruction to uncover the successes and failures of a century of progress. Filmmaker Focus: Mika Taanila is devoted to the presentation of a series of works by a single filmmaker whose considerable body of work experiments with the documentary form to investigate the implications of technological development and innovation.
Erika Vogt's short film Darker Imposter will be screened prior to Future is Not What it Used to Be as part of the Frieze Film series.
Mika Taanila lives and works in Helsinki. For more than 20 years, he has created works in film, video, photography, sound, and installation that investigate various technological developments and the innovators behind them. Solo and two-person exhibitions include Mika Taanila: The Most Electrified Town in Finland, KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (fall 2013); On The Spot #4, Badischer-Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany (2008); Zone d'éclipse totale, Dazibao, Centre de photographies actuelles, Montréal, Canada (2007); Une histoire saccadée (with Erkki Kurenniemi), Institut Finlandais, Paris (2006); Hotel Futuro, Spacex Gallery, Exeter, UK (2005); and Mika Taanila: Human Engineering at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich (2005). Taanila’s films and installations have been featured at more than 200 international film festivals and exhibitions, including dOCUMENTA, Kassel, Germany (2012) and Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2013).