Berlin

Pash Buzari

COMA - Centre for Opinions in Music and Art

Pash Buzari’s exhibition “Plan of the Planet” begins with an observation: “The future is passé.” Utopian visions, especially in politics, are also obsolete, although Buzari only alludes to their extinction with a proposal in the press release: “What about reinventing alternativity?” Through photographs and installations, the artist has considered the alternatives in science-fiction films and architecture. Both pursuits involve projecting the present into the future, albeit on vastly different scales. Where the sci-fi scriptwriter may imagine the world in a few centuries or more, the architect imagines a plot of land in a few years or less.

Buzari’s combination of the two practices may be a call to reinvent the concept of the future in a way that would fuse the long-term global vision of the sci-fi scenario with the short-term detail of the architectural blueprint. Never before did the planet need such a plan for the future—given the pace of global warming and its destructive effects on both man-made and natural environments. Daily reports on the weather and its impact sound like science fiction: In the weeks before the exhibition opened, flocks of buzzards landed in Germany for the first time in recorded history; but their land of emergency exile, burnt by a summer heat wave, will ultimately fail them. The future of every existing species—including humans—seems bound to become passé.

Both remembering and reinventing the future, Buzari sets up a strange experience of temporality. Like a broken time machine, the exhibition confuses the past and the future, the ghostly and the inspirational, what has been tried and what might be tried again. The architectural installations—CO-OP, 2006, an empty wooden house frame inspired by Paul Thek’s collaborations with the Artist’s Co-op in the late ’60s, and geosphere fragment, 2006, a moonlike metal sliver of a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome, suspended by three small cranes—are clearly incomplete. Yet it’s hard to say whether these constructions are still being built, were abandoned, or are replicas from a movie set and therefore never designed to last in the first place. Azteca, 2005, a color photograph of the Mexico City stadium that hosted the 1968 Summer Olympics and the World Cup in 1970 and 1986, is another lost time traveler. Named after an extinct civilization, the stadium is a feat of modern engineering for the masses that ended up staging new legends, including Diego Armando Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal. Looking at the few spectators lingering in Azteca, it was hard not to think of the hordes of soccer fans who, like the buzzards, had migrated en masse to Germany to see the last World Cup. Yet the students extinguished in the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre also came to mind.

Since Buzari’s works embrace many histories, it is not clear who/what will reinvent alternativity and save the future: spectators or actors, perpetrators or victims, urban planners or civilians, a good soccer season or a summer with enough rainfall. As if to underscore the absence of a heroic protagonist, Stand, 2006, a wooden platform for one, has no ladder. In the search for a new concept of the future, only one thing seems clear: Bring along a watch, but use it as a compass.

Jennifer Allen