montreal

Kevin Schmidt, A Sign in the Northwest Passage, 2010, digital C-print, 64 1/8 × 49". From La Biennale de Montréal.

La Biennale de Montréal

La Biennale de Montréal

Kevin Schmidt, A Sign in the Northwest Passage, 2010, digital C-print, 64 1/8 × 49". From La Biennale de Montréal.

The week before “L’avenir (looking forward),” the latest edition of the Biennale de Montréal, opened, a group of experts met at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt to debate whether the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch marked by humanity’s profound impact on the earth, has indeed begun. While the thematic overlap between these two convocations can be chalked up to coincidence, the growing precarity of life has become difficult to deny, and the need to envision alternative possibilities is becoming at once more urgent and perhaps less feasible, as both the Montréal Biennale and the Berlin meeting suggested. As environmental, economic, technological, and geopolitical crises abound—with human actions their direct cause—the future itself seems imperiled.

Borrowed from Jacques Derrida, the avenir of the biennial’s title refers to a conception of the future as speculative

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