Time, Forward! The exhibition

11 May–20 Oct 2019
V–A–C Zattere, Venice

A new project by Omar Kholeif, Maria Kramar and V–A–C questions the notion and function of time and is timed to coincide with the 58th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art.

The title is also an ironic take on the revolutionary 20th century Soviet slogan. Over the Soviet era, Time, Forward! has become a celebrated novel, a film and a tune that was very popular for decades and is still highly recognisable in Russia today. While its original use proposed an optimistic and progressive view of acceleration, the exhibition takes a more critical position towards the celebration of velocity and compression of time in the digital age.

Time, Forward! presents new commissions from emerging and acclaimed international artists. At the very beginning of the project, the artists all gathered in Venice to discuss their ideas about time, as well as about the speed and breadth of knowledge turnover in today’s world, responding to each other's attitudes and ideas. When our lives are deluged with images, tweets, real and fake information, can we embrace tools or positions of resistance that can help us improve our living conditions?

The exhibition occupies the entire space of V–A–C Zattere and features new works exploring the theme from different perspectives. Walid Raad’s Foreword to the Arabic Edition I and II offers an insight into the thinking around museums of the future. To Live And Think Like Pigs, a new single channel video by James Richards shifts between the erotic, the scientific and the mechanic, to visualise our relationships with technology. Inside Aggregate States of Matters, a science fiction film by Rosa Barba, searches for ways in which landscape and memory connect. Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige meditate on the state of the Earth through their multi-layered project Unconformities. Alexandra Sukhareva, with the participation of poet Eugenia Suslova, studies glass and its stages of decay with the work Ligeia, while Daria Irincheeva’s work Anthropocene Markers investigates human impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. Kirill Savchenkov considers the psychological effects that today’s media can have on us with his sound and sculptural installation Then a Kiss is not a Kiss. The multimedia installation Beyond the Wave Epoch by Haroon Mirza speculates on a future where science has accelerated beyond our wildest imaginations. Trevor Paglen exposes and questions machine learning methods and materials with the work From Apple to Kleptomaniac, and Adam Linder presents She Clockwork, a psycho-physical experience through performance and objects investigating a language-based structure of time. Valentin Fetisov’s interactive installation Call to Action compares clickbait and digital marketing techniques to more traditional psychological theories. Where Dogs Run collective take us on an architectural exploration into algorithmic cityscapes with the installation Zero City. Alexandra Domanovic’s Untitled (AD 2019) speculates on ideas of time travel and immortality, and Christopher Kulendran Thomas in collaboration with curator Annika Kuhlmann present Being Human, a multimedia installation exploring the future of human rights, the links between creativity, sovereignty and technology, in a world where machine-learning could influence new forms of governance.

Time, Forward! is complemented by an extensive public programme with the participation of Emilio Fantin, Silvia Federici, Adelita Husni-Bey, M¥SS KETA, Diego Marcon, Paolo Patelli, Alessandra Pomarico / Free Home University, Michele Rizzo, Davide Sisto, Strasse, Ines Testoni, The Feminist De-Colonial Collective + The Provisory Anti Fascist Committee of Venice, Barbara Toma and OS.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication in the form of a propositional reader (available at the opening). As well as essays by Eugenia Suslova, Omar Kholeif, Yoel Regev, Ben Eastham, Orit Gat, Paul Soulellis, Mathew Dryhurst, Francis Tseng, and Alexei Penzin, each artist occupies a number of pages where they have been invited to provide sketches of the proposed new work or images of previous or contextualizing works or references.

Participating artists

Rosa Barba, Aleksandra Domanović, Valentin Fetisov, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Daria Irincheeva, Alexandra Sukhareva, Christopher Kulendran Thomas in collaboration with Annika Kuhlmann, Adam Linder, Haroon Mirza, Trevor Paglen, Walid Raad, James Richards, Kirill Savchenkov, Where Dogs Run.