The Texture of Impossibility
A review of the zine LOST FUTURES
‘Almost-worlds begging to be made real.’ — kieran cutting
‘My temporal record has jumped, from chapter to chapter, and there is no evidence in the day to day that this strange episode ever happened at all.’ — christian kitson
I first encountered LOST FURUTRES when its twitter page followed mine, and quickly thereafter purchased this, the first volume of this zine—largely on the back of its name and attendant concept. Edited by kieran cutting and christian kitson, it unites verse, biographical and essay prose as well as haunting imagery to evoke eerie temporalities. Much like the films of David Lynch and Béla Tarr, or the theoretical work of Mark Fisher.
The preface is in the form of a poem that ends with the question, ‘what is the texture of impossibility?’ In the introduction, a more concrete mission statement is provided: ‘LOST FUTURES is about reclaiming those visions of a world that was never born. The weekends you didn’t spend with the person you wanted to. The time you were late for the bus and got soaking wet and entered Starbucks at the same time as the friend you haven’t seen for years.’ Thereon, we soon launch into a prose piece by daniel bristow-bailey accounting his own birth, but which also often revises and amends the events being described and delves into urban legend.
The quality of this first autobiographical essay is one of disorientation. It includes a description of the time between ‘the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and[…] the collapse of the World Trade Centre ten years later’ as ‘a lacuna in history.’ A period when the twentieth century had ended, but the twenty-first had not yet began. I was born in the mid-eighties and can immediately connect to this notion; a period in time defined by Francis Fukuyama as an end-of-history.
There is much about the ideas articulated by Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek with which I disagree, but I can agree with his oft repeated claim that in something approximating the period this essay (and much of the zine) aptly evokes, Fukuyama’s belief in an end-of-history was close to hegemonic. (Even if few other than Fukuyama would declare as much.) Time seemed to stop, suspended by a bubble economy and the sense that great historical conflicts were over. Into that lacuna of history plunged a great many futures.
As well as those mentioned above, there are pieces (as often collages as words) by alyssa, ana mijatovic, duunya, julia slupska, and jon rainford in volume one. These are can be wistful, shocking, strange; they all consistently feel out of time but, counterintuitively, nostalgic. LOST FUTURES is tackling a highly contemporary kind of spatiotemporal alterity; whereas once we had a context that called us to dream of that nowhere called utopia, and then later of a different nowhere called dystopia, this zine evokes alternatives stripped of context.
The framing of a lost future has the void-like quality of the museum or gallery, which puts their objects and art into such an alien space that the objects lose their associative meaning and thereby become stranger. LOST FUTURES courts that type of strangeness as its own aesthetic, and one that perfectly captures a time when we struggle to dream of either utopias or dystopias that feel of our moment, that connect. The recycled, meta utopias and dystopias is what remains, and only by confronting these (as this volume does) can we perhaps begin to see our way to find new futures.
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