“Of course, it would be absurd to want to return to the past in order to reconstruct former ways of living. After the data-processing and robotics revolutions, the rapid development of genetic engineering and the globalization of markets, neither human labour nor the natural habitat will ever be what they once were, even just a few decades ago...
Now more than ever, nature cannot be separated from culture; in order to comprehend the interactions between ecosystems, the mechanosphere and the social and individual Universes of reference, we must learn to think ‘transversally’...”
- Felix Guattari, The Three Ecologies
Pieces of plastic found washed up on a beach near a Mediterranean medieval coastal fort are treated like extraordinary specimens, perched in vitrines like extinct butterflies. “Antique” display cases recall the superseded sciences of 19th c. anthropological classifications. Modern presentations create contrast but in deep time these two types of vitrine were created in the same instant. The way the fragments are assembled in relation to each other certainly means something for our future archaeologists. They may resemble the fossilized spine of a nonexistent creature, or a map of a second Pangaea. Cycles of history and repetition create patterns which seem to provide meaning, but there is no certainty as time distorts the evidence.
In this respect I feel inspired by many artists of virtual and immersive environments who explore anticipation with multiple possible interpretations, through retro-futuristic methods, such Hito Steyerl (Factory of the Sun) or Mel Chin with its multimedia installation, transcending space and history, in the high place of consumption that is Times Square in New York (Wake / Unmoored). Future scientists will probably draw conclusions as false as ours from our own history, imagining us, for example, as resilient to societal divisions, or self-immunized against the rise of artificial intelligence.