A super 8 film found in a flea market in Mexico City holds the remembrance of news to come. It sums up the main events of the year: civil wars tearing countries apart, storms and floods causing mayhem, workers striking to demand better work conditions, progress in infrastructure and communications, countries invading other countries, powerful leaders negotiating the future of countless others. This could easily be today’s news, but it was 1937. Knowing what followed the turmoil of this prewar time, this old news sparked a deep feeling of despair and an ominous sense of deja vu.
The newsreel ends with a message of hope: ‘In the hands of these five men rests the destiny of the world: Mikado, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. May they be wise, tolerant and sane – so that Peace on Earth and Good-Will toward men will reign for years to come’. We all know how that story ended. But what if eighty years from now someone found documentation of our news? Would they also feel a cold chill down their spine?
Future Past News invites you to look at these images of the past through an Augmented Reality App that switches their content to present news. With our AR app you can travel back and forward through time, juxtaposing the news from 1937 and our current state of affairs, experiencing how history repeats itself.
Working with found footage allow us to look dialectically. We are not simply shown a vision of the world but rather the images of it. Augmented reality adds another layer of information, allowing us to question the meaning of that first image, that first layer. This enables a change of discourse to question history and unfold its methods of representation.
We are living in a tumultuous time, with striking parallels to 1937 – eerily similar to what we are watching unfold before our eyes during this election season. The stakes in the fast-approaching presidential elections could not be higher. We hope that Future Past News helps people remember our past mistakes and their disastrous consequences,and raise awareness of the potentially dire future we are facing now; a future that motivates them to take action, and to cast votes. History repeats itself if we allow it. You think we would know better, but we tend to forget.
About the artists
Karolina Ziulkoski is new media artist from Porto Alegre, Brazil. She uses technological applications to create immersive experiences that allow for a deeper participatory exchange between stories and audiences.
Andrea Wolf is an interdisciplinary artist interested in the relationship between personal memory and cultural practices of remembering. She creates multimedia installations that explore how technology, media and memory affect and transform each other, creating models of remembrance that are culturally shaped.