Ask a person what the world will look like in 50 years, and you’ll likely get a glimpse into their psyche. Scientists imagine future technologies, pessimists imagine nothing, and artists--well, they’re the wildcard. Paris’s La Gaite Lyrique event space recently invited 10 of them to imagine the world in 2062, resulting in a diverse group show of light shows, infographics, video installations, and an on-site micro-farm.
French collective Pleix contributed eight pieces to the show. Pleix is known for their commercial motion graphics work--this amazing Citroen spot, for example--and their contributions to 2062 are embedded with commentary on advertising, leisure, and consumerism. The pieces range from videos and sculpture, to “kinetic paintings,” created with thousands of hours of CCTV footage of people using their mobile devices.
On the gallery floor, IKEA furniture and children’s toys are wrapped in fabric lit only by overhead screens, illustrating ”human solitude” despite constant connectivity. An oddly seductive video called HFCS, which stands for High Fructose Corn Syrup, shows synthetic-looking processed foods, dripping with radioactive goo. “It’s a digital representation of what we eat, serving to denounce the profit motive behind the food industry,” the group explains. Hybrid, a series of animal/human hybrid portraits, is funny and ominous: “What if, these weakened, exploited, murdered beings were one day to take revenge?” asks Pleix. The most compelling videos are the “kinetic paintings” that patch together existing footage to create surreal visions of what leisure in 2062 might look like: a constant stream of bumper-to-bumper traffic on a serene mountain pass, or double-sided beach, where visitors crowd around a sliver of ocean.
Pleix calls the dense, somewhat inexplicable collection of pieces “an experiment in prophecy,” quoting H.G. Wells. And paradoxically, as frequent contributors to advertising culture, they are oddly complicit in the future they portray. “This over-consumption has an impact on daily life, food, and leisure,” the group adds, “in an increasingly dehumanised society in which men and women, though ever more numerous, remain hopelessly alone.”