Emese Benczùr

Emese Benczùr, Thinking About The Future, 2010. Photograph by Thierry Bal

Emese Benczùr, Thinking About The Future, 2010. Photograph by Thierry Bal

Emese Benczùr (b.1969, Budapest, Hungary) first expressed her concern for the future, as a person and artist, in 1997 when she repeatedly embroidered the sentence ‘I think about the future’ along strips of fabric into which the phrase ‘day by day’ had been previously woven. At the beginning of the process the artist had set for herself an ideal lifespan of one hundred years: the task of the project was to embroider by hand the same sentence as many times as there were days still to live in her ‘planned’ life.

Whereas the sentence ‘day by day’ is mechanically woven into the fabric strips, the sentence that expresses purposive thinking about the future i instead hand-stitched. Throughout this action, the artist consumes the present time in thinking about her future. Metaphorically speaking, while time is a ‘given’, the way we use the given time depends on our free will and conscious decisions. The mechanical repetition of time passing (conventionally expressed as a linear measure) is questioned by Benczùr: she undermines the notion of the linear development of time by continuously interjecting her projection of the future into daily experience.

Similarly, for the Touched, the artist invited the viewer to ‘think about the future ’. The project was inspired by the shell of a disused cinema, formerly known as The Futurist. The medium of cinema was initially associated intrinsically with the technological achievements of modernity, an understanding that failed most precisely to foresee the death of cinema as a collective experience. Emese Benczùr points the finger at the end of an era: in a Blade Runner-like scenario of abandoned buildings, there is little room for positivist thinking. If we want to survive oil-spills, the inconsiderate exploitation of natural resources and climate change-related catastrophes, we must urgently imagine new ways to harvest the Spectacle of the Everyday.

Emese Benczùr at Liverpool Biennial 2010

Think About The Future, 2010
Mixed media outdoor installation
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2010
Exhibited at The Futurist Cinema

Supported by

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Agency for Contemporary Art Exchange
Ludwig Múzeum
Nemzeti Kulturális Alap