Although its title juxtaposes the future with our human origins, the exhibition Futur archaïque exposes some very contemporary concerns. There is a widely shared idea that the pace of technological developments is accelerating, and that their impact is being increasingly imposed upon us in our everyday personal, professional and social lives. Technical progress is seen as invasive and it arouses a number of anxieties. There is thus an emerging sense of underlying threat, a fear that artificial intelligence could seize power, or even that we, as a world, have lost our bearings.
A sociologist by training, Yves Mirande, the exhibition curator, is a design specialist and journalist. His inspiration for the project came as he noticed a growing tendency for the design world to tackle this feeling. In response, the designers have steered their research in an opposite direction, towards the roots of humanity. They favour organic or raw materials, and forms that flirt with our collective fantasy of the archaic or the primitive. Far from beating a reactionary retreat, however, they have chosen to connect with the very latest contemporary techniques.
They use materials such as animal fleeces, volcanic lava, petrified ceramics, flint, skulls and bones, seeds, natural pigments, carbonised wood, bladders and stomachs, bringing them together with recent technological developments. The knapped flints by Ami Drach & Dov Ganchrow were fitted with 3D-printed sleeves; the wood used in Kaspar Hamacher’s furniture is charred to give it its final shape; grains of wheat are transformed into vessels by Formafantasma while Wieki Somers turns animal skulls into teapots; Julia Lohmann creates lamps from cow stomachs. Some of these creations even require primitive gestures, such as Simon Hasan’s nutcracker, which involves cracking the nuts with a stone.
For Yves Mirande, this movement reveals the desire to reconnect with our roots, which he believes are “pushed around by modernity”, as well as with contemporary life. Futur archaïque presents around sixty objects by international designers that address these issues and reflect this sensation facing the human experience in 21st century society.
Artists, designers and creators: François Azambourg, Ami Drach & Dov Ganchrow, Antoine Boudin, Atelier Van Lieshout, Nacho Carbonell, Laura Couto Rosado, DWA, Miloš Ristin/ECAL, Formafantasma, Robotlab, Kaspar Hamacher, Simon Hasan, Studio Hlutager¢in, Valentin Loellmann, Julia Lohmann, Laura Lynn Jansen & Thomas Vailly, Stéphane Margolis, Peter Marigold, Giulio Parini, Pigeon project, Maaike Roozenburg, Studio Wieki Somers, Jean-Pierre Tortil, Charles Trevelyan, Unfold with Barnabé Fillion