Missives from the Future: 2017

Pictorials of the beyond space always incense me. Everyone is huddling in close to their ski ready puff jackets, and it’s always previously unknown material of the insulating kind that lines the insides. They look like fashion disasters waiting to happen. Shareeka says, we need to imagine a future that isn’t so cold, so utilitarian.

The future in these instances is not just cold to see but also to touch – not because of its indentations, or of its facile temperature related qualities, but because it takes away the warmth. There’s something perceptibly wet about it, in the way morning chill gives something that quality even without the water being present. Futurity needs to be seeable, sensorial, a many legged thing, to be honest. When it comes to skin contact on the verglas, the metallic surfaces, something always threatens to be taken away, whether it’s the white, the dust, the feeling, which becomes numbness. I think blue is the absence of warmth, but I still feel warmly towards it.

It helps, she says, leaning forward on her chair while still looking down at the script, to think of futures that have multiplicities. That aren’t so prescriptive, and depressing. And to think of how time is used – how we see it, how our breath slows it down, and how it becomes visible by turning into cloud. Even to consider how our attention makes it more real. How western time is universal time. Before we know it time is owned, too. It becomes secretarial.

A while before I got to the reading I was trying to zoom in to the specific of that time. Later, on the street walking up the hill to St James station, I’m moved by the way things seem so temporal. But it’s one of those all or nothing feelings – if I chose to brush it away, I think it would’ve eaten me up instead. Loneliness makes you feel untethered, and you’re always looking for little strings to weigh yourself down, to attach to solid things. In the time I took to think that it became friday.

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Presented in partnership with the Wheeler Centre