Future Past News
Karolina Ziulkoski & Andrea Wolf
'Future Past News' is an augmented reality experience that exposes disturbing parallels between present-day and 1937 pre-war turmoil, hoping to raise awareness of our political choices and their social repercussions. Developed during the presidential election of 2016 in the United States, it seems even more relevant today. An 8mm film found in a flea market in Mexico City holds the remembrance of news to come: governments in chaos, strikes, storms and flood, progress in technology and connectivity, impending wars, powerful leaders negotiating the future of countless others. Eerily similar to what we are watching unfold before our eyes in the news today, it could be 2017, but it was 1937. Knowing what followed the turmoils of the pre-war time, the old news rendered a deep feeling of despair and 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. What if 80 years from now someone found documentation of our news? Would they also feel a cold chill down their spine? The installation situates visitors in an average living room circa 1937 where the TV is on and the news are playing. 'Future Past News' invites visitors to look at these images of the past through an augmented reality (AR) app that switches the content of the 8mm newsreel to present news. The custom-made AR app in the iPad responds in real time to the news playing on the old TV set, replacing the past events with footage of current news that is displayed on the IOS device. A new layer of information is added to the footage on the screen, juxtaposing the news from 1937 and our current state of affairs. In doing so, 'Future Past News' works as a double mirror that reflects the social space and in turn, is reflected by it. We are not simply shown a vision of the world but rather the images of it. By overlaying both moments at the same time, the AR app highlights the parallels in history and the obviousness of repetition. The installation was presented in New York City at the New Museum, 2017 SPRING/BREAK Art Show, Smack Mellon, and in Hong Kong at 2018 Art Central PROJECTS, part of a selection of six large-scale curated projects throughout the fair. It also has an online version - download the AR application at the AppStore and then visit futurepast.news to experience it.