Paintings on the Walls
Did you ever wonder why there are no paintings hanging on the walls of the Starship Enterprise? Or stop to ponder if there was a theatre on Tatooine? Is the dystopian horror of The Capitol what we have to look forward to, a city where fashion, celebrity and beauty are considered ‘Art’?
As we move through the first quarter of the 21st Century, the pace of technological and scientific development is becoming increasingly rapid and complex. For every time travelling Doctor, teleporting Looper and flying car, there are plenty of examples where science fiction has led science fact by the hand and into the lab to create reality from dreams. It is an exciting future to look forward to. At least, this is the case with technological and scientific advance. Society is another thing altogether. From 1984 to The Hunger Games, it would appear predictions are bleak, with new world order of these future times often a product of war, or leading to war. Science fiction and fantasy writers have repeatedly asked us to imagine the future in these terms, presumably to produce book and film settings that feel familiar and yet foreign, dystopian but believable, a place to put a hero to save the world. It’s strange then, that so few have stopped to question the importance of sculpture, literature, art or design in doing that.
What will society look like five hundred years from now? How will the current technological revolution of the 21st Century and future advances in science and technology affect our ability to appreciate, embrace and produce art that is not merely an imitation of what has gone before, but that has meaning and resonance with a contemporary culture? What will the world look like after the technological revolution has packed up and teleported home? Will the need and desire for beautiful things have been exterminated, stagnating innovative thinking in the process and leaving mankind in the 26th Century equivalent of the Dark Ages? What would a Future Renaissance look like, where art, design, literature, music and theatre begin to flourish again in a world unrecognisable by us today?
Will there be paintings on the walls?