Looking ahead into dystopia – Photos by Anna Fabricius
Economic and political occurrences have a major impact on collective vision. Uncertainty and fear often spawn dystopias and visions far worse than our present situation. Although this phenomenon is an integral part of the history of mankind regardless of period and culture, it can appear more pronounced depending on what’s going on in the world. With her 12 gestures series, contemporary photographer Anna Fabricius contrasts the positivistic vision of the 60s with today’s negativistic image of the future.
Finnish architect Matti Suuronen designed his iconic flying saucer shaped Futuro houses in 1968. Chief considerations included prefabrication, easy transportability, and affordability. Originally, they were envisaged to be universally available to address housing shortage. His Venturo vacation homes were designed according to the same principles in 1971, and despite having a more square design, they were, in their choice of materials and mobility, building on Futuro’s legacy. Futuro and Venturo both embodied social optimism, faith in technology and the prospects of a better life. The Futuro and Venturo buildings in the photo series were built near Wanli, Taiwan, where a luxury holiday complex was created for the Taiwanese elite.
As suggested by the title of the series, the exhibition at Tobe Gallery also features pictures depicting 12 gestures. The subjects of the black-and-white portraits look ahead into the future, and their gestures, shaped by faith and hope, reach into the future, while becoming frozen in the uncertainty of the present. In a unique arrangement, the gesture pictures are placed in front of images of abandoned Futuro and Venturo houses for a broad perspective.
Undoubtedly, contemporary photography responds rapidly to occurrences around us, and Fabricius’s series is no exception. On entering the gallery exhibition space, we are besieged by latent anxieties and fears of the uncertain future. At the same time, we find comfort in the knowledge that this is a problem we all share. Boosting our collective self-awareness, the pictures are reminders that collective issues can be resolved collectively.
After earning a doctoral degree in media art from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Fabricius has completed residencies and participated in international and Hungarian exhibitions. The exhibition is available for viewing between 19 April and 20 May at Tobe Gallery.