Each in their own way, the four artists who comprise the exhibition Future Memories present works that investigate time, particularly the temporal spaces that exist between past, present, memory, historicity, and possible futures. Employing different media, from video to textile, the artists Ambivalently Yours, Sophia Borowska, Zinnia Naqvi and Zeesy Powers each share moments that question modernity's notion of time as linear past-present-future categories directed towards progress. They refute a line of thinking in which the future is constituted through the devaluing of the past and the erasure of the present. Instead, they draw our attention to particular interruptions in modernity's concept of time, by focusing on unproductive time, randomness, digital waste, ambivalence, contradictions, extensions, and endlessness.
A collaboration between articule and The HTMlles 12: Feminist Festival of Media Arts + Digital Culture presented by Studio XX, the Future Memories exhibition examines the festival’s theme “Terms of Privacy” by blurring the binary spaces between private ownership and public engagement, past and future, virtual and physical, east and west, self and other. Together, the four artists present an interactive archive, documenting the past that is present, here IRL, offline, extending memories towards an uncertain future.
Originally created as a Tumblr blog, the drawings behind the anonymous online persona Ambivalently Yours explore a realm of in-betweenness, where pink illustrations, animations and sound sketches embrace resolute indecision. Through online sharing of contradictory opinions, in a conscious act of undeciding, the blog “facilitates the exploration of feminist convictions within an online community of in-betweeners.”
Sophia Borowska’s project Data Excess (2016) materializes “digital waste”: pornographic spam e-mails and low-resolution screenshots. By weaving these discarded digital excesses using a computer-assisted loom, Borowska recycles the virtual and extends the presence of these messages in our lives, outside of data centres.
For her experimental video Seaview (2014), Zinnia Naqvi travelled back to her family's country of origin, Pakistan, to compare childhood memories with present-day experiences. Combining home video with recent footage, juxtaposed with audio that narrates different occasions in her personal history, Naqvi imparts the difficulties in revisiting the past as well as her struggles in translating culture across time and seas, between the ideals of Western and Eastern societies.
Finally, in her installation The Averaging Mirror (2016), Zeesy Powers scrambles the selfie. Using the OpenCV algorithm for facial recognition, the “anti-selfie” mirror obscures the viewer’s digital reflection, calling attention to the misrepresentation of now, the ephemeral, forever fleeting present. The mirror, then, in the context of this exhibition, may also symbolize infinity, staring into endlessness.
By widening the register of the meaningful moment in art to include the exploration of myriad (and often unexamined) temporal spaces of in-between, Future Memories interrupts our notion of linear time and offers a very broad interpretation of The HTMlles festival's theme “Terms of Privacy”. Future Memories shifts our contemplative gaze to temporarily settle on contemporary feminist digital art's concerns, replete and resplendent with all its intentional contradictions.
Candace Mooers grew up in Fredericton and, since 2012, lives and works in Montréal. She is a volunteer member of the Studio XX Programming Committee and regularly co-produces the Prison Radio Show on CKUT 90.3 FM. She loves punk music, zines, cooking, and anarchist politics.
 Ross, Christine. The Past is the Present; It's the Future Too: The Temporal Turn in Contemporary Art. New York: Continuum, 2012