Future Archive: Collectivity and Creativity

Anja Kanngieser August 03, 2010

Dan Vaughn

By Anja Kanngieser and Manuela Zechner


On 8th July 2010 a conversation with Chen Hangfeng and Chris Connery, hosted by Manuela Zechner and Anja Kanngieser, took place in Shanghai, looking into the present from the point of view of a desirable future.


This conversation addressed themes of collectivity and creativity in China, asking how the understanding of these notions may differ between a euro-american and a chinese context. It asked what creativity and collectivity meant back in 2010, narrated from several imagined perspectives of 2025.


This was not an easy conversation to have. When speaking of desirable futures, we have to take into account that these are sometimes difficult to imagine. Through the Future Archive project we consider the future as operating as a function - reminiscent in a sense of what Foucault attributes to the 'author function'. Here the future exists in multiple singularities within the process of its construction through dialogue, at the same time woven through with the different strands of wider socio-cultural and political conceptualisations of futurity brought to the conversation by each participant. This interplay between singular and common imagining can make the future hard to negotiate.


The future function may be either speculative on the one hand (contemporary capitalism, finance and precarity) or ideological on the other (modernity, ideas of progress, technology and science). We found China to be an interesting place to investigate how these two functionalities of future can be entangled, and projected towards collective and personal desires.


Below are two excerpts from the longer conversation:


Chris Connery and Chen Hangfeng 'Party and Collective' (interview by Anja Kanngieser and Manuela Zechner)



Chris Connery and Chen Hangfeng 'Creativity' (interview by Anja Kanngieser and Manuela Zechner)