Future Shock

Future Shock, three channel installation, 2019

In 1970, American futurist Alvin Toffler’s iconic work Future Shock was published. One year later, a translation by Zhiwen Publishing House hit the market in Taiwan, thus introducing the writer’s theories to readers of Chinese. The premise of the book can be summed up as: “A future that comes too quickly creates more apprehension than that of a foreign land. Future society will be stricken with a plethora of choices, throw-away society, information overload, and unethical technology.”

The work Future Shock was inspired by Toffler’s original, from which the artist adapted and developed Toffler’s theories. The artist decided to shoot the film in the southern city of Kaohsiung for its industrial facilities, modernist architecture, power plants, commercial institutions, and deserted amusement parks, which were driven by economic policies in the 1970s, but today evoke feelings of strangeness and nostalgia for the city’s golden age. This past which felt so futuristic 50 years ago is now both confusing and familiar. Future Shock leads audience members to revisit retro Kaohsiung from a contemporary perspective and look back as if in a dream at the influence of “modern” and “future” when they were completely new concepts in Asia.

 

1970年,美國未來學巨擘托弗勒(Alvin Toffler)的巨著《未來的衝擊》(Future Shock)問世,一年後中譯版由台灣的志文出版社發行,將其理論介紹到中文世界。其簡介說到:「『太快來臨』的未來,將使個人淪入比異鄉人更惶惑的境遇。未來的社會將充滿選擇過多的『不自由』、一用即棄的氛圍、資訊焦慮、無倫理的科技……。」

《未來的衝擊》便是由這本同名原著得來靈感,將其理論抽樣並發展,並於南台灣的高雄取景拍攝。這座經濟政策規劃下的城市,有著1970年代以降所建設的工業設施、現代主義建築、發電廠、工商機構與如今成為廢墟的娛樂設施,這些場景不斷地勾起人們來自那段黃金歲月的陌生回憶。這一來自50年前的「來自過去的未來」,如今令人熟悉卻也迷惘。本作將帶領觀眾重訪這段復古的未來,從另類現代的視角出發,以做夢的方式回望所謂「現代」與「未來」這些嶄新觀念在亞洲的降臨與影響。