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A Future Perfect [sic] Life: Nadim Choufi

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Lecture and a discussion with Nadim Choufi on June 5th about his most recent film The Sky Oscillates Between Eternity and Its Immediate Consequences. Nadim was joined by Felice Grodin, Sabeen Chaudhry, Sahej Rahal, Kaushik Varma, and Adrienne Rose Gionta for a discussion after the lecture.

The lecture, titled A Future Perfect [sic] Life, revolves around the ways promissory capital, trying to overcome its own infrastructural limits, manifests in the design and materiality of living beings. Weaving together research and tangents that were explored during the making of the film, including topics such as 100-year governmental plans, Sea-Monkeys, and space colony prototypes, the lecture focuses on rendering and (re)organizing life forms and modes of living in a future full of ecological and health crises.

Link to "The Sky Oscillates Between Eternity and Its Immediate Consequences":

The future comes in renders, and sustainable smart cities are imagined as highly efficient stomachs. Their guts spread across valleys and mountains. They aim to achieve an alchemist’s dream – to create a closed system that turns their waste into gold. Being part of a designed endless metabolic cycle is not so much an invitation but a strict schedule for the biological and environmental clocks of all landscapes and organisms, including yourself, to keep on churning at the desired speed. For the system to be on time, you have to be on its time, or you are deemed a disruption. Yet you still stop your work and dream of your lover, or lie down simply because it feels good, or meet others on the street to witness something other than yourself burn out from exhaustion. The disruption is not a flaw but a necessity to outlive the set paradigms of a future placed on you.

An excerpt from the lecture:

You exist now as a series of present perfect bacterial mutations as shown in the evolutionary trees. You sit comfortably at the top, legs up, cushioned - by many kingdoms holding you up. And some even evolved to keep you company if you are lonely. Evolution and its representations have always been a design problem. For the longest time evolution was left to nature, yet the illustrations were our views on the lineage of our designed bodies. Whether triangular pyramid tree schemes or circular ones that present a nonanthropocentric visual, these designs show where we stand and what we stand on top of and how we stand with other organisms. Rather than showing complete cycles of evolution. In this sense, the illustrations are the technology used to display evolution, or more accurately, our idea of evolution. Yet at this point, evolution itself has become a technology. Tinker here and there. Modify one gene, modify a whole organism. Your best friend, always by your side, becomes the superhero you always wanted to be.

--The lecture was originally commissioned by Darat al Funun while the film was commissioned by Jameel Arts Centre.

--Film still from The Sky Oscillates Between Eternity and Its Immediate Consequences. Art Jameel Commissions Digital. Courtesy of Nadim Choufi

Nadim Choufi:

Nadim Choufi lives in Beirut and primarily works with video, 3D animation, and sculpture. An alumnus of Ashkal Alwan Home Workspace fellowship, he exhibited his work regionally and internationally in Beirut Art Center, Sharjah Art Foundation, The New School, and Macao.

His work addresses techno-scientific progress and its non-neutrality, often focusing on the materiality of designed organisms, language, products, and bodies.

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