Keynotes — Day 2

With a growing number of public calls for new future imaginaries, whether it be for our cities or on other scales, the question presents itself which possible forms of narrative can still mobilize the imagination or vision. Rather than looking at cultural dystopia’s or forthcoming utopias, this two-day summit, set-up by a roster of Rotterdam arts institutions in the framework of the yearlong Futurosity program, explores our relationship with the notion of ’the future’ and asks what kind of contingencies can be part of a new vocabulary, be it artistic, fictional or otherwise, to re-empower the notion of “future” in the 21st century.

At the closing moment of the Futurosity Summit on Thursday 19 May, three visionaries will deliver keynote speeches about their view of the future with a respons by artist and writer Douglas Coupland at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art.


18:30 - 19:15 | Presentation by Helen Hester (Senior Lecturer in Media at the University of West-London)

What is the role of the Child in conceptions of the future. Noting the reliance upon this figure in the political imaginary Helen Hester will explore some of the problems associated with framing the future solely in terms of the next generation. How can we imagine a future that exceeds not only the family, but also the limited horizons of our species?

Presented by: MAMA


19:15 - 20:00 | Presentation by Charlie Koolhaas (artist and writer)

How does global capitalism create newness? What if the future’s aesthetic is not something to be created by politicians, designers, and city planners, but will emerge out of the need for people to survive in alien environments? Through image reading we will look at how authenticities and inventions arise spontaneously, without any ideological programming from globalizing market forces.


20:00 - 20:45 | Lecture by Liesbet van Zoonen (professor of Sociology and dean of the Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities department at Erasmus University)

Who shapes the future? In an era of heightened securitization the media mediates the future before it happens. How can we understand the future as a framework that is constructed as a tool for preemption? In a historical shift, media have lost sway over interpreting the past, or conveying the immediacy of the now, and have taken to governing possible futures through constructing speculative aesthetic, socio-technical, or political formations.

[figure Futurosity Summit - Keynotes Day 2]

Futurosity Summit

The Summit forms the climax of the Futurosity project – part of Rotterdam celebrates the city! – and offers a two-day program with lectures, workshops, tours and debate by artists, writers and thinkers with a keen eye on the future. Next to a Keynote lecture by Douglas Coupland together with Shumon Basar, there will be contributions by Max Dovey & Manetta Berends, Helen Hester, Charlie Koolhaas, Dennis Muñoz Espadiña, Willem Schinkel, Lukas Simonis, Elfie Tromp, Tommy Ventevogel en Liesbeth van Zoonen.

Click here for the full two-day program.

Kunstblock is a collaborative group made up of art institutions in the Witte de With quarter: TENT, CBK Rotterdam, V2_Institute for the Unstable Media, Showroom MAMA, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and Worm Institute for Avant-garde Recreation.

Futurosity is part of Rotterdam celebrates the city! (for the complete program go to: and is kindly supported by The Art of Impact.


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