Letter from the Editor

The Future Is Now

Excerpt from the film Just Imagine, 1930. Director: David Butler. Fox Film Corporation.

“The future ain’t what it used to be.” —Yogi Berra

It’s with great anticipation that Art21 launches the “Future” issue, for which I am the guest editor. As those who study the future recommend, this next issue of the Art21 Magazine takes a plurality of outcomes into account—possible, probable, preferable, and the inevitable “wild card,” with writers offering a wide range of alternative futures for us to consider.

Among many others, here are a few anticipated contributions that we predict you’ll enjoy this summer (the future has to keep some of its mystery, after all): In the two-part article that kicks off this issue, Willa Köerner questions if a system where artists can earn money for networked art is at odds with the nature of the Internet itself. Allie Haeusslein looks at the future of photo books with the advent of digital publishing, while Eirik Johnson uses photography to underscore the impact of environmental change on local communities. Caroline Picard explores Philip Parreno’s exhibition Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World at the Palais de Tokyo, and Nettrice Gaskins examines black futurism in contemporary art. I ask Mary Jane Jacob about artists who wish to impact social change. And Ben Valentine, our “Future” issue writer-in-residence, conducts a series of interviews with artists about the societal implications of technologies found in their work. In addition to in-depth articles, we’ll feature a photo series from the Center for Land Use Interpretation of our very surreal and futuristic-looking present, a recommended reading list courtesy of Adobe Books and Arts Cooperative, and a playlist to listen to while you read and contemplate what your own future may hold.