Revisiting Robert Hewison’s 'Future Tense' 25 Years Later

Posted by marc garrett | Thu Jul 30th 2015 6:22 a.m.

Revisiting Robert Hewison’s 'Future Tense' 25 Years Later.

New Article by Marc Garrett.

http://www.furtherfield.org/features/25-years-after-future-tense

This article revisits Robert Hewison’s book, Future Tense: A New Art For The Nineties, [1] published in 1990. The book focused on contemporary attitudes to art, architecture and design that manifested in what had come to be called the postmodern era. Earlier avant-gardes of collectives and groups such as Dada, Situationism, Fluxus and the Lettrists had incorporated new technologies and challenged the material values embraced by museums and traditional hierarchies in modern art and capitalist society. Hewison set out to discover the ways in which artists of the 80s contributed to a "critical culture" for the 90s.

In the 70s in the UK, art had a role to play in changing society, transforming relations to controlling production and critiquing the role of the establishment. Hewison’s mission was to observe contemporary culture happening in the late 80s in Britain with an emphasis on the future. Even though there had been a massive evolution in culture; within and across the fields of music, art and theory, it was also a new dawn for capitalism as it morphed into what we now know as neoliberalism. By revisiting Hewison's book I hope to elucidate what the cultural shifts and differences in our art culture then and now, and to invite you the reader to reflect on what they mean to those of us engaging with and practicing across the fields of art, technology and social change today.

[1] Robert Hewison. Future Tense: A New Art for the Nineties. Methuen Publishing Ltd (31 May 1990).
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