Future Heritage Collection #1
The Future Heritage Collection [FHC] is a collection of stories about heritage that provide different perspectives on its origins, its past, present or future politics and relevance, and contemporary threats. FHC #1 is comprised of stories collected though interviews with ‘experts’ on varied subjects including Islamic manuscripts, Egyptian architecture, and the memory of the Holocaust. Interviewees are asked to propose an example of that they consider to be ‘future heritage’. Akšamija acts as a ‘future archaeologist’ and asks her subjects to contemplate a world without memory and without humanity’s common cultural heritage.
FHC #1 takes a physical form as hybrid sculpture whose design merges a traveler bag with a mailbox containing ‘mail form the future’. The box stores ten different types of postcards, each written from the perspective of a future archaeologist. In addition, the mailbox contains a small screen displaying Aksamija’s 10min video that narrates the content of these postcards. Staged as a ‘future archaeologist’ in ten different future scenarios, Aksamija asks the viewer to contemplate a world in which cultural heritage has become inaccessible or irrelevant for a specific reason. Thus, the viewers are at once fictively in dialogue with a time not yet come, but also speaking with the belief that audiences in the present time can and will connect with their narrative. The Future Heritage Collection is aimed at fostering a discussion about the relationship between global citizenship and ownership of cultural heritage. The initial exchanges of stories have the potential to prompt global public to contribute their own stories, act on a civic level, or even engage with governments on behalf of a common heritage.
Azra Akšamija, Future Heritage Collection #1, 2013
Mixed-media: single-channel video (9:46), textile and cardboard mailbox, podcast, website, postcards
Credits: Future Heritage Collection #1 initiated, conceived, and managed by Azra Akšamija. Conceptual and technical assistance from: Sonja Srdanović, Matt Kushan, Evelyn Ting, Luisel Zayas, Ian Jakob Soroka, and Dietmar Offenhuber. Thank you to all FHC project participants thus far: Sara Abosch, Zdenka Badovinac, Rick Halperin, Jeff Spurr, Mark Dike Delancey, and Patrick Salland. Wolk Gallery installation photos: Judith M. Daniels / Courtesy of the MIT Museum 2013. Video stills: Ian Jakob Soroka (Courtesy of Azra Akšamija) 2013.