Presented by The Store X and the New Museum in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory, “Strange Days: Memories of the Future” brings together video and film installations by twenty-one of today’s most radical image makers, all of whom have exhibited at the New Museum in the last ten years. Enigmatic and oracular, the works on view blend visuals and sound into polyphonic, dreamlike compositions that consider the power and fragility of images as the raw material of memory, reverie, and visions the future.
The works in “Strange Days” emphasize a fractured sense of time: history collides with the present, and future speculations are vexed by a distant past. Departing from the format of the film essay and the use of cinema verité, a number of artists adopt unusual forms of lyrical reportage and sentimental documentary. Others take on a more confessional tone, as they speculate, with both optimism and unease, about language and visibility, desires and fears, and origins and destinies.
An uncanny sense of estrangement permeates the works on view, conjuring a kind of technological sublime that is both hypnotic and ominous. In many of the videos in the exhibition, technology is both a subject and medium—perhaps even a talisman—in peculiar parables that expand definitions of identity, vulnerability, and power. Throughout the works on view, memory and hope fold together as artists employ testimony and metaphor to form a new kind of nostalgic futurism, however provisional and fluid.