Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

2058 at the Tate


Strange days have found us. The Tate Modern has published an article from the future (about a current exhibit) called “TH.2058” by Dominique Gonzales-Foerster,* dated October 2058. We like the choice of films and novels offered to the soaked inhabitants of this London to come. We are reminded even of a haunting song: “Lost Rivers of London,” by the late great COIL. In any case, here is an excerpt:

2058 by Dominique Gonzales-Foerster - Tate ModernA giant screen shows a strange film, which seems to be as much experimental cinema as science fiction. Fragments of Solaris, Fahrenheit 451 and Planet of the Apes are mixed with more abstract sequences such as Johanna Vaude’s L’Oeil Sauvage but also images from Chris Marker’s La Jetée. Could this possibly be the last film?

On the beds are books saved from the damp and treated to prevent the pages going mouldy and disintegrating. On every bunk there is at least one book, such as JG Ballard’s The Drowned World, Jeff Noon’s Vurt, Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, but also Jorge Luis Borges’s Ficciones and Roberto Bolaño’s 2666.

It seems Bolaño’s future is more future than this future, and it may well be that La Jetée’s is even further out and farther in. The Man in the High Castle was a novel about a parallel or alternate past, constructed meticulously out of coin tosses at the I Ching.  En plus, it seemed to be raining all the time in Blade Runner. Still, this is all just prehistory to the distant future of 4001, the era of perfect memory. What will the humans or otherwise reigning intelligences be viewing and reading then on their möbius magnetic bible?

The Last Film, which plays on the huge screen overlooking the Turbine Hall, similarly assembles excerpts from the experimental films of Chris Marker and Peter Watkins, and the science fiction of George Lucas and Nicolas Roeg. Scenes of shelter and archives are drawn from Richard Fleischer’s Soylent Green and Alain Resnais’s Toute la mémoire du monde, alongside sequences of urban expectation from Peter Weir’s The Last Wave, the apocalyptic explosion of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point and the dystopian vision of a world without books in François Truffaut’s adaptation of Fahrenheit 451.

* See also: Dominique Gonzalez Foerster: Essays

Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

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