Montag Modus
archive of futures

“We are traveling back and forth in time in order to subvert the present!…As retrofuturists we are not deleting the past.”, set programmatically Hungarofuturist their position towards the nonlinearity of time in history.

archive of futures finds itself somewhere on a similar timeline: between unfulfilled historical projections of the future and contemporary futurist practices that attempt to fill the gaps in narrating the past. The three-part project curated by the interdisciplinary series Montag Modus features artists and artistic positions primarily from Hungary and Poland, and revolves around practices of queer world-making, local cosmologies and decolonial historiographies. 

From its conception, Montag Modus gives special attention to the artistic positions from Eastern Europe. This cycle’s focus on Poland and Hungary is motivated by two things. First, it is the biographical link of the organizational team and second, it is above all an attempt to fill in the gaps in the representation of these artistic positions in Berlin and in Germany 

Poland and Hungary, being historically close allies in their political and cultural agenda, are situated between the remnants of the Cold War and carry-ons of Eastern European post-socialist past. Never fully accepted to Western European tightly run circle, they are at the same time struggling with (while residing in it) a dominant form of Eurocentric knowledge production. One of the claims that has been made about the current processes in these countries, is that this unresolved liminal position, and the lack of a new subjectivity that goes beyond nation-state ideologies have over the years prepared the ground for the bloom of populist right-wing ideologies and the authoritarian turn. 

Yet since the last year and Russia’s full scale invasion to Ukraine, the agendas and alliances have changed and these two countries are experiencing dramatic shifts and schisms. The situation is even further complicated by hierarchies and asymmetries with their direct neighbors and internal heterogeneity between cities and rural areas. 

archive of futures doesn’t set itself the goal to embrace such sociopolitical complexities, neither to give a fully representative picture of the political and social situation in these two countries. It is an invitation to think together about futures by expanding decolonial thinking in practice in its regional specificity through performative practices, embodied knowledge and dance. In times when tradition and national identity are serving as a base for fanciful, nationalistic myth-making processes, what visions of futures one can oppose it and still claim the right for a local subjectivity and agency to write its own future and history?

The cycle of archive of futures starts with a retrospective prospection: by embodying the past and linking it to the present. It is looking at the alternative embodied historiographies and conceives them as practices of future-making. The opening event takes place at Sophiensaele (April 2023).

The second edition at Radialsystem (July 2023) looks into the intersection of contemporary performance and activism, exploring strategies of resistance, for instance “pleasure-activism” within queer communities in these countries. The practices of queer worldmaking are rooted in the acts, activism, and everyday lives. They envision and create worlds to project them into the future, while simultaneously exploring the potentialities of queer memories, archives and artifacts. 

The third event organized together with Tanzfabrik Berlin (October 2023) focuses on local cosmologies in their complexities and multiplicities, and contemporary artistic speculations about possible futures.

Local cosmologies, as opposed to such terms as “tradition”, “religion” or “nation”, do not imply absolute “realness”. Rather they refer to emergent and contingent perceptions, values and beliefs regarding the order of things and being-in-the-world. They are a product of collective imagination that helps navigate it and they are embodied, performed (from religious ceremonies to rituals of the state), and are always situated.

Using local cosmologies as a worldbuilding practice may help to decenter and to de-link hegemonic narratives, to use and subvert our imagination and to envision possible futures in their multiplicity and asynchronous temporalities. In this exploration, the closing event features artists and artistic positions from other Eastern European countries as well. 

The introductory text was written by curator Léna Szrmay-Kalos in close collaboration with the artist and author Maru Mushtrieva and was translated into German by Jette Büchsenschütz.

Montag Modus: archive of futures is a production by the MMpraxis curatorial platform in collaboration with SOPHIENSÆLE, Radialsystem, Tanzfabrik Berlin and Bergen Kunsthall; funded by the Berlin Senate for Culture and Europe and supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media within the program NEUSTART KULTUR.