Le futur n’existe pas: rétrotypes
Alain Bublex, Elie During

Co-édition Parc Saint-Léger / B42
Avec le soutien du VOG, Grenoble, de l’Isat, Nevers, du Frac Franche Comté, de la galerie G.-P. N. Vallois.

Couleur, 80 p., 22 × 32 cm — 24€


A philosopher specialized in Bergson and Einstein and lover of contemporary art (Elie During), and an artist coming from automobile design and known for his projects that blend fiction, utopia and utopian fiction (Alain Bublex) joined forces around a problem in common, i.e., our relationship to the future. Yet once one admits that the future only exists in terms of forecasting, projection or fantasy, how can one do otherwise than to talk about the present—for example, about our present inability to desire the future? This theme of “nostalgia for the future” has been developed by thinkers like Jameson upon the ruins of the century’s grand narratives and utopias, which the great world’s fairs bear witness to in their way. Today the theme fosters ambivalent discourses on “retro-mania” or “retro-futurism,” a genre that runs throughout the whole of contemporary culture, from science fiction and pop music to architecture, fashion and design. The authors of this book offer a different reading of the retro-futurist phenomenon, taking off from the simple intuition that the future only exists through the innumerable futures borne by bygone eras, notably our near modernity, which, more intensely than any other age, tried to take charge of its future. History is certainly much more populated than we imagine. Unrealized, the futures of the past persist, sketching out with the lines of their active futurition a multitude of parallel histories. Do these futures exist less than the others? Why aren’t they granted an ontological dignity equal to that of the futures proposed by the present? This might be the chance to talk about them once without irony or nostalgia from the point of view of the resources they offer not only the artistic undertaking but creation in philosophy as well.


These questions have always accompanied Alain Bublex’s work, whether it involves reconstructing the prototype of a “feet first” motorcycle, or drawing on a series of rasters to redeploy the Plan Voisin that Le Corbusier devised for the center of Paris. The same questions lie at the heart of the experiments done by Elie During at the point where metaphysics, esthetics and the sciences meet. Cheerfully ranging over a number of widely differing fields (cinema, art, literature, architecture), the book develops its central thesis, playfully exploring forms from a “free-floating” time made up of virtual futures in an endless shift back and forth between concepts and figures. To pluck from the limbo of the past dreamt-up scenes of life in the future, Alain Bublex availed himself of “retro-types,” i.e., small-format photographs and scanned documents, quick outlines done in vector graphics, their rough precision making them akin to delicate decal stickers. The text plays out continuously with a parade of images along the edge, sometimes illustrating it and sometimes commenting on or contradicting it, like hyperlinks on an internet page. It is a book of philosophy with images serving as commentary on it, or if you prefer, an artist’s book open to philosophical experimentation.


Jointly published by Parc Saint-Léger and B42, with the generous assistance of VOG, Grenoble; Isat, Nevers; Frac Franche Comté; and the G.-P. N. Vallois Gallery.


(Source: www.editions-b42.com)