Comprehensive and sly, “It Happened Tomorrow” is a new project by Lin + Lam, developed over the course of the duo’s 2009-10 Vera List Center at the New School Fellowship and now making its debut.

Conceived in response to the Vera List Center’s focus theme “Speculating on Change,” Lin + Lam have collected an interdisciplinary array of cultural and historical predictive devices, appropriations from popular culture, historical sources, and academic scholarship, including original interviews with professionals from diverse backgrounds, and arranged this archive into an interactive website, “It Happened Tomorrow” offers multiple vantage points on the nature and the process of change and speculation and is accessed through a random number generator based on the 64 hexagrams of the I-Ching, one of the oldest books in the world and a predictive device that is still commonly used today.

The project takes its name from the title of René Clair’s 1944 film It Happened Tomorrow, a comedy in which a journalist longs for the ability to know the future in advance in order to get a jump on breaking news. This desire for precognition determines human behavior across many fields of experience. Many a head of state – emperors, presidents and dictators, including Napoleon, Hitler and Reagan – has turned to oracles to authorize and consolidate their power. The capacity to aspire to a different future is, as anthropologist Arjun Appadurai writes, critical to the possibility for the underprivileged to overcome dire conditions. Can the capacity to aspire be learned and shared? What enables future thinking that is not a product of denial, defense or mere fantasy, but is constructive to change? For contemporary forecasting on our current recession and repressions, professionals from divergent fields join Lin + Lam and present their perspectives on how the future is speculated and formed.

Introduction by Carin Kuoni, director, Vera List Center
Premiere Showing “Change Encounter” by Lin + Lam

Panel Discussion

Orit Halpern, Assistant Professor of Department of History at The New School for Social Research

Patricia Ticineto Clough, Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at the Graduate Center and Queens College of the City University of New York

Mitch Horowitz, Editor-in-Chief of Tarcher/Penguin and author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation

H. Darrel Rutkin, independent scholar, historian of science with an emphasis on the history of medieval, Renaissance, and early modern astrology

Lin + Lam
Since 2001, Lin + Lam have produced interdisciplinary projects that examine the ramifications of the past for the current socio-political moment. Attentive to materiality, site, and the specificities of different medium, their collaboration integrates their individual strengths and backgrounds. Trained in architecture, H. Lan Thao Lam uses photography, sculpture, and installation to address social memories of time, place and politics. Informed by critical cinema, Lana Lin has been interested in translation and the processes of identification. Their work has been exhibited at international venues including the New Museum, The Kitchen, the Queens Museum and LMAK Projects in New York, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Arko Arts Center (Korean Arts Council,) Seoul, Korea, the Arte Nuevo InteractivA’07 Biennial, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Merida, Mexico, and the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China.

*Presented on occasion of the Vera List Center’s 2009/2011 focus theme “Speculating on Change.”

Project Participants:

Claudia Bader, psychoanalyst, astrologer, and Adjunct Faculty, The New School
Lopamudra Banerjee, Assistant Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research
Gregg Bordowitz, writer and artist
Andrew Culver, composer
Orit Halpern, Assistant Professor of History, The New School for Social Research
Rachel Harris, Gender Equality Architecture Reform Lead, Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO)
Benjamin Lee, Professor of Anthropology and Philosophy, The New School for Social Research
Colleen Macklin, Director of PETLab, and Associate Professor of Communication Design and Technology, Parsons The New School for Design
Cate Owren, Program Director, Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO)
Henry Weingarten, Managing Director of The Astrologers Fund
Robert Wosnitzer, Research Fellow, Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University
Margaret R. Zellner, Ph.D., L.P., psychoanalyst and behavioral neuroscientist

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