Its title is derived from a term related to ‘the future’. Rather than focusing on the past, and on a location often conceived as somewhere ‘over there’, Here After places one’s ideas, experience, and imagination at the centre, in space and in time, positioned forward, towards whatever future that lies ahead.
Often addressed in science and speculative fiction, the theme of ‘the future’ takes on a different dimension when the construction or the conception of a future is a challenging and even defiant act.
This programme brings together practitioners across various disciplines, including contemporary art, publishing, and writing, and includes the work of artists Larissa Sansour, author Karim Kattan, and the platform Lifta.
Here After is conceived as an intervention in the B7L9 programme, a move away from both the past and present to allow space to explore, propose, and imagine possible futures.
These explorations also highlight the limits of shared imaginaries of what both collective and individual identities and consciousnesses could look like beyond the present.
This intervention seeks to provide a counterpoint to the schism between monochromatic and fixed conceptions of Palestine, and the numerous, diverse, and divergent speculations, lived experiences, imaginations, critiques, and ideas whose possibilities are only hinted at here.
Larissa Sansour’s seminal Sci-Fi Trilogy, comprised of three works – A Space Exodus (2009), Nation Estate (2012), and In The Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain (2016) – anchors the exhibition through three installations throughout the B7L9 space.
By bringing together science fiction imagery drawn from cinema through which to view ideas and questions around the collective Palestinian experience, Sansour’s work allows us to engage with topics often dealt with through stale political or national discourse.
In these works, an evolution of the artist’s own scope in addressing these ideas can be seen – firstly through an otherworldly exile (A Space Exodus), then the all-encompassing simulacra of a dystopian housing project (Nation Estate); and finally the subversive attempt at reconstructing memory and identity (In The Future...).
As a starting point, Sansour’s works lead to the other half of works that are situated in the exhibition space.
Lifta, an international platform that brings together practitioners of all kinds from Palestine and the diaspora, present a variety of media from their first volume –entitled Future Palestine– expanded into a spatialised and interactive exhibition format.
The volume’s contributions, which span conversations, short stories, and essays that deal with mental health, science fiction, ideas of return and of exit, nationalism, lived experience and more, address a core question about how to conceive of a future.
A statement by the editorial team in this volume addresses us with a challenge: ‘how much of history, reality, and experience can we shed into the in the realm of the imaginary’.
Author Karim Kattan’s short story, A Lullaby for Moonbeams, a piece written for this exhibition, illustrates through the language of speculative fiction, a doomed mission on a faraway world haunted by those who once lived there.
In both longer works, short fiction, essays, and radio works, Kattan’s work engages with speculative and science fictions who despite their length, create fully realised worlds whose questions have implications for our own.