Future Histories: Mark Dion and Arseny Zhilyaev

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The book Future Histories: Mark Dion and Arseny Zhilyaev follows the Future Histories exhibition curated by Magnus af Petersens at Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice in 2015. Taking the traditional museum practices of collecting and taxonomic display as their starting point, the artists Mark Dion and Arseny Zhilyaev created a Wunderkammer and an imaginary future museum. United by a flair for speculation and a talent for combining the critical with the playful, the artists transformed the historic palazzo into a dynamic and immersive environment, opening a dialogue between two different approaches – Dion’s reaching back through time, and Zhilyaev’s projecting into the future. Dion staged pre-Enlightenment cabinets of curiosities, which held collections of both specimens from nature and artefacts from various cultures, which meant removing objects from their natural environments and placing them in artificial isolation; this legacy is still at the core of much museum practice. Zhilyaev investigated, from a future perspective, the ambivalent role of the museum in the formation of our ideas about the world and life under contemporary political and economic conditions.