Susanne Wiegner’s 3D computer-animated film Future in the Past takes viewers on a journey through virtual spaces populated by familiar objects and places that have been decontextualized and estranged from their proper place. Ships sail on a two-dimensional sea before falling over the edge; empty trains pass by electricity masts which tower up out of the water; terraced houses resemble artworks exhibited on scaffolding while lines the tracks, inaccessible and disused. The camera gradually zooms out, revealing that each of these spaces is merely a small part of a far larger scene. The spaces turn out to be open, peephole-theater type installations which are constantly transformed into new, larger spaces, in which earlier motives and objects are repeated. At the end, we return to the bathroom we began in.
The visuals of the film, realized using computer graphics, recall the paintings of Edward Hopper with their sobriety, chilly voids and clear lines. The film refuses any simple interpretation. Perhaps the nested rooms symbolize the different layers of consciousness and of individual thoughts, and the film is an attempt to visualize how the conscious and the unconscious intermingle and shape one another. The surreal rooms recall the incoherence of dreams, where the rational order of things is turned upside down, and thoughts and ideas are torn from their context, becoming symbols woven into the world of the subconscious mind, difficult for the waking mind to fathom. Wiegner’s work impressively demonstrates how perspectives which we take for granted can be called into question by gradually revealing their larger context. (Tamara Plempe)