Ed Atkins, Emma Hart, Naheed Raza and Corin Sworn are four of the most exciting new talents to emerge on the contemporary art scene. Picked from a 50-strong nominated shortlist of early to mid-career artists specialising in the moving-image, Atkins, Hart, Raza and Sworn were selected last summer, as the first recipients of The Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Awards.
These awards (consisting of a £4,000 bursary, including production support from Film and Video Umbrella) were given to each artist to develop proposals for a project for the future providing a platform to move their practice forward (and highlight where their thoughts are heading), while also reflecting on ideas and images of the future and how they resonate in the present.
These pilot projects are revealed in the exhibition Tomorrow Never Knows
, curated by Film and Video Umbrella and Jerwood Visual Arts and taking place at Jerwood Space, London from 14 March to 22 April 2012.
As an exhibition, Tomorrow Never Knows is itself a different, forward-looking proposition. The pieces on display have deliberately not been conceived as finished articles but demonstrations of potential and declarations of intent. During the exhibition run, two of the featured artists will each be awarded a £20,000 commission to continue and complete their projects. The finished works will then premiere at Jerwood Space in early 2013 before travelling to CCA (Centre for Contemporary Art) in Glasgow.
The exhibition theme reflects both on our appetite for making predictions, and on the uncertainties of futurology. As well as a showcase of artists for whom a bright future can confidently be anticipated, the exhibition considers the theme of futures past. Casting its mind back to moments in history when a particular style or aesthetic was deemed to be the wave of the future, it will remind us of tomorrows that never quite happened, whilst also revisiting and re-appraising some of that untapped potential.
The speculative, future-oriented nature of the initiative is further elaborated in two specially commissioned texts by writers Martin Herbert and Paul Morley, which feature in an accompanying publication. Alert to our increasingly complex, ambiguous feelings about what tomorrow might hold (its promise overshadowed by growing senses of stasis or uncertainty), they identify a culture-wide nostalgia for futures past, or futures lost, while invoking the challenges, and the pleasures, of continuing to look and think ahead.
These themes are extended in a series of talks and events planned at Jerwood Visual Arts and, later this year, at CCA.