SPECIAL FEATURE: The Registry of Promise curated by Chris Sharp

04 Michael Dean
The Registry of Promise is a series of exhibitions that reflect on our increasingly fraught relationship with what the future may or may not hold in store for us. These exhibitions engage with and play upon various readings of promise as simultaneously anticipating a future and its fulfillment or lack thereof, as well as a kind of inevitability, either positive or negative. Such polyvalence assumes a particular poignancy in the current historical moment. Given that the technological and scientific notions of progress inaugurated by the Enlightenment no longer have the same purchase they once did, we have long since abandoned the linear vision of the future the Enlightenment once betokened. Meanwhile, what is coming to substitute our former conception would hardly seem to be a substitute at all: the looming specter of global ecological catastrophe. From the anthropocentric promise of modernity, it would seem, we have turned to a negative faith in the post-human. And yet the future is not necessarily a closed book. Far from fatalistic, The Registry of Promise takes into consideration these varying modalities of the future while trying to conceive of possible others. In doing so, it seeks to valorize the potential polyvalence and mutability at the heart of the word promise.

Taking place over the course of approximately one year, The Registry of Promise consists of four autonomous, interrelated exhibitions, which can be read as individual chapters in a book. It was inaugurated by The Promise of Melancholy and Ecology at the Fondazione Giuliani, Rome, followed by The Promise of Multiple Temporalities at Parc Saint Léger, Centre d’art contemporain, Pougues-Les-Eaux and The Promise of Moving Things at Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine, and will conclude with The Promise of Literature, Soothsaying and Speaking in Tongues at De Kabinetten van De Vleeshal, Middelburg.

07 install shot with works by Jean-Luc Moul+¿ne, Lucy Skaer, Becky Beasley and Reto Pulfer2487-10