This Was Tomorrow

This Was Tomorrow


The e-flux rooftop.

July 9, 2024
This Was Tomorrow
Rooftop screenings at e-flux
e-flux Screening Room
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
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Join us at the e-flux Screening Room rooftop for This Was Tomorrow, a series presenting cinematic visions of the future that illuminate and comment on our present-day realities.

The films and videos in this series challenge common perceptions of time, identity, technology, and community, in a curated selection that invites thoughtful reflection while also promising entertainment.

Each evening will present a thematic pairing of an artist film(s) with a cinema feature, showcasing the diverse and innovative possibilities of science-fiction storytelling.

Screenings take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from July 16–25, 2024, and begin after sunset.

With Peggy AhweshNeïl BeloufaClaire DenisMati DiopMaha MaamounIsadora Neves MarquesJesse McLeanAlain ResnaisBen Rivers, and Larissa Sansour.


I. Mind and Machine
Tuesday, July 16, 2024, 8:30pm

The films in this screening explore how technology shapes human experiences, perception of the world, and ethical considerations, reflecting on the limits and potentials of communication, memory, and identity.

Jesse McLean, See a Dog, Hear a Dog (2016, 18 minutes)
See a Dog, Hear a Dog examines the evolving relationship between humans and technology. The film juxtaposes a voice synthesizer recounting its own limitations with footage of dogs being trained and observed, highlighting the disconnect between intent and communication. Through this, McLean explores themes of artificial intelligence, human-animal relationships, and the imperfections of communication technology.

Alain Resnais, Je t’aime, je t’aime (1968, 94 minutes)
Je t’aime, je t’aime follows Claude Ridder, a man recovering from a suicide attempt, who is selected to participate in a time-travel experiment. Instead of a brief journey, he experiences fragmented episodes from his past, exploring themes of memory, regret, and the nonlinear nature of time. The film combines elements of sci-fi with a deep psychological narrative, highlighting the complexities of human experience and technological intervention.

II. Existential Frontiers
Thursday, July 18, 2024, 8:30pm

The works in this screening invite viewers to explore the depths of human isolation and the necessity for self-rediscovery in the end times, and under different conditions of survival. The films delve into the psychological and existential challenges faced by individuals in isolated, futuristic settings, where they confront their inner fears and demons, and are forced to reflect on the failures of humanity.

Ben Rivers, Urth (2016, 20 minutes)
Urth is a meditative science-fiction film set in a futuristic botanical lab as part of the failed Biosphere experiment. The film follows a solitary scientist as she tends to the lab’s plant life and reflects on the implications of humanity’s impact on the environment. Rivers uses a mix of observational footage and speculative narration to explore themes of ecological collapse, solitude, and the Anthropocene. Urth could be seen as a commentary on humanity’s relationship with nature and the potential futures we are creating.

Claire Denis, High Life (2018, 113 minutes)
High Life follows a group of death-row inmates sent on a mission to extract energy from a black hole. The film focuses on Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his daughter (Juliette Binoche), the last survivors of the mission, as they navigate the isolation and existential challenges of space. Denis explores themes of humanity, reproduction, and the ethics of scientific experimentation. The film’s haunting visuals and philosophical depth make it a compelling exploration of human existence in extreme conditions.

III. Speculative Futures and Fabricated Memories
Tuesday, July 23, 2024, 8:30pm

The films in this screening explore how speculative narratives manipulate and empower the understanding of the past and future. They investigate futures where memory and historical narratives are reconstructed to serve different purposes.

Maha Maamoun, 2026 (2010, 8 minutes)
An iconic scene from Chris Marker’s film La Jetée (1962) of a man traveling back in time in post-apocalyptic Paris is re-enacted here in a deserted building in contemporary Egypt. The reading of an excerpt from The Revolution of 2053: The Beginning (2007), an Arabic-language science-fiction novel by Egyptian author Mahmoud Osman, has been dubbed over the photographic sequence. Maha Maamoun created this video a year before the revolution of 2011 that toppled then-resident Hosni Mubarak. The afterlife of 2026 in the Egyptian political context lends an additional resonance to a work already meditating on the nature of memory, teleology, and cause and effect relations. Viewed today, the video appears to foretell real-world events, while returning us to the present time of its production on the eve of a revolution by narrating a scene set on the threshold of a fictional revolution.

Larissa Sansour, In the Future They Ate From the Finest Porcelain (2015, 29 minutes)
In the Future They Ate From the Finest Porcelain blends live action and CGI to tell the story of a Palestinian resistance group planting fictional archaeological evidence to influence historical narratives. The film explores themes of identity, heritage, and the power of storytelling. Sansour uses a speculative premise to comment on the political manipulation of history and the construction of cultural memory.

Neïl Beloufa, Kempinski (2007, 14 minutes)
Kempinski is a science-fiction documentary set in a village in Mali, where the inhabitants are invited to describe their visions of the future as if they were living them in the present. Beloufa’s film blurs the lines between reality and fantasy, capturing surreal and speculative narratives that challenge our perceptions of time and identity. This work fits seamlessly with the theme of reconstructed memories and speculative futures, offering a unique perspective on how present identities shape imagined worlds.

IV. Supernatural Agency and Queer Futures
Thursday, July 25, 2024, 8:30pm

Films in this screening explore how speculative and supernatural elements address themes of gender, power, and resistance. These films depict futures where women reclaim agency and challenge oppressive structures through supernatural means.

Isadora Neves Marques, The Pudic Relation Between Machine and Plant (2016, 2 minutes)
A laboratorial image of sexuality beyond humans. In a simple, looped scene a robotic hand fingers a “sensitive plant””—Mimosa pudica, a species characteristic for closing on itself when touched. Iconic within the history of botany, the plant has posed questions such as: Did it have a nervous system? Was it a plant or an animal? It also overflows with sexual innuendos: Its name comes from botanist Carl Linnaeus sexual taxonomy of plants, pudica referring both to external sexual organs and shyness or modesty; and in Erasmus Darwin’s 1789 poem “The Loves of the Plants,” it is compared to botanist Joseph Banks’s infamous sexual encounters in the tropics.

Peggy Ahwesh, The Third Body (2007, 8 minutes)
The Third Body is an experimental film that explores the intersections of gender, technology, and identity. Using a combination of found footage, documentary-style interviews, and narrative segments, Ahwesh creates a complex narrative that challenges traditional notions of identity and selfhood. The film examines how technology mediates our understanding of our bodies and identities, making it a thought-provoking exploration of contemporary themes.

Mati Diop, Atlantics (2019, 106 minutes)
Atlantics is a supernatural romance set in Dakar, Senegal. The film follows Ada, a young woman whose lover Souleiman disappears at sea along with other migrant workers. As strange occurrences begin to happen, Ada discovers that the spirits of the lost workers have returned to seek justice. Diop addresses themes of migration, economic inequality, and spiritual resilience. The film’s blend of social realism and supernatural elements creates a poignant and haunting narrative.

For more information, contact program [​at​]

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July 9, 2024

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