This New Decade: the Future is Behind Us

Posted by on December 27, 2019 in TechMuse Blog, The Museum Learning Experience | 0 comments

This New Decade: the Future is Behind Us

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while now (as in, nearly seven years) — about the luncheon presentation at the AAM museum conference where Jason Jay Stevens attacked me with a stick. He came at me a few times — head on, then behind my back.

It was a setup, and we had a plan. We were co-presenting as featured speakers at the annual National Association of Museum Exhibition (NAME) lunch. Attendees at this luncheon are some of the most creative, fun, smart people I know — they’re the ones thinking up highly engaging exhibits across the country. And I knew a Powerpoint slideshow of projects wouldn’t cut it.

anticipating the exact moment of attack

Jason, of Flutter & Wow Museum Projects, created a cool ambient music video (see below) and gathered images of past public media spectacles. As for me, when in doubt, bring a jo staff and swing it around. Jason and I both practice martial arts (Kung Fu and Shintaido, respectively). In Shintaido, there’s a matter of timing, where you try to determine the exact moment a partner will attack you (or even anticipate that moment by a fraction of a second). And after getting comfortable when your partner is facing you, you turn your back, so they’re behind you, and use all your senses to anticipate that moment. Sensing…sensing…sensing…

This metaphor of facing the future backwards is helpful to me when facing something big and new. I often imagine walking backwards into the unknown venture. Rather than looking straight forward and charging ahead — “that’s what I want!” — play with it, with my back to it. What’s out there? Sensing…sensing…

There’s an additional layer to this — turns out that in the Aymara culture in Bolivia, the past is viewed as being in front of a person, and the future behind them. We can see the past (in front of us), but we can’t see the future. Another reason to go walking backwards into the future.

Jason’s ambient video set a retro future tone as people walked in the room
clash of the titans

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