We have received funding for 2024-2025 to develop a third artwork as part of the When The Future Comes Project – ‘The Cabinet of Curious Places’. This new touring artwork will tell the wider story of the project, stories of the people, places and ecologies in the five places across England where the ongoing artists interventions and annual appearances of the Future Machine take place.
Over the next year, we will be designing, building, exhibiting and evolving The Cabinet of Curious Places. We will be working evolving our own iterative design and storytelling process, beginning with a Cabinet Day in March when all the collaborating artists will come together online to chose an artifact and media element to place in the cabinet, to help tell the story of When the Future Comes. As the cabinet emerges we will build a story of the entangled people, places and ecologies that are bound together by the annual, seasonal journeys and appearances of Future Machine in Peppard in Oxfordshire, Christ Church Gardens in Nottingham, Cannington in Somerset, the Windermere-Leven watershed in Cumbria and Finsbury Park in London.
The Story of Three Artworks – Future Machine, Rituals for When the Future Comes & The Cabinet of Curious Places
The seed of the When The Future Comes project originally began in 2018 when Rachel Jacobs was funded by the Arts Council of England with support from Horizon, University of Nottingham to run a series of artist labs with artists Juliet Robson, Frank Abbott, Wallace Heim, Caroline Locke and Matt Watkins. These took place, in place, in Oxfordshire, Nottingham, Cumbria and Nottinghamshire as part of the Performing the Future project. A series of experiments resulted from the process that were presented at Nottingham Contemporary as part of the ‘When The Future Comes‘ first event, co-hosted and supported by the Fate, Luck and Fortune research project led by Prof Esther Eidinow.
In 2019 Rachel was commissioned by Furtherfield (again co-funded by the Arts Council of England with support from Horizon, University of Nottingham) to develop and build Future Machine, through a series of public workshops, creating a new enduring collaboration with musicians Alex Dayo and Dave Kemp, to create the music of the weather played out by Future Machine, and artist Esi Eshun who was to later to also become one of the collaborating artists in London. This artwork that is at the heart of the project was launched in Finsbury Park in November 2019, ready for the 30 year project to officially begin in the unknowingly shocking year of 2020.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, Rachel Jacobs continued collaborating with artists Wallace Heim, Juliet Robson and Frank Abbott whilst they were each locked down in place on the River Lea in London, in Nottingham, by the River Leven in Cumbria and in Peppard, Oxfordshire. Rituals in place began to emerge from the process of staying in place. Later in 2020 the Arts Council of England again funded the project to develop new community engagements and newly formed rituals for a world impacted by the pandemic as well as the ongoing changes to the people, climate and ecologies of each place, returning to each place as we could over two years, whilst planning to continue to return for 30 years – until 2050.
In 2022 and 2023 Future Machine continued the seasonal journeys, wayfaring between Oxfordshire, Nottingham, Somerset, Cumbria and London. The rituals and engagements with the people, place and ecologies evolved as they could, the Lakes School and Cannington Primary joined the project as long term partners and the artists and musicians in London were invited by Furtherfield to be part of a long term residence, in place, at the Commons in Finsbury Park. Despite not having funding for the most part of 2022/23 the project grew, shifted shape and settled into its own rituals and rhythms.
From this time of going back to bare bones, emerged ideas for how to sustain the journey and the rituals and the story for the next 26 years. As part of the new funding and The Cabinet of Curious Places we will learn how to tell the story of when the future comes, how to sustain this work for our lifetimes and weave new people and stories as the world continues turning.