The Future Is Not What It Used To Be

January 1, 1970

Is the merging of man and machine really possible? Or has it already happened? This is a film about 1960s avant-garde music and film, the early history of microcomputers and the open questions of 21st century science. It is also a portrait of the nuclear physicist/artist Erkki Kurenniemi (b. 1941), one of the unsung pioneers of early electronic art. Kurenniemi has been exploring the potential of virtual reality and interactive computer art in diverse projects since the early 1960s. The film is structured around Kurenniemi’s “manic collection project”, in which he constantly and feverishly recorded his thoughts, everyday observations, objects and images, with the ultimate aim of merging man and machine – thereby reconstructing the human soul.  (MT / translation: Silja Kudel)

“Erkki Kurenniemi’s journey from future-minded visionary working at the interface of science and art, a fresh-faced young man who pioneered computers and robotics and kept one bright eye always on the stars above, to the haggard and slightly potty sixty-something frantically collating the remains of his last days for the benefit of some future race of curators strikes me as perfect parable of our times.” – Simon Reynolds: Retromania – Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past, (Faber&Faber 2011, London).

Cinematography: Jussi Eerola, Sound Design: Olli Huhtanen, Music: Erkki Kurenniemi, Jukka Ruohomäki, Sähkökvartetti, György Ligeti, Production: Kinotar / Ulla Simonen, Lasse Saarinen

watch the trailer

Selected screenings

  • Zwei Tage Strom, Filmpodium Zürich, Switzerland, 2024
  • Damage/Control, Padiglione dell’Esprit Nouveau, Bologna, Italy, 2020
  • Close-Up Cinema, London, UK, 2017
  • Goethe Institut London, UK, 2016
  • Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, 2014
  • La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain, 2014
  • IFFR Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2013
  • On The Spot #4, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany, 2008
  • Arctic Hysteria, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 2008
  • Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, USA, 2008
  • Lost & Found, S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium, 2007
  • Lustforlife, The Breeder Gallery, Athens, 2006
  • Human Engineering, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, Switzerland, 2005
  • Hotel Futuro, Spacex Gallery, Exeter, UK, 2005
  • Electrohype, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden, 2005
  • 3rd Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany 2004
  • Heavy Snowflakes, Ex Teresa Space for Contemporary Art, Mexico City, 2004
  • Heavy Snowflakes, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Argentina 2004
  • 49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Czech Republic, 2003
  • Transparente: interni e esterni, Centro Nazionale per le Arti Contemporanee, Rome, 2003