Future Proof by Douglas Kelaher
High Street Project
Future Proof is a waiting room or a room waiting for a future
that never happened. Kelaher has drawn on early sci-fi notions of
our time; like the utopian paradise conceived by Fritz Lang's in
his version of H.G. Well's Things To Come; and the sophisticated
white on white aesthetic of the space opera genre.
During fifties and sixties amidst the flourishing golden age of
sci-fi it would have been perfectly conceivable that at the turn
of the millennium people would be living in space, or maybe a moon-base,
at the very least we'd have a manned mission to Mars. The future
would be a clean, efficient place inhabited by cultured, elegant
people, probably dressed in togas, Future Proof is their
room. Kelaher's refined furniture now seem like anachronistic relics;
just as the futuristic visions of the past now seem ridiculously
implausible, indeed with the closing of Mir it seems humanities
dream of heavenly conquest is at an end.
The objects were all conceived with the High Street Project space
in mind. Viewers progress through the rooms in an almost cinematic
atmosphere thanks to the layouts continuity, their eyes led by a
semi circular wall of polished white blocks, behind it waiting to
be discovered is a table emitting a strong white light beneath it.
This hints at a cross influence between Kelaher and ex-Dunedin sculptor
Emma Bugden. The second room contains three giant white kina on
a bed of white stones; they bubble away, their open tops covered
in pink foam. These are the alien eggs of the Lost in Space
era, when aliens were big blobs or laughable blue men in rubber
suits before H.R. Giger's Aliens permanently darkened our
naïve view of space. In many respects Kelaher's work is a reminder
of how far we have failed to progress on so many cultural and humanistic
levels when the past visions of our present future seemed so promising.