Time Capsule 2045

Collective exhibition
Palais des Beaux-arts de Paris , 7th to 23rd May 2021

With Time Capsule 2045 Art by Translation (ENSAPC-ESAD TALM) and Lab’Bel invite 17 artists to project themselves in time and address new works to the future.


17 Time Capsules for 2045

 A project conceived by Art by Translation and Lab’Bel.


Time capsules are objects or artworks intended to be discovered after variable periods of time. As a form of address to future generations, they bear witness to the present era, as much as they imagine the future. In today’s anxious ecological and political context, this exhibition proposes questioning the notion of “time capsule” with the aim of  sending new works to the future. Seventeen artists, whose work often involves complex trajectories and temporalities, have been invited to place a work known only to themselves in an archival box that will be opened 25 years from now.

Participating artists: Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil, Keren Benbenisty, Christophe Berdaguer & Marie Péjus, Joi Bittle, Charbel-joseph H. Boutros, Julia E. Dyck, Maíra Dietrich, Daniel Frota, Mark Geffriaud, Kenneth Goldsmith, Paula Hayes, Zoe Leonard, Falk Messerschmidt, Gala Porras-Kim, Suha Traboulsi, Yann Sérandour, Pedro Zylbersztajn.

Curatorial team: Maud Jacquin, Sébastien Pluot with Laurent Fiévet, Silvia Guerra, Julien Sirjacq.
A project proposed by Art by Translation (ENSAPC-ESAD TALM) and Lab’Bel, the artistic lab of the Bel group, in partnership with Les Beaux-Arts de Paris, La Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Paris-Saclay (ENS) and the Studio Adrien Gardère.

Sound works that imagine 2045

In parallel with the Time Capsules, artists, musicians, writers and theorists from different disciplines have been invited to create sound pieces imagining 2045, the year when the boxes will be opened. In an attempt to emancipate ourselves from the feeling of impotence provoked by the current situation, and against the vision of a predictable future reduced to calculations of probabilities, the second part of the project emphasizes the importance of anticipation and speculative fiction in revealing the multiple possibilities inscribed in the present, and thereby inviting us to action.

These sound works will be preserved and made accessible to the public through several kinds of recording media (vinyl, audio cassette, CD, Mp3, etc.), which will thus be subjected to the effects of time. Experiencing the transformation of recording technologies raises questions about programmed obsolescence and more generally about issues of data conservation.

Some of these sound works will also be performed live during the three days of events organized at the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Paris.

With sound works by Pierre Alferi and Rodolphe Burger, Henry Andersen and Bryana Fritz (Slow Reading Club) feat. Charlie Usher, Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips (Black Quantum Futurism), Matteo Barsuglia, Dominique Blais and Kerwin Rolland, Xavier Boussiron and Julien Tiberi, Tyler Coburn, Maíra Dietrich, Julia E. Dyck, Louise Hervé and Clovis Maillet, Hanne Lippard, Falk Messerschmidt, Ariane Michel, Geoff Lowe and Jacqueline Riva (A Constructed World), Julien Sirjacq/The Bells Angels and Pedro Zylbersztajn.

With the sound pieces of students from the art schools of Paris, Paris-Cergy and Angers: Carl Amiard, Jade Boudet, Lina Filipovich, Claire Jacques, César Kaci, Jiyeon Kim, Loick Mfoundou, Théo Pall, Lois Saumande, Lalie Thebault-Maviel, Jing Yuan.

The exhibitions

This exhibition at the Beaux-Arts de Paris is the first meeting point of a project that will develop over 25 years. The exhibition will then travel to different contexts that will be revealed later.

Each exhibition will bring together the 17 Time Capsules, each one of them sealed in an archival box, and the various analog and digital media make the sounds available to the audience. The whole project is presented on a display structure designed with Adrien Gardère. At each stage, new sound pieces and performances will be created.

In 2045, we plan to organize an event during which the Time Capsules will be unveiled to the public.

Some thoughts on the Time Capsules

If time capsules have invaded popular culture, they also offer a prism through which one can view art history. Indeed, art history abounds with more or less voluntary temporal suspensions. For example, we can think of the interdiction stipulated by artist Hilma af Klint to exhibit her abstract paintings for twenty years after her death because she believed that the world was not yet ready to understand her work. We can also refer to Marcel Duchamp’s A Bruit Secret (1916), to Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules, (1974-1987) or to Daniel Spoerri’s Lunch in the Grass (1983), which detract from the gaze to emphasize the multiplicity of meanings, question our fetishistic relationship to objects, and encourage an “archeological” attention to the present time.

In the mid-1970s, a decade marked by profound social and cultural upheavals, the artist Stephen Antonakos chose to project himself into a phantasmatic future, the 2000s, by inviting Richard Artschwager, Daniel Buren, Sol LeWitt and Robert Ryman to each place a work in a “Time box”, whose contents were revealed at the turn of the 21st century.

Although of very different nature, all of these time capsules raise the question of the trajectory of artworks not only from a material perspective—will they be preserved? In what state will they reappear? —but also from the perspective of their interpretation. For, as soon as they detach themselves from their authors, the works are confronted with political, intellectual and social contexts that transform their meanings. By drawing attention to different moments of the works’ reception, time capsules underline the way in which they are “translated” by the changing configurations of the world they encounter.

 The team and the display

Some of the sound works presented in this exhibition will be created during workshops organized by Art by Translation.

A workshop at the Beaux-Arts de Paris organized with Julien Sirjacq and with the participation of the 2021 Art by Translation fellows and of students from the art schools of Paris, Cergy and Angers (Beaux-Arts de Paris, ENSA-Paris Cergy, ESAD TALM-Angers) allowed us to explore the historical and theoretical questions raised by the notion of “time capsule” and also to accompany the production of new sound works.

The scenography was designed by William Solis and Minh-Quang, students at the architecture school École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Paris-Malaquais in the context of a workshop with Adrien Gardère.

Art by Translation is a research and exhibition program co-directed by Maud Jacquin and Sébastien Pluot (art historians and curators), together with Renaud Auguste Dormeuil (artist and pedagogical co-director) and supported by the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy and the École supérieure d’art et de design TALM-Angers. It is also funded by the Ministry of Culture and collaborates with artistic and academic institutions in France and abroad.

Organized in sessions dedicated to a specific research theme, this itinerant program develops artistic and curatorial projects, conferences and publications in collaboration with museums, universities and art schools in Europe and North America.
Art by Translation is also a postgraduate program involving four international artists each year. These artists, who are selected following an open call for applications, contribute to all aspects of the program in its different international contexts, in particular by producing new works.

This session of Art by Translation is devoted to the political and aesthetic stakes of translation in the arts.

The 2019-2021 fellows are Julia E. Dyck, Maíra Dietrich, Falk Messerschmidt and Pedro Zylbersztajn.

For more information, see: https://www.artbytranslation.org/