Kay, Emma

Born 1961, England
Lives in London


Emma Kay’s work deals with individual memory in relation to authoritative discourse. For "The Future From Memory," Kay created a text referring to theories of the future that draws from a variety of sources, ranging from science to spirituality, from culture to economics. But the text does not directly reference any specific source: it is based solely on the artists recollections of her wide-ranging materials. The film projects the text in an animated scroll that aptly resembles the title sequence of "Star Wars."

Democracy, as is evident from the fevered punditry around the current presidential campaign, is charged with anticipation and speculation about the future. It is, one could say, addicted to futurity. In integrating various ideas and voices into one memory, one discontinuous stream of conscience or consciousness, Kay addresses fundamentally democratic conflicts and questions: if the outcome of democracy is always deferred, does our subjective future remain forever open? If the future is both the object of constant anticipation in a process of endless debate and, at the same time, constituted through this process, is democracy essentially a mandate to challenge any authoritative claim to objective knowledge and truth?

Emma Kay, Future 1.jpg

The Future From Memory 2001

Digital animation, projected

Approximately 12’ x 16’; 55 minutes, looped

Courtesy the artist and Galeria Toni Tàpies, Barcelona