Welcome to the Future!

19 March - 26 April 2015
Welcome to the Future!

The floppy cd-rom revolution

In 2015 iMAL, in collaboration with PACKED, the Flemish Centre of Expertise in Digital Heritage, will present a series of exhibitions, workshops and symposiums on Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age. The exhibition Welcome to the Future! is the first event of this program and highlights the short life of born-digital art.

Welcome to the Future! proposes a historical selection of art & culture cd-roms and electronic artworks published on floppies, mostly produced in the 90s. It presents early pioneering works in new media and digital arts, conveying many visions and utopias around the upcoming digital world. It shows the dynamism of pre-web electronic publishing, featuring remarkable experimentations in hypertext and hypermedia narration and documentation, in User Interface design before the normative ergonomy of the web and its dotcoms, in the aesthetic of interactivity, in playable interactions between sounds and images, in generative art and digital literature. Their platform was the Personal Computer which was becoming the ubiquitous computing appliance that prepared today's digital world.

Welcome to the Future! is not only about the history of 20-years-old new media art, but also about the future of today's born-digital content. Cd-rom and floppy artworks are emblematic examples of the preservation problem of born-digital content. Playing these 20-years-old contents on contemporary machines is already impossible now, and will be as well within 5 to 10 years for any software-based art that is produced today (from digital artworks to ebooks, apps and webdocs). Without substantial R&D effort in preservation methodologies and technologies, without political decisions regarding software publishers, main internet actors and IPR issues, without a profound analysis of the roles and actions of museums for born-digital content, born-digital art will soon be dead, lost for future generations. This is why iMAL is iniiating a new R&D project, the Resurrection Lab.

Thanks to collectors, artists and media art organizations in Europe, USA, Japan and Australia, Welcome to the Future! shows a selection 100 cd-roms and floppies (including some rare items).

The works are presented along 3 themes: (1) Visions, utopias and politics of the upcoming digital world, (2) New art forms and artistic digital expressions (3) Documents on contemporary arts. A fourth section deals with digital collection and heritage : (4) Heritage.
This website follows the same structure (see the corresponding tabs 1, 2, 3, 4) providing introduction texts by Marie Lechner and detailled notices on the exhibited items.
The last tab Interviews proposes interviews with 6 actors active in electronic publishing in the 90's: Bob Stein (Voyager), Geert Lovink, Etienne Mineur, Antoine Schmitt, Suzanne Treister and Pierre Lavoie.

All works are presented with their original packaging (box, booklet,...) and the visitors are able to play with them on vintage computers or on today hardware with emulation software.

Artists and publishers

Artists: Laurie Anderson, Jean-Pierre Balpe, Bill Barminski, Pierre Bastien & Karel Doing, Zoe Beloff, S.Bilous & F.Lagny & B.Piacenza, Simon Biggs, Jean-Louis Boissier, Philippe Bootz, Gareth Browyn & Peter Sugarman, Andy Cameron, Marc Canter, Leon Cmielewski & Josephine Starrs, David Cunningham & Stephen Partridge, Linda Dement, Antoine Denize, Masaki Fujihata, Michel François, Jim Gasperini & Tennessee R. Dixon, Peter Gabriel, Alain Geronnez, Clive Gillman, Sophie Greenfield & Giles Rollestone, Paul Groot & Jans Possel, Graham Harwood, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Troy Innocent, Jodi, Tamara Laï, George Legrady, Jaime Levy, Marita Liulia, John Maeda, Antonio Muntadas, The Residents, Antoine Schmitt & Vincent Epplay, Keith Seward & Eric Swenson (Necro Enema Amalgamated), Mari Soppela & Leo Anemaet, Alberto Sorbelli, John Thackara, Florian Thalhofer, Suzanne Treister, Gerald Van der Kaap, Die Veteranen, Romain Victor-Pujebet,...

Publishers: Centre Pompidou (FR), Digitalogue (JP), Ellipsis (UK), Gallimard (JP), Gas as Interface (JP), Hyptique (FR), Mediamatic (NL), Necro Enema Amalgamated (USA), Voyager (USA), ZKM (DE),...

Practical Info

Opening: Thursday 19 March

19 March - 26 April 2015
Wed-Sun, 13:00-18:00

Free entrance!

Facebook event

Group visits
02 410 30 93

Location: iMAL
30 quai des Charbonnages - Koolmijnenkaai
1080 Brussels

Media Gallery


Welcome to the Future! is curated by Yves Bernard (iMAL) and Dirk Paesmans (jodi.org), with the collaboration of Marie Lechner (Libération, Pamal.org), Emanuel Lorrain (PACKED) and Yannick Antoine (iMAL). Scenography by Damien Gernay, Graphical Design by Isabel Debry.

Welcome to the Future! is produced by iMAL in collaboration with Packed vzw. Many thanks to the artists, publishers and collectors, to Sandra Fauconnier and Annet Dekker, to V2_, to Pierre Lavoie, Bob Stein, Leonardo/Olats (Annick Bureaud), the bwFLA team (University of Freiburg), PointCulture, PILen, Studio Sébastien LacomblezERG and Nadine vzw.