April 8 – 9, 1999
The future that almost wasn’t was a live performance for audio and video produced collaboratively by T. Kelly Mason and Diana Thater. The work combined contemporary electronic music, composed and performed by T. Kelly Mason with guest DJs Chris Wilder and David Hollander, along with a video projection environment, edited and created live by Diana Thater with guest VJs Jessica Bronson and Jessica Lane. A 2500 square foot room was lined with white vinyl screens that soften the architecture and and serve as a scrim for the projection of images. Within the room was a station from which the VJs and DJs perform.
This performance addressed the way viewers process information. Viewers may become one with the environment through complete consciousness of, and participation in the complex of things happening in the art space. The future that almost wasn’t addresses the relationship between art and technology in 20th century art and examines the moment of their merging in the 1960s avant-garde performance scene. Billy KlŸver once identified “the artist [as] a positive force in perceiving how technology can be translated to new environments to serve needs and provide variety and enrichment of life.” The future that almost wasn’t addresses a history of 20th century artistic efforts to explore and create relationships between music and visual art. For example, the electronic music of this performance reflects both the current use of tropes in techno and house music as well as their historical precedents in the complex audio environments designed by composers such as David Tudor and Gordon Mumma. The mutual dependence of the past and the present are drawn out as well in the multiple simultaneous video projections. The VJs cull their material equally from film, television, and art, mixing images from the entire history of moving pictures freely with the tapes they have shot themselves and with live images being shot in the space.