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”All art is quite useless”, wrote Oscar Wilde in the Picture of Dorian Gray, though of course that particular picture was the quite useful vessel for the wickedness, moral decline and the aging process of its eponymous protagonist. Art indeed, can be seen as a vessel containing reflections of the past and present,  fear, ugliness, beauty, along with hope for the future or what people fear or hope the future might hold. Beyond this metaphor and given the influence of art in how we speculate about the future(s), we explore some philosophical and artistic trajectories on the contribution of art in imagining futures, especially in relation to catastrophes and dystopias.

This panel will reflect on questions such as:

  • How can art contribute to the way we understand and imagine the future?
  • Do artists hold an ethical responsibility or must art be free from such constraints?


Jerry Määttä is an Associate Professor (docent) at the Department of Literature, Uppsala University. His research interests span from sociology of literature and the modern book market to ecocriticism, science fiction, disaster stories and fanzines/fan cultures. Several of his publications concern cultural representations of the (post-apocalyptic) future, science fiction, and popular literature. A couple of Jerry’s recent articles are ”The Future in Ruins: The Uses of Derelict Buildings and Monuments in Post-Apocalyptic Film and Literature”, in Broken Mirrors: Representations of Apocalypses and Dystopias in Popular Culture, eds. Joe Trotta, Houman Sadri & Zlatan Filipovic (Routledge 2019) and ”The Politics of Post-Apocalypse: Ideologies on Trial in John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids”, in Science Fiction, Ethics and the Human Condition, eds. Christian Baron, Peter Nicolai Halvorsen & Christine Cornea (Springer, 2017).

Jenny Sunesson is an artist, composer and writer, and assistant professor at Stockholm University of the Arts. Her practice ranges from field recording and conceptual sound art to  electroacoustic composition and documentary. She uses real life as a stage for her dark, tragic and sometimes comical work where real and invented characters and derogated stereotypes are forced to collaboration in the alternate story of hierarchies and normative power structure in our society. Jenny started off as a journalist working for newspapers and the public radio, (SR). She later studied at Dramatiska institutet and joined the renowned Electroacoustic music institute of Sweden (EMS). She eventually moved to the UK where she spent a large proportion of her adult life. “In the Lost and Found project”, Jenny writes, “I challenged my own sound making in opposition to a linear, capitalist, narrative tradition, dominated by visual culture. I wanted to explore the possibilities of sound as a counterpart material risking our perception of what sound is and what it can do. By randomly multilayering uncategorised sound scraps the work emerged to “produce itself” and I began to catch glimpses of alternative sound worlds and sites. I called the method fragmenturgy (fragmented dramaturgy) and the alternative realities that were created; fragmedialities (fragmented mediality, fragmented reality).”


Panos Leventis is a professor at the Hammons School of Architecture of Drury University in Springfield. He has been practicing Architecture as a licensed Architect in Cyprus and Greece since the mid-1990s, with numerous built projects and four awarded entries in national and international Architectural and Urban Design competitions. His research and scholarship engage the past, present and future of cities. Departing from his doctoral dissertation in 2004, he authored "Twelve Times in Nicosia. Nicosia, Cyprus, 1192-1570: Architecture, Topography and Urban Experience in a Diversified Capital City". Since 2012, he has also been researching the socio-urban upheavals that sprang forth in the context of the 2008 global “financial crisis”. He has used Athens and Nicosia as his primary case studies for this research, focusing on graffiti, street art and urban resistance movements as understood via the lens of public space and participatory urban processes. He has published and lectured on this work in Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Poland, Sweden and the U.S.