Old Future's Almanac

Old Future's Almanac



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"This is the first edition of (THE) OLD FUTURE'S ALMANAC, and the second annual publication by Flatland, a small studio and project space located in the McKinley Park neighborhood of Chicago, IL. Our Previous publication, THE HOLE BLACK HOLE CATALOG, was an update of Stewart Brand's WHOLE EARTH CATALOG, and used the form of that 1970s post-hippie staple to mine what might have changed in the near fifty-years that has passed since its publication. The year's annual also examines the passage of time, although less mired in the stalled history of potential utopias (the WEC's m.o. after all). Rather, it parses through the FEELING of the passage of time right now.

For the eagle-eyed reader out there, it's possible that you might notice that this book looks an awful lot like the THE OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC, a staple of apple pie-cooling-on-the-windowsill Americana since 1792. THE OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC, once a legitimately useful tool for the American farmer, has long been disregarded as a metrically valuable device in terms of labor assistance, and is now a quaint product of American nostalgia. Love for THE OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC, almost exclusively the province of a much older generation, seems to be on account of its foregone novelty, a symbol of "simpler" times. To this end, like any form of nationalized nostalgia, it carries with it an unintentional burden that differs from the Reader's Digests and Crossword Puzzle books it shares company with on drug and grocery store magazine racks. THE OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC'S purpose for existing rests largely on tradition, and tradition, as we have seen with the dismantling of many monuments to some of U.S. history's greatest monsters, is long overdue for a reckoning.

This is not to say that THE OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC is not charming, or that it should be demolished, dismantled, or destroyed. Rather, its role as yet another symbol of bygone Americana should be investigated as the rather ubiquitous material micro-aggression that it is. It is for this reason that (THE) OLD FUTURE'S ALMANAC takes on THE OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC'S form. If THE OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC is an ongoing and largely inaccurate forecasting model, sustained by nostalgia, then its seems also a pertinent model to deconstruct and use to examine what we'll call (only temporarily) our NOW TIME (in which predicting anything at all seems a fool's errand). The infinite avalanche of what the cognescenti call the "24 Hour News Cycle" has lead to an endless stream of pontificating and reporting on things deemed eventful, and thus, a near impenetrable molasses of unpredictability.

Social forecasters spin, but how could they possibly predict anything under such conditions? If we add other factors to this inexhaustible media hunger - the epistemological efficiency of the doctrine of Donald Trump (permitting a reality of one's choosing), the ELASTIC TIME that has been an attribute of our COVID quarantine (bringing your job's time theft clauses into your living space), and, of course, the real changes that are happening on Earth as a result of climate change - we have not only a real mess, but also the seeds of a pretty grim looking future. AND YET! This possible future can still be the OLD FUTURE. Perhaps we can better understand the OLD FUTURE by really diving into its tenets. This is the purpose of this little booklet, a tiny excavation into the much of the OLD FUTURE, not to bum you out in a playful way, but instead to suggest that other, better, different, and possible NEW FUTURES are in reach if we can just muster up the vision to imagine them."

The almanac features over thirty contributors, including Aaron Walker, Alden Burke, Allison Knowles, Andre Alves, Andrea Reyes, Annea Lockwood, Austin McCann, Breanne Trammell, Chris Reeves, Curtis Miller, Carole Finer, Danny Floyd, Elana Adler, Emma Willard, Fabienne Elle, Gabriel Lewis Chalfin-Piney, Isaac Hand, Jenn Smith, Jesse Malmed, Julian Van Der Moere, Julie Winter, Kayla Anderson, Katya Oicherman, Kelly Kristin Jones, Kyle Schlie, Lauren Sudbrink, Dr. Loi Medvin, Malte Stiehl, Mieko Shiomi, Nick Swartsell, Paul Jennings, Priya Kambli, Sanja Sarman, Simon Anderson, Soheila Azadi, Spaulding Taylor, Tamara Becerra Valdez, Team B, Win Ng, Wyatt Niehaus and more.

Printed December 2020
196 pages

Handmade, edition of 100

For more information about Flatland, previous and upcoming events and publications, visit flatland.online

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