Clocking in just under twenty minutes, Herman Asselberghs Futur Antérieur is, for the most part, a decidedly ‘anti-retinal’ affair: it consists of fifteen minutes of utter, stifling blackness filled with quasi-intolerable noise and an occasional glimmer of distant, shimmering twilight. Nothing points to anything, and there are no signs of meaning to be gleaned from its abysmal eventlessness in any way — until the lo-fi barrage of sound (authored by Brussels-based avant noise quartet SPASM) subsides and the clouds part, even if only proverbially, to reveal an image of a four-year old kid in a Ferris wheel, beaming in the sunlight of his own smile. The boy’s own voice-over, in words too mature for his age, thus speaks of death and the vacuity of being, but also of their tangle in the future anterior or “this would have been” tense of life. Thus transcribing into language what we have just experienced in strictly sonic terms, both sound and image enacting the darkness, not light, that lurks at the end of the tunnel, both asserting the inescapable immediacy of all being: there is no time.
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