Locals see the future

On February 10, 2011, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Nave show: Art exhibit or prophet convention?

By Andrew Firestone

When Tim Devin initially decided to amass a compendium of thoughts figures and predictions for Somerville’s future last year, he had no idea where it might lead. On Saturday, standing in his installation at the Nave Gallery, he and the people of Somerville pool their resources, and perhaps make the murky waters of the future a little clearer.

The new exhibit, spanning 90 years from 2010 to 2100, of Somerville history drew fortune tellers from across the city at its opening this weekend.

Combining predictions from NGOs specializing in world health, the futurist leanings of Ray Kurweil, and several off-the-wall Somervilliens, the future holds everything from humans marrying robots, to a two-decade annexation war between Cambridge and Somerville. Devin was not surprised with the outpouring of predictions for the war, but the results remain to be seen.

“Inman square, Porter Square, most of these shops are in Cambridge,” said Devin, “it seems to me just from talking to people [who] feel Somerville just got the shaft in a number of ways. So wouldn’t it be nice if Somerville expanded a little bit?”

Devin said, “It is what people want: they want more business districts in Somerville. They want more economic stimulus in Somerville.”

Other prophecies were placed within the timeline as well at the gallery opening on Friday, including Irina Rasputnis’s belief that the Good Time Emporium would return to Somerville in 2025, taking the spot of the old Star Market on Broadway.

Some art enthusiasts did not believe Somerville’s future augured well. “I’m a pessimist, so I don’t think it’s going to be such a rosy scenario,” said Robin Inman. “I’m envisioning a lot of global strife and discord and scarcity and climate change causing major disruption.”

Another area in which the divination process appeared mixed was the arrival of the Green Line extension in Somerville. While some, including Devin, predicted the forecasted year of 2015, or perhaps in the 2020’s, many were not as hurried in their process.  “This exhibit only goes until 2100, so I’m going to say that’s going to be a different exhibit, and it’ll be in 2200,” said Paul Johns.

But towards the end of time, the future holds many wonders yet to be seen. Tania Maria believes that 2100 will see teleportation, androids that can imitate human thought and time travel, but stopped short of alien-human hybrids. “I don’t think that will happen,” she said.

Find out more at the project’s Web site:   http://timdevin.com/historyofsomerville.html   or visit the Nave Gallery.

– Photos by Andrew Firestone


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