Better Future, Wolf-Shaped [16mm transferred to DVD, 15 min., 2008]

Better Future, Wolf-Shaped is the second film in the Future Trilogy. In November 2005, IKEA announced a new store opening in Edmonton to be accompanied by an offer of a significant price reduction on leather sofas. When 6000 people arrived to compete for the discount, a riot ensued, injuring 16 shoppers. The Future trilogy takes this event as the starting point for a speculative history of a fictional future. The Future for Less (2006) imagines the consumer riot as the foundation of a new totalitarian state religion imposing the tenets of modernism on the masses. In Better Future, Wolf-Shaped (2008), a rural cult perverts this official creed through pagan rituals of architectural worship performed at Celtic burial sites in Cornwall. The final instalment, The Future is Now (2009), similarly shot on 16mm colour film, stages the triumphant conquest of the industrial wasteland surrounding IKEA Edmonton as a popular uprising, revisiting the original riot as a future reenactment.

In Better Future, Wolf-Shaped, a peripheral cult of worshipers fashions its own offerings to their Modernist ancestors in the form of architectural models of their great monuments made of corn husk. These are ritually constructed and burnt against the background of Celtic sites in Cornwall, as the group dons makeshift salad bowl and lampshade helmets, leading up to a choreographed homage to the square, a short dance routine juxtaposing Beckett’s television plays Quad I and II, Bruce Nauman’s Dance or Exercise on the Perimeter of a Square (Square Dance) and industrial German band Die Tödliche Doris’ song, “Tanz im Quadrat”. The transition between these two modes of sacrament sets up an aberrant chronology, destabilizing the temporal cohesion of the narrative as past utopia or future event. Bringing together pagan ritual, the anti-traditions of modernism and popular film and music interpretations of the cult as a social unit, Better Future, Wolf-Shaped aims to trace connections between historical moments as much as write its own chronology of an alternative future history. The appropriation of consumer culture and the relationship between the mass produced and the hand made and customised becomes a field for questioning the potential of art as political action. Like the previous film, for which Quebec band Les Georges Leningrad were commissioned to make a soundtrack, the film is soundtracked by a specially composed musical score by Steven Kado. Better Future, Wolf-Shaped has been produced with the support of Film London and the London Artists Film and Video Award.

See Parts 1 and 3.