The Future for Less is the first part of 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.
The Future for Less is a futuristic b-movie about a post IKEA riots society where art and high Modernist design have triumphed and Sunday DIY rituals are an underground cult. The film explores a distopian vision where Xerox drones (dressed in white suits and caps) patrol brutalist urban landscapes searching out high modern dissidents (in this case, dressed in a black suit with ziggurat-shaped shoulder pads). The suited rogue is stripped of the boxes of flat-pack furniture he was carrying and led into a den covered with constructivist sculpture. Supervised by the limb-less High-Priestess, the drones work with the furniture to imprison the man in his own geometrically spaced cage. The Future For Less presents an idiosyncratic mythological parable where the aesthetics of modernism form the foundation stones of a totalitarian religion. The film present a vision of a world where individuals who choose to erect Ikea DIY furniture are thwarted by an omniscient regime that insists on, and forcibly oversees the appropriation of these materials for use in only “good” modernist sculpture. The dominant governing forces in this world dispatch uniformed drones to enforce radical self-expression amongst the general populace. Here, the rhetoric of subversion and homogeneity are equated as a cultic-revolutionary B-movie farce, ironically transfiguring the operation of an ethics of freedom into a violent miasma. Amplifying this irony, the film self-consciously utilises a suitably ‘grainy’ film stock, and a provisional aesthetic for its mise en scene that mimics early twentieth century avant-garde film and theatre, reworking the Constructivist idealism of a collective imagination to produce a renewed bureaucraticized utopia of weekend flat-pack construction. The Future for Less was produced as part of the Cocheme Fellowship at Byam Shaw School of Art.
See Parts 2 and 3.