Bursting with a great narrative à la modern, Homo-? takes as a starting point the main social, cultural and technological human learnings of the past that have taken place in the Western world in order to explore an utopian prediction of the future.
Conceived as a visual essay, the main piece of the exhibition presents through a large-format animated photographic work (‘virtual triptych’) a ‘retro-prospective’ of human evolution. In it, Custic compares our anachronistic present –marked by the temporal simultaneity that the Internet provides– not with the fragmentary retro-futurist past of postmodernism (see the obsolete future of Blade Runner or Akira), but with the past of our species. While the narrative arch of the triptych begins narrating the ‘future of the past’, that is, a future based on what has already happened, it ends with a prospective vision of the ‘actual future’. A future based on our most immediate present, in which some branches of science and technology such as information technology, artificial intelligence, medicine, nanotechnology, energy production and astronautics are omnipresent.
However, Homo-? does not consist in a mere chronology of the passage of time, for an objective conventional past does not occur. It is more of a chronicle of the evolutionary process of humanity based on memory, with its anachronistic leaps and associative pluralities. In front of the triptych, the spectator has to put themself in the shoes of the historian, acting simultaneously as a receiver and an interpreter. In this sense, technology is a crucial point in Homo-? not only as a reflection of our immediate present, but as a tool to increase the exhibition experience of the visitor. In addition to 3D animation, the show incorporates a strong immersive component thanks to the experimentation with augmented reality and audio guides in holophonic format that accompany the visitor through the narration of this meta-history of humankind.
Ever since Custic’s beginnings in the art world, his work has been framed within a significantly metamodern aesthetic. Far from rejecting what is different, seemingly contradictory concepts go hand in hand: body and spirit, art and science, order and chaos. These notions converge in a unique universe that resumes the realistic and ideal forms of modernism along with the stylistic techniques and conventions of postmodernism. Whether through his references to the history of art or his artistic technique, the truth is that Custic works as a digital artisan would, capable of reinterpreting and re-evaluating the contemporary potential of the past. In fact, Custic conceives his images as ‘virtual paintings’, that is, digital canvases endowed with a strong pictorial component in which manual dexterity and digital edition are combined.
In a society in which irony prevails, taking the weight of history seriously is probably the most controversial criticism to be made. This is how Custic approaches our species, playfully recovering the weight of grand narratives –so criticised since postmodernism– without denying the heterogeneous and rhizomatic nature of time. Indeed, before the pre-eminently catastrophist ethos of postmodernism, Homo-? is presented as a refuge for redemption, returning to the idea that technological progress also brings with it new cultural forms and inviting us, all in all, to imagine new futures and realities.