Readings, installation & panel discussion
30 Nov 2023 · 7.00 pm

Always Near V: Choose Your Future

Venue: Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Pariser Str. 1, 10719 Berlin
Organized by Christina Ernst, Moritz Gansen, Hanna Hamel, Alexandra Heimes (all ZfL), Natalie Moser (University of Potsdam), Eva Stubenrauch (HU Berlin)

Choose Your Future
Readings, installation “Die drei Jahreszeiten” and panel discussion with Ann Cotten, Tim Holland, and Anja Kümmel

The finale of the event series “Always near” will make use of all event spaces at the ZfL. The authors Ann Cotten, Tim Holland, and Anja Kümmel will read 15-minute excerpts from their texts in parallel, offering completely different conceptions of the near future. The ZfL library will display the diorama “Die drei Jahreszeiten” (“The three seasons”). The audience will decide for themselves which reading they want to attend: choose your future. The evening will end with a joint panel discussion between the three authors.

The event is part of the conference Always Near. Nahe Zukunft in der Literatur der Gegenwart.

Always Near. Nahe Zukunft in der Literatur der Gegenwart

Every present has its own future. The genre of science fiction is known for explicitly reflecting the transformation of literary imaginations and designing principles of the future. Whereas classical science fiction prefers to tell stories of far-away worlds and times to speculatively explore the unknown future (and the status quo of their own present), contemporary literature is increasingly interested in such fictions that confront their readers not with the radical strangeness of faraway worlds, but instead with conceptions of the future that closely resemble our current reality.

But how, precisely, do contemporary literature’s speculative futures look like? What forms of representation and styles of writing are being employed? How are authors modelling events, turning points, and temporal structures? And to what extent are established differentiations—between utopia and dystopia, between realism and speculation—being put to the test or even subverted?

The event series “Always Near” is a cooperation between the project Neighborhood in Contemporary Berlin Literature at the ZfL and the University of Potsdam starting in fall of 2022. The different formats (readings and talks, podium discussions, and the closing conference) explore the question of what kind of future the most recent works of contemporary literature present us with. They will take place across different locations in Berlin.


Fig. above: Julien Girard: Mars, 2099?, 2012, © ESO/J. Girard, License: CC BY 4.0.