THE FUTURE WITHOUT YOU
Max Pinckers & Thomas Sauvin
Published by Beijing Silvermine
& Lyre Press
Hardcover, 160 x 220 mm, 222 pages
Edition of 800 copies
Printed by L.capitan (Graphius), Ghent, Belgium
Graphic design by Ying Lei
Bank transfer: De Bedoeling vzw
IBAN: BE18 7350 3512 1765 / BIC: KREDBEBB
For this collaboration, Max Pinckers and Thomas Sauvin rummaged through 50.000 transparencies rescued from a recycling center in Beijing. This analog archive from the 1990s consists of stock photos that were produced in the US and ended up in China when a company subsidiary was opened to market them in a new territory.
The images in this archive cover a wide array of subjects, themes, and photographic styles. They were made with the sole intention of being purchased or licensed for nonspecific contexts. They represent an era of advertising when high-quality, generic visuals would be adopted by companies to avoid the expense and effort of arranging custom photoshoots.
With stock photography embodying the most capitalist form of imagery, Pinckers and Sauvin focused their selection on the world of corporate business, represented by actors of limited talent during a time of anxiety triggered by the arrival of the personal computer and the rise of the Internet.
Reconsidered 30 years later, there is something amusing—but also disturbing, even prophetic—about these images, which seem to have lost none of their relevance with the dawn of artificial intelligence.