ERC Advanced Grant for the project: The anthropology of the future: An art world perspective (ANTHROFUTURE)

The cultural and social anthropologist Manuela Ciotti has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant. In the ANTHROFUTURE project, Ciotti is looking at the future of anthropology from the perspective of the art world, focusing geographically on the global South. The grant is endowed with around two and a half million euros. The programmes of the European Research Council (ERC) are intended to enable and advance basic-oriented pioneering research with high innovation potential.

The anthropology of the future: An art world perspective

The project ANTHROFUTURE shifts the focus of the anthropology of the future to the pandemic-induced acceleration of the future into the present. The project identifies the art world – historically featuring a high degree of experimentalism, a strong future-orientation, and, particularly in emerging markets in the global south, an openness to risk and speculation – as a crucial site for ground-breaking anthropological knowledge on the future. The pandemic forced the art world to quickly develop innovative digital solutions to replace physical events; the result is a new, fully integrated physical and digital system. While pre-pandemic scholarship on the art world largely focuses on institutions, professionals and activities as physical phenomena, there is no scholarship on this new digital-physical infrastructure. 

This project further acknowledges the global south as the most vital site for modeling the future by situating its research in India and Pakistan as active and mutually entangled art world locations. ANTHROFUTURE introduces three novel modes of inquiry: 1) systematic research on the digital-physical art world as an ethnographic site for the study of the future; 2) innovative multimodal methodologies for studying the future that combine in-person, digital and visual ethnography, large-scale social media data harvesting, and artist subprojects; 3) analytical and theoretical advancements on the future as a time zone in comparative terms and across the regional contexts.