2050 A brief history of the future: Catalogue Exhibition RMFAB 11.09.2015 – 24.01.2016

Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique (MRBAB)
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What if we could foretell the future through art?

"More than any other activity, art will help to convince us of the urgency. This is its greatness and will be its responsibility, as art lies at the forefront of boldness" (Jacques Attali).

The meeting of an essay, A Brief History of the Future by Jacques Attali, and the world of contemporary art on the occasion of the exhibition organized by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (11.09.2015 – 24.01.2016). This book explores the major social issues studied by Jacques Attali and points out how visual artists go beyond simple observation to take an active part in the debate and develop projects fired by a form of utopian creativity.

Making museums the mirror of a world in change


The first wave is the decline of the American empire, which is no longer omnipotent. It represents a declining share of global GDP and will even be overtaken by China, Europe and others, even if it long remains the world’s leading military power. This decline will also correspond to a lack of the cutting-edge collaborative technologies that lead to new discoveries, in particular the information technologies, biotechnologies, and so on, which will change a lot of things. There will be changes in customs, but these will probably contribute to the permanent triumph of the United States’ ideology as the dominant one in the world.

The second wave is produced by the US gradually sharing its dominance with other powers. This process has already begun through the establishment of the G20. The joint government of the world is a response to the fragmentation that is taking place. No doubt we shall see conflicts between China and Japan, tension between Europe and the United States, times when the whole lot will be at loggerheads. We may well be experiencing the last period in history in which conflicts between great nations still take place.


Economist, writer, member of the Council of State, special adviser to François Mitterrand from 1981 to 1991, Jacques Attali was born in 1943 in Alger. Over his career he has published more than 50 books and written many articles on current events. He is also the editorial writer of L'Express.
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Informations supplémentaires

Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique (MRBAB)
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Date de publication
9 oct. 2015
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Art / Collections, catalogues et expositions / Général
Art / Général
Art / Muséologie
Art / Sujets et thèmes / Général
Histoire / Essais
Histoire / Général
Histoire / Historiographie
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This edition also includes an illustrated history of BOTH the RISE AND FALL of the Roman Empire from its very beginning. HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE COMPLETE VOLUMES 1 - 6 (sometimes shortened to "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire") is a book of history written by the English historian Edward Gibbon, which traces the trajectory of the Roman Empire—and Western civilization as a whole—from the late first century AD to the fall of the Eastern or Byzantine Empire. Published in six volumes, volume I was published in 1776 and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788-89. The original volumes were published in quarto sections, a common publishing practice of the time. The work covers the history of the Roman Empire, Europe, and the Catholic Church from 98 to 1590 and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West. Because of its relative objectivity and heavy use of primary sources, at the time its methodology became a model for later historians. This led to Gibbon being called the first "modern historian of ancient Rome". Gibbon offers an explanation for why the Roman Empire fell, a task made difficult by a lack of comprehensive written sources, though he was not the only historian to tackle the subject. According to Gibbon, the Roman Empire succumbed to barbarian invasions in large part due to the gradual loss of civic virtue among its citizens. They had become weak, outsourcing their duties to defend their Empire to barbarian mercenaries, who then became so numerous and ingrained that they were able to take over the Empire. Romans, he believed, had become effeminate, unwilling to live a tougher, "manly" military lifestyle. In addition, Gibbon argued that Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for the Empire. He also believed its comparative pacifism tended to hamper the traditional Roman martial spirit. Finally, like other Enlightenment thinkers, Gibbon held in contempt the Middle Ages as a priest-ridden, superstitious, dark age. It was not until his own age of reason and rational thought, it was believed, that human history could resume its progress. Gibbon sees the Praetorian Guard as the primary catalyst of the empire's initial decay and eventual collapse, a seed planted by Augustus at the establishment of the empire. He cites repeated examples of the Praetorian Guard abusing their power with calamitous results, including numerous instances of imperial assassination and incessant demands for increased pay.
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