Imagine Repair: Talk to the Future by María José Contreras

Since the opening of the exhibit, I’ve been listening to the most diverse group of people sending messages to the future. They enter the time capsule prepared to share their covid experience but when confronted with the question “What do you want future generations to know about Covid in NYC?” they pause. Suddenly silence fills the transparent bubble. The question is not easy. As a woman told me, “we’re in it still, I can’t even start thinking about the future.” Talking to the future requires imagining what is yet to come, and this seems a hard exercise for many of us. The loss, the disappointment, the pain, and the ongoing fear are still too present. But after the silence, words start to pour. I look at their eyes that persist uncovered by the masks. And words overflow from bodies tired of being tight. The words are sometimes brief and simple, sometimes complex and poetic. Words come from a shared space where mooring the past with the present is possible, and fruitful. An instant when we can both conjure a different future.