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Publisher Description

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.

Arts & Entertainment
October 9
Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique (MRBAB)