‘Dispatches from Futureland’ is a aesthetic study of the inhuman scale and constructed spectacle of international industrial sites, and the theatrical spectacle of unionised demonstration against them.
The film operates in the future orientated a-temporality and science fiction influenced aesthetic of capitalist futurism. Rotterdam has the largest port in Europe, carrying five hundred millions tonnes of cargo per year, while employing the labour of only two thousand four hundred workers, a loss of nearly 200,000 jobs in the last 40 years. In the delta of the Maas river a huge area of new land is under construction to house fully automated terminals, removing human bodies from the corridors of transit. At the heart of the Maasvlakte is Futureland, a tourist visitor centre.
Dispatches from Futureland follows an abstract cycle, in which a woman playfully leads us through the desolate peripheries of the docks, climbing on partly installed infrastructure; possibly a guide; possibly an estate agent; possibly looking for traces of life. A couple operate an immersive flight simulator, flying over the completed project in 2033, machinery operates without human intervention, tourist boats and buses glide through the harbours. Police and dock workers stand off against one another, both sides filming and photographing everything, all while the algorithmic ballet of container transit continues day and night.
Dispatches from Futureland was made through combinations of site visits, archival and reading research, observational filming, and conversations with dockhands and union representatives on a local and global level.