In answer to the question of ‘what an antithesis to modern life will now have to be made from’, T. J. Clark says ‘It will have to live in the past […] It is never the present that dreams the future, for the present has no past life with which to make the non-existent real.’1

And, in The Autonomy of Affect, Brian Mazzumi says ‘In potential is where futurity combines, unmediated, with pastness, where outsides are infolded, and sadness is happy (happy because the press to action and expression is life).’2

The speculative future is contructed out of pasts, and the past is seen as a kind of speculative future. Like Lucy McKenzie’s trompe l’oeil paintings which turn the past into the future by painting it onto the walls, re-examining and reshaping history, re-presenting it to ourselves, is a way of making a new past, a future past.
1. T. J. Clark, The Sight of Death, (Yale University Press: London, 2006) p241

2. Brian Mazzumi, “The Autonomy of Affect”, Cultural Critique, no. 31, part II (Autumn 1995), pp83–109