Monday, December 2, 2019

DESIGNS FOR DIFFERENT FUTURES at Philadelphia Museum of Art: Review By Polly Guerin

Phoenix Exoskelton, suitX
We often think of art museums as places that venerate past art treasures but the Philadelphia Museum of Art's exhibit, DESIGNS FOR DIFFERENT FUTURES, brings to light the fact that museums can and should also be places that inspire us to think about the future. This enlightening exhibition, which runs through March 8, 2020, "Offers visitors an opportunity to
understand how designers are imagining---and responding to---different visions of the future, but also an opportunity to understand just how profoundly forward-looking designs contributes in our own time to shaping the world we occupy and will bequeath as a legacy to future generations," stated Timothy Rub, Director and Chief Executive Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Image: Phoenix Exoskelton , designed around 2013 by Dr. Hom- ayoon Kazerooni for suitX (courtesy of the manufacturer) Photograph (c)suitX . Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art 2019.
       Thinking about the future has always been a field of inquiry by designers and architects. whose speculations on this subject---ranging from the concrete to the whimsical---can profoundly affect how we imagine what is to come. Among the many forward-looking projects in view visitors will encounter lab grown food, robotic companions and textiles made of seaweed. 
Recyclable and Rehealable Electronic Skin 
The exhibition is divided into eleven thematic sections. In Bodies, designers gribble with choices about how our physical and psychological values might look, feel and function in different future scenarios. Featured here is one of the world's lightest and most advanced exoskeletons, designed to help people with mobility challenges to remain upright and active. The EARTHS section of the exhibition speculates on the challenges of extra-terrestrial communication in Lisa

Moura's alien nation installation and showcases typeface from the 2016 science-fiction film Arrival. Image: Recyclable and Rehealable Electronic skin, designed 2018 by Jianliang Xiao and Wei Zhang. (courtesy of the
designer). Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Additional sections of the exhibition focus on the future of jobs and how cities will function and look 100 years from now, with robotic
baby feeders, driverless cars, and other developments offering a glimpse about how we might navigate living beyond this planet.       
       In a section devoted to MATERIALS on view are shoes grown from sweat and POWER looks at how design may affect our citizenship. INTIMACIES explores how technologies and online interfaces may affect love, family and community. Through Internet generated devices, designers explore the possibility digitally meditated love and sex, suggesting what advanced digital networks hold for human sexuality.                                                      Image: CIRCUMVENTIVE ORGANS
Electrostabilies Cardium (film still) designed by Agi Haines (Courtesy of the designer). Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art. FUTURES THERAPY LAB: Weekly programs, many of which occur on Pay-as-You-Wish Wednesday Nights, will connect visitors with designers, artists, and locally based creatives. The Futures Therapy Lab contains a crowd-sourced Futures library that includes everything from science fiction books to the exhibition catalogue. The Futures Therapy Lab is a place for conversation, and critique and creativity in which visitors can imagine their own hopes, fears and solutions for the future through reflection, discussion, and art making.
       TA TA DARLINGS!!! I look forward to meeting you in the Futures Therapy Lab where we
can discuss our destiny into future. Send Fan Mail to: Visit Polly'a other Blogs at and click on the links in the left-hand column.

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