by Shraddha NairNov 12, 2019
What is the function of art? What can it do for us as a community? What purpose does it serve? A cynic may cast aspersions on the world of art with these questions but the fact is that art has always been and continues to be inspiration for technology, development and philosophy. Artists have long been the backbone of our collective imagination, pioneering new concepts and ideas from day one. One of the best examples of such an innovative artist is Leonardo da Vinci, who gave us the parachute and ornithopter in the 1400s. In the trying times of society today, art continues to stimulate our senses and inspire our thoughts.
On November 19, 2019, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, opened Future and the Arts: AI, Robotics, Cities, Life - How Humanity Will Live Tomorrow, a vast and diverse showcase of over 100 works by artists, architects, think-tanks and more. The exhibition, that will continue till March 29, 2020, invites viewers to contemplate the way superstructures in our world are developing. Future and the Arts examines the way artificial intelligence is creeping slowly into our lives, creating a common wealth of information which could eventually supersede human intelligence.
The emergence of this singularity has widespread implications in our society and lifestyles, not all of which are universally positive. Advancements in spaces such as blockchain and biotechnology are gradually evolving industries like medicine and agriculture as well.
Using a plethora of media, the exhibition comprises artists, architects, think tanks and designers - each showcasing a project which challenges the viewers’ perception of current and future systems. From robotics to illustration, 3D printed structures to sculptural installation, the exhibition features some remarkable artworks, each provoking a unique train of thought. Curated in-house, the show includes notable artists such as Osamu Tezuka, a Japanese Manga artist well known for his Buddha series, as well as the award-winning duo ZCDC whose work has received commercial and critical acclaim. The showcase also features artist and designer Amy Karle and her series Internal Collection, a series of 3D printed garments inspired by biological systems in humans - muscular, nervous, cardiovascular etc. Karle has been named one of the ‘Most Influential Women in 3D Printing’.
Another fascinating project on display, previously seen at Centre Pompidou, is ‘H.O.R.T.U.S. XL Astaxanthin.g’ by ecoLogic Studio. This 3D printed structure houses photosynthetic cyanobacteria. Their metabolisms, powered by photosynthesis, convert radiation into actual oxygen and biomass. This installation invites the viewer to consider our rapidly depleting resources, due to human impact which has surpassed ecological capacities and is slowly leaving us with no clean air, water or land.
The exhibition is divided into five sections under the umbrella of future thinking. Looking at the future of architecture and design, Mori Art Museum presents the sections ‘New Possibilities of Cities’ and ‘Toward Neo-Metabolism Architecture’. From these macro structures, the show focusses into micro systems with sections like ‘Lifestyle and Design Innovations’, ‘Human Augmentation and Its Ethical Issues’ and ‘Society and Humans in Transformation’.
Keeping true with its intention to inform, educate and invigorate minds, Mori Art Museum has incorporated interactive sessions which tie into the concept of the exhibition. Through the course of this exhibition, the team at Mori Art Museum will be holding space for conversation through talks, workshops, panel discussions and curated walks. This exhibition goes far beyond seeking simply aesthetic inspiration, bringing us back to the philosophy with which we started, of art and artist as pioneers, developers and dreamers of the future.