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Spaces of Radical Connection

As the Smithsonian celebrates its 175th anniversary, groups could join in the celebration beginning in November with the reopening of the Arts and Industries Building (AIB) in DC after a two-decade closure with FUTURES, an experience that fuses awe-inspiring art, technology, design and history.

The exhibit, which invites visitors to dream big, will explore a myriad of possible futures on the horizon. As its first major commissioning project, AIB has invited five boundary-pushing contemporary artists to create their own speculative future worlds. These major site-specific projects will reflect the milestone occasion and iconic setting, and beguile visitors with a glimpse of the ways in which artists are at the forefront of affecting lasting and positive change.


On view through July 2022, FUTURES is the first major building-wide exploration of the future on the National Mall and will temporarily reopen America's oldest national museum for the first time in nearly two decades. The part-exhibition/part-festival will celebrate the Smithsonian's 175th anniversary with more than more than 150 objects, ideas, prototypes and installations that fuse art, technology, design and history.

Artists Beatriz Cortez, Nettrice Gaskins, Soo Sunny Park, Devan Shimoyama, and the duo Tamiko Thiel and /p (Peter Graf) work in such diverse media as augmented reality, A.I., found objects, and industrial materials, blending their creative practices with deep research into technology, science, and community and cultural histories. Each has been asked to respond to both the building's historic architecture and a particular future themed section of the exhibition. All are making their Smithsonian debut.


"Artists provide a telescopic view of the human condition, a lens that allows the viewer to step out of themselves," said AIB curator Ashley Molese. "In FUTURES, these brilliant and unfiltered installations will take an abstract concept like 'the future' and turn it into a portal of sorts, allowing visitors to transcend their own worldview. We are creating spaces of radical connection."

Learn more about FUTURES by visiting Smithsonian.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.

Photos courtesy of Smithsonian Institute.


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