V&A ex­hi­bi­tion leaps into the fu­ture

A new show at the V&A presents the wor­ry­ing fu­ture of the world in 100 ob­jects

Esquire (UK) - - Contents -

It is be­com­ing clear that the safe­guard­ing of the fu­ture of the planet is prob­a­bly best not left to politi­cians — es­pe­cially the cur­rent lot, with their ex­tra-itchy in­dex fin­gers — which leads to the ques­tion of: well, then who? This is the fun­da­men­tal theme that un­der­lies The Fu­ture

Starts Here, a new ex­hi­bi­tion at the V&A in London which gath­ers to­gether var­i­ous so­lu­tions to is­sues both present and im­mi­nent, from oil slicks and DNA de­cod­ing to the rise of the ro­bots and the hu­man coloni­sa­tion of space.

These so­lu­tions, which range from the in­trigu­ing to the bor­der­line whacko, come from en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist prod­uct de­sign­ers, like Hong Kong­based Ce­sar Harada whose ro­botic ship, “Protei”, de­tects and deals with oil sheens, and in­quis­i­tive artists like Heather Dewey-Hag­borg, who has cre­ated fa­cial por­traits of Wik­iLeaks leaker Chelsea Man­ning based only on sam­ples of her DNA. They also come from cit­i­zens, like the good peo­ple of Rotterdam, who crowd­funded a cheery yel­low foot­bridge to con­nect the north of the city to the down-at-heel cen­tre, in a bid to give it a new lease of life.

And, of course, they come from tech­noc­ra­cies. A pre­dicted “high­light” of the ex­hi­bi­tion will be Face­book’s Aquila air­craft, a so­lar­pow­ered high-al­ti­tude drone which is all part of Face­book’s “ef­forts to bring af­ford­able con­nec­tiv­ity to un­con­nected re­gions around the world,” and is in no way re­lated to the rel­a­tive in­ter­net sat­u­ra­tion in the de­vel­oped world and Face­book’s need to cre­ate new mar­kets and col­lect un­tapped user data in or­der to ful­fil the needs of rapid and ra­bid cap­i­tal­ist ex­pan­sion. No siree.

The fu­ture is com­ing, but this show will make you pon­der more care­fully in whose hands we should put it.

— The Fu­ture Starts Here runs from 12 May to 4 Novem­ber at the V&A, London SW7;

vam.ac.uk

Abu Dhabi’s planned zero-car­bon com­mu­nity ‘Mas­dar City’, be­low, and Rotterdam’s crowd­funded yel­low bridge, bot­tom left, are two de­signs fea­tured at the V&A’s lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion

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