SINGAPORE – Delve into a future world where the lines between fiction and reality are blurred in ArtScience Museum’s latest exhibition HUMAN+ : The Future of Our Species, opening on 20 May.
Advances in genetic engineering, biotechnology and nanotechnology that not long ago seemed purely science fiction are now real. Cyborgs, superhumans and clones are alive amongst us today.
HUMAN+ : The Future of Our Species
What does it mean to be human now? What will it feel like to be a human a hundred years from now? Should we continue to embrace modifications to our minds, bodies and daily lives, or are there boundaries we shouldn’t overstep?
These are the issues at the heart of HUMAN+ : The Future of Our Species. Showcasing the work of 40 international artists, scientists, technologists and designers, the show explores possible future paths for our species. It includes major names from the fields of robotics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and artificial intelligence, including the world’s first living cyborg, Neil Harbisson; Australia’s leading performance artist, Stelarc; and Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, who grow sculptures from living tissue.
A collaboration between ArtScience Museum, Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, and The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), this cutting-edge exhibition asks what it means to be human in a world of artificial intelligence, life-like robots and genetic modification. It probes the social, ethical and environmental questions raised by using technology to modify ourselves.
Will virtual reality be the new reality? What would happen if a robot knew what we wanted before we knew ourselves? In the future, who will have ownership of our genetic information?
From spectacular demonstrations of the latest robotic technologies, to challenging contemporary artworks, intriguing design prototypes, and exciting innovations from Singapore, HUMAN+ imagines many possible futures.
Four Themed Galleries
Spanning four themed galleries, HUMAN+ presents a wide range of artwork and scientific research that shows how our perception of humanity is being transformed by science and technology.
The first section of the show presents physical and biological ways in which we have augmented our minds and bodies. From prosthetics that augment bodily functions to medical interventions that change how we think, this part of the show explores what it means to be a cyborg today.
A key highlight is work by Neil Harbisson, the world’s first human to be officially recognised as a cyborg. Born without the ability to see colour, Harbisson, who will be in Singapore for the opening of the show, wears a prosthetic antenna called “eyeborg” that allows him to hear colour. This antenna has been implanted in his skull since 2003.
Also included are works by star performance artist, Stelarc, plus captivating images and fascinating prototypes by Aimee Mullins, Chris Woebken and many others.
The second section of the show explores the changing nature of social relationships, due to advances in technology.
It includes provocative artwork by Addie Wagenknecht that explores how motherhood might evolve in a world of robotics. Her artwork depicts a robot arm that gently rocks a bassinet whenever a baby cries.
Also included are cutting-edge artworks by Louis-Phillippe Demers from Singapore, Cao Fei, Yves Gellie, S.W.A.M.P and many others.
This section analyses how we are transforming the very environment we live in due to far-reaching advances in science and technology.
It includes The Human Pollination Project by Laura Allcorn, a pollination tool kit, designed to be won as a fashion accessory. It raises questions about the social and environmental implications of the collapse of bee populations, which are responsible for pollinating the plants that grow into the food we eat.
Also included are intriguing speculative artworks and design proposals by Antony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Liam Young, The Centre for PostNatural History, Robert Zhao and many others.
Life at the Edges
This section of the exhibition explores the limits of human life and longevity. What does it mean to create life, or extend a person’s lifespan?
It includes a compelling and challenging work by designer, Agatha Haines, who has created five sculptures of human babies, each with a surgically implemented body modification.
Also included are living artworks designed in a laboratory by Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, and works which explore the end of life by Julijonas Urbonas, and James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau.