In recent years, threats to the biosphere and its lifeforms, including humanity, have moved more into the spotlight and have reached the masses. According to the scientific community, however, the outlook for life on Earth is more dire than is generally understood. To avoid a ghastly future, fundamental changes in the way we live and interact with our environment are needed. Despite the alarming number of concerns, many people simply do not know where to begin in shifting towards a more sustainable future. Can public institutions guide us? If so, which ones and in what form?
Futurium, a newly-built museum in the heart of Berlin, provides its visitors with a glimpse into the world of tomorrow. Founded as an independent non-profit organisation, Futurium — House of Futures — serves as a meeting point for politics, science, business, art, and society to come together and exchange ideas, a place in which to spark informed discussion on future possibilities. The building houses a permanent exhibition, a hands-on laboratory, and an event forum as a place for interdisciplinary dialogue. With free admission, the main goal of this museum is to make the general public aware of future-oriented developments and encourage people to adopt sustainable ways of living.
After opening in September 2019, around 100,000 visitors passed through the doors of Futurium in the first month alone, engaging with the venue’s core question: “How do we want to live?” The comprehensive permanent exhibition invites people to explore the vital issues of potential futures inside three separate thinking spaces, each with a specific atmospheric scene: Human, Nature, Technology — respectively: Common Cause, Rethinking Nature, Towards New Horizons. The exhibition design is a result of a collaboration between ART+COM Studios and Schiel Projekt, while Polygraph Design created the requisite illustrations and infographics.
Paradoxically, the way we envision tomorrow’s society rather reflects the condition of humanity today. Tackling the issue of whether the future can be portrayed as a permanent exhibition is vital here, since it cannot be captured as a fixed condition but rather as a constantly changing paradigm. The curators, therefore, opted to present possible future scenarios in interactive form, via a mix of analogue and digital media, intended to encourage visitors to form their own opinion as to which path humanity should take. The exhibition is steadily updated to reflect the most recent scientific developments, so in a few years’ time it should look substantially different.
The “Thinking Space: Human” deals with ways of how we can positively influence our future through behavioural changes. With participative stations, this area offers space and opportunity for collaborative, analogue experimentation.author: Polygraph Design
Engaged by various digital gadgets, in the “Thinking Space: Technology” the visitors can explore concepts such as big data or artificial intelligence and further investigate the future-shaping potential of new technologies.author: ART+COM Studios
At various points in the exhibition, a “token-wristband” can be used to vote on scenarios for the future. For instance, one can choose whether they would prefer to live on after death as a digital avatar, pass their data to their loved ones or have all electronic traces of themselves deleted. The same wristband can be used to collect information on individual topics.author: ART+COM Studios
At the end of the visit, the “token-wristband” can be exchanged for a printed “Vision Card” with adapted, individualized motifs via the “Future Machine”. The card also includes a personal code which can be used to revisit online the collected topics from the exhibition.author: ART+COM Studios