Presidio: How Science and Art Help Us Interrogate The Future

How Science and Art Help Us Interrogate The Future: 
We're collaborating with and the World Economic Forum on an interactive installation

In November 2017, in collaboration with and the World Economic Forum, we revealed a collaborative installation exploring how the technologies at the core of the Fourth Industrial Revolution impact how we behave, think, feel and relate to each other.


A mediator explains Memory of a Brain Malformation, by Katharine Dowson


The six-month installation is at the World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in San Francisco, a global hub to accelerate the benefits of science and technology. It was launched as part of Salesforce’s Dreamforce – the largest technology conference in the world, focused on learning, innovation and philanthropy.

The artworks in the installation include speculative bioprinted organs, a parasitic engine that feeds off human energy, a minimum wage machine, and a laser-etching of a brain tumour:

  • Ad Infinitum by Pedro Lopes is a parasitic entity that lives off human work, a machine that embodies what automation can lead to. Is it a dystopian view of our future or a warning sign of what can happen when intelligent machines become the “users” and humans become “used”?
  • Circumventive Organs, by Agi Haines, is a series of speculative designs that imagine which parts of various animals could be used in combination with human tissue to solve common health problems. When these breakthroughs are real, the diseases they cure won’t be dysfunctions anymore: they become the testimonies of those lacking access to the technology. Circumventive Organs show the messy reality behind commoditizing biological material, and their potential to help people in need. 
  • Minimum Wage Machine by Blake Fall-Conroy is a reflection on the value of work, and on the paradox of maintaining human work despite obvious automation. What does a minimum wage mean, when the job itself is meaningless?
  • Memory of a Brain Malformation by Katharine Dowson is a laser etching in glass of a brain tumour. The malformation was successfully lasered out of the brain, and the artist has used a laser to recreate it. The images of the delicate vein scaffold that feeds the brain tissues are reminiscent of a tree, supporting a nest within the branches. It is a part of the organism but alien at the same time, like a parasitic ecosystem. The life-size lasered glass tumour and veins are delicate and ephemeral, like a memory and the echo of the real thing.
  • Pinokio by Adam Ben-Dror and Shanshan Zhou is an exploration into the expressive and behavioural potentials of robotic computing and helps us explore life inside of a mechanical body.


Minimum Wage Machine, by Blake Fall-Conroy


“The arts gives us the capacity to express and to critique values before they are embodied in technology. In this sense, the role of the arts is not as much to predict the future as to provide cognitive and emotional tools to imagine the future and make creative breakthroughs. These artworks are actual ‘thinking tools’ to reflect on how technology can be harnessed to deliver greater equality, human potential and social inclusion” said Dr Andrea Bandelli, Science Gallery International’s Executive Director.


A mediator demonstrates Circumventive Organs by Agi Haines to a participant of the 2017 Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China. Photo: World Economic Forum.

With the World Economic Forum, we have collaborated on the creation of exhibitions at Davos 2017, The 2017 Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China, and at the upcoming Davos 2018. Andrea Bandelli, our Executive Director, is a Cultural Leader at the Forum, member of the Expert Network, and is a co-author of the Arts & Culture section for the forthcoming book by Klaus Schwab, “Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Here at Science Gallery International we are in a unique position to shape the future of education, learning and creativity in collaboration with the most influential players at global level. 

Science Gallery is the world’s first university-linked global network dedicated to public engagement with science and art. We are focused on 15-25 year olds igniting their creative potential to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. Science Gallery International is the non-profit catalysing the growth of the Network and developing the tools to keep it connected. The Network is set to scale from reaching 1 million young people to at least 3 million annually by 2020. Over the next three years Galleries will open in London, Bengaluru, Melbourne and Venice and a Science Gallery Lab in Detroit. There are plans to expand the Network further in the Global South by 2020. We are actively seeking global corporate partners who want to be part of this next, exciting phase of our journey. 

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