Photo ©Anouk Nitsche
Cyborgs, superhumans and clones. Evolution or extinction? What does it mean to be a human today? What will it feel like to be a human a hundred years from now? Technological capabilities are increasing at a rapid pace—should we continue to embrace modifications to our minds, bodies and daily lives, or are there boundaries we shouldn’t overstep?
HUMAN+: The Future of Our Species is an exhibition that explores potential future trajectories of humankind by considering the implications of both historical and emerging technologies. The ‘plus’ symbol in Human+ implies a positive direction for the future of our species. But what is that direction? For the majority of the 20th century, progress has been measured by increased speed and efficiency—faster, better, stronger—but the side effects have been fatter, sadder and exhausted. Our definition of success needs to be recalibrated.
The 21st century will be characterized by the confluence of fields such as biotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence. Manipulating biological processes, controlling digital and mechanical machines and creating non-biological intelligence above and beyond what humans can comprehend— these advances raise ethical questions about the appropriation of life and the alteration of the self. The converging forces of these and other currents will lead us to a new and unknown place.
From subtle provocations to grand gestures, the artworks in this exhibition consider how these changes might be adopted and assimilated. The value in speculation is not prediction, but reflection. What are we striving for?
We are designing our future, consciously or not, and every creator, whatever their discipline, will play a part in this process. In this exhibition artists, designers and scientists speculate on and imagine many possible futures. Now it’s your turn.