Future U explores what it means to be human during a time of rapid technological acceleration. The exhibition presents creative responses to developments in artificial intelligence, robotics and biotechnology. While innovation in these areas offers amazing possibilities, it also poses questions and presents challenges to our beliefs and values.
As humans we must navigate the complexity of technological change in the twenty-first century. The aspects that make us human, such as creativity, love and intelligence, are increasingly under threat as machines reveal themselves to be capable of surpassing human capacity. On one hand, we applaud technology for its ability to prolong our lives, and yet we also mistrust it and fear its capacity to take away our usefulness and unique abilities as humans.
‘Future U’ explores what it means to be human in the 21st century and beyond. The exhibition examines the increasingly urgent questions of what makes humans unique, and our place in the world in a time of accelerated technologies. Developments in artificial intelligence, robotics, and biotechnology are challenging deeply held beliefs and notions of what it is to be human. As machines reveal themselves to be capable of surpassing human capacity, the aspects that make us human must be reconsidered. We applaud technology for its ability to prolong our lives, and yet we also mistrust it and fear its capacity to take away our usefulness and unique abilities as humans. ‘Future U’ presents creative responses by RMIT’s own researchers, alongside local and international practitioners who explore the impacts of rapid technological change.
The dreams, speculations and possible nightmares offered by artists, designers and researchers provide a glimpse of a contradictory, messy future that is both unlimited and unruly. But it is also a future which embraces the possibilities of a body and a world that extends beyond our current limitations.
(text courtesy of RMIT)
Exhibition Podcast – Listen to a podcast about the Future U exhibition:
Curated by Jonathan Duckworth and Evelyn Tsitas
This project has been supported by the Goethe-Institut Australia as part of their ongoing project Kulturtechniken 4.0 – Creating in the Age of AI which features artists and experts working across the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
Exhibition Catalogue – View the Future U exhibition catalogue
Speculative and emotionally charged, Future U responds to the complex possibilities of the rapid acceleration and convergence of technologies and its impact what it means to be human.
A powerful blend of science and science fiction, Future U connects artists and researchers to provide creative responses to the potential implications of the rapid developments in AI and biotechnology which are challenging our deeply held beliefs and values as a species, questioning whether sentience, intelligence, creativity, love, empathy, compassion and memory are still the privileges of humans alone.
The fundamental urge of humanity is to transform our bodies, minds and the world around us, and in turn to be captivated by stories of transformation. Future U explores our fascination with making machines that replicate humans, while at the same time augmenting our bodies and minds with technology.
The potential of future humanity dwells in our collective dreams, ambitions and responsibilities. Are we ready to accept our shared connections and responsibility to all living organisms on this planet?
Will we embrace and give rights to lifeforms we create – the augmented humans, artificial humans, hybrid lifeforms and machines that may be physically stronger and more intelligent, empathetic and creative than us?
And as we aim for the stars, are we prepared for death and burial rituals on another planet?
Future U in the Media:
Art Almanac | Future U, by Dr Joseph Brennan
Art Guide Australia | Karen Casey maps the intersection of personal history, art and science in Future U by Barnaby Smith
Artshub | ICYMI: the week’s arts news by Gina Fairley
Beat Magazine | 5 stunning new Melbourne art exhibitions to see in February