Virtual exhibit explores isolation of post-pandemic world

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Michigan State University’s Broad Art Lab is collaborating with Science Gallery International’s Detroit chapter for a virtual art exhibit that explores the mark of technological design on society, as well as how the past year of living in a global pandemic has influenced us as individuals.

“Future Present: Design in a Time of Urgency” comprises 10 exhibits by that were created during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a reflection on its recent influence on the world. Specific questions raised by the exhibit’s curators include how does technology influence the environment and communities that occupy it, and how does it impact food security?

“Bringing an exhibition to life in the middle of a pandemic is no easy task, and one of such relevance today is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Mónica Ramirez-Montagut, director of the Broad Museum.

“This is exactly what Science Gallery Detroit has done with Future Present. Their presentation on the impact and potential impact of design on our society is incredibly timely, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to host it here at the Art Lab, and closer to campus.”

One of the exhibits within “Future Present” highlights the often palpable anxiety of keeping up with the all encompassing world of social media is “Safebook.”

“Safebook” is a conceptual, interactive piece that allows the user to scroll through a typical Facebook page with absolutely zero content. Where posts would appear, empty boxes take their place. The piece, created by artist Benjamin Grosser, asks if the only way to avoid the headache of Facebook and keep your private information safe is to scrub the content entirely.

“Solanum Lycoperiscum,” by Sean Raspet, is one of the 10 exhibits that focus on agricultural development. Raspet’s project goes over the technique of exposing seeds to radiation to induce random mutations in order to create new varieties of food. “Solanum” examines how the technique has fallen out of favor but might return thanks to its advantages regarding climate change, as it is more rapid than its rival technique of genome editing.

“Empathic Games,” by Geri Alumit Zeldes and Andrew Dennis, takes guests to MSU’s recently renovated College of Communication Arts & Sciences building.

The exhibit is an empathy building exercise that features five unique games that educate the participant on marginalized and stigmatized populations. The games include “A Journey Through Darkness, Biofeedback for an Anxiety Game,” “Reality Stings: A Card and Digital Game about Microaggressions,” “Calistenhia,” “Trans Folk Walking” and “On the Outside, Looking In: A Game About Others, A Game About Yourself.”

“Future Present” is an ongoing project of Science Gallery Detroit, an institution that was launched in 2018 as a collaborative initiative with MSU and Science Gallery International. Science Gallery International is a network consisting of eight other worldwide locations that aims to create spaces for engaging and interactive art exhibitions.

“Our previous work of presenting ‘Future Present’ in Detroit demonstrated a need for creating spaces for thought provoking experiences in a safe environment during these pandemic times,” said Devon Akmon, director of Science Gallery Detroit.

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