In June at “FUTURES” at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building (AIB), curiosity about what people’s lives could be like in 2050 comes to the fore, from gender expression to their health to how they make a living.
In honor of June as Pride Month, “FUTURES Cypher: Pride 2050” (in-person and virtual), Friday, June 10, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., is an interactive discussion and performance art exchange challenging big thinkers and creatives in the LGBTQ+ community to collaboratively imagine the future of Pride in the year 2050, and how to build a more equal and inclusive world. In response, performing artists will interpret the presented ideas through a variety of creative mediums, including live painting, freestyle poetry, vocal performance or playback theater. Audiences should plan to stick around for a joyous late-night celebration in AIB’s exhibition halls to kick off Washington, D.C.’s Capital City Pride.
“Living Longer Festival: Health + Wellness 2050,” Saturday, June 25, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., asks “what would it look like for everyone to flourish with longer, better, healthier lives?” The day of learning and wellness brings to life technology like telemedicine, meet-and-greets with innovators in ‘FUTURES,’ hands-on activities for kids, and an exciting expert-led session of “We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Panel: Living Longer in the Future” (in person and virtual) at 4 to 5 p.m. to explore health on the horizon. During special interactive “The Doctor is In (Space)!” visit a health-care provider in the year 2050 with a futuristic distanced health-care visit. To end the evening, visitors can take over the beautiful Haupt Garden with a late-night glow yoga session, a centering finale to the day to take wellness forward into the future.
A two-part series of programs, “We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Panel: How Tech is Changing Work” (in person and virtual), Thursday June 2, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET and “We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Panel: The Future of Our 9-to-5” (in person and virtual), Thursday, June 16, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET, turn the working world upside down by delving into emerging technologies and trends that could transform how, where, how long and even why people work. Americans spend the majority of their lives working, but research shows monumental changes could be on the way for better and more balanced lives. In these rollicking discussions guided by the audience, experts will explore and debate the gig economy, artificial intelligence, new office design, robotics, wellness, remote work, alternatives to college and even the metaverse.
Catie Cuan, June’s Futurist-in-Residence is dancing with robots. The latest innovator to join AIB’s online residency to think about our shared future by creating new content for digital audiences, Cuan is a dancer, choreographer, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at Stanford University, a 2018 TED Resident and currently an Artist-in-Residence for the Everyday Robots Project at Google’s X, the moonshot factory. She explores how dance and robotics can reduce alienation and increase empowerment for humans when interacting with machines, a hopeful future with robots. Taking inspiration from FUTURES and her research, Cuan’s residency will culminate in a special robot dance performance July 6.
Other programs in June include:
- “FUTURES Tour: Democracy” (in person); Sunday, June 12, 2 p.m. ET: To kick off Civic Season from Made By Us, an annual celebration of the period between Juneteenth and July 4, this unique tour goes on a journey through community action, civic discourse, and the history and possible future of democracy. Free and open to drop-ins, no advance registration is required.
- “Fridays @ FUTURES: Juneteenth Liberation Dialogue” (in person); Friday, June 24, 5:30–7 p.m. ET: Friday night in “FUTURES,” visitors can start the weekend off right with a generous helping of new ideas and surprising brain snacks. They can explore the entire exhibition until 7 p.m. and keep coming back each week for a new and interesting take on the future. This special Juneteenth edition focuses on the future of black liberation, with FUTURES social justice curator Monica O. Montgomery and historical strategist Free Bangura hosting an enlightening discussion on creative place keeping and community. Free and open to drop-ins, no advance registration is required.
For more details, the public can visit aib.si.edu/happenings.
“FUTURES Cypher: Pride 2050,” “WIYRSP: How Tech is Changing Work” and “WIYRSP: The Future of Our 9-to-5” are made possible by Accenture. The “Living Longer Festival” is made possible by MedWand Solutions. Livestreaming for programs is supported by Comcast NBCUniversal.
“FUTURES” is the Smithsonian’s first major building-wide exploration of the future and temporarily reopens its oldest museum for the first time in nearly two decades. The part-exhibition, part-festival, designed by award-winning architecture firm Rockwell Group, celebrates the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary with more than 150 awe-inspiring objects, ideas, prototypes, and installations that fuse art, technology, design, and history to help visitors imagine many possible futures on the horizon.
On view through July 6, “FUTURES” is open every day except Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with extended hours until 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is free, and no timed tickets are currently required. For more information and to plan a visit, the public can go to aib.si.edu.