What does the future look like, and how will our lives change as a result? These are some of the questions being asked by the V&A Museum’s current exhibition The Future Starts Here, on until 4 November.
I (and a friend) went to find out more, and I wrote up some of my thoughts for events and exhibitions company Ignition, who were kind enough to feature them on their blog.
Right from the beginning, this exhibition seeks to engage more than just visitors’ visual sense: a customised jukebox by the entrance presents curated playlists of political songs, organised by topic (anti-capitalism, satire, etc). Once inside, the darkened exhibition space combines with a continuous ethereal soundtrack to create a feeling of floating between the various brightly coloured spaces, each with their own specific focus.
The exhibits themselves are also designed to appeal to the senses – for touch and particularly hearing – many of them feature soundtracks or audio commentary, but one of our favourites was the Machine Learning Sand Table. Heaping or digging into the sand to change its height activates a sensor which uses artificial intelligence to then project a suitable landscape onto it. As you dig, rivers and lakes appear, while piling sand up creates hills and mountains, bare or covered in trees depending on their height. This interaction was really powerful in boosting our interest and engagement with the message of the exhibit.