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Smithsonian reopening Arts and Industries Building with FUTURES

The Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building (AIB) is reopening with the ‘FUTURES’ exhibition to celebrate the institution’s 175th anniversary.

smithsonian arts industries building

The Arts and Industries Building is reopening for the first time in nearly two decades in November 2021 for the debut exhibition, FUTURES.

FUTURES, an exploration of the future, is part exhibition, part festival. It will merge art, design, technology, and history through July 2022.

FUTURES will cover 32,000 square feet. There will be immersive art installations, interactives, experiments, inventions, designs and ‘artefacts of the future’.

Additionally, there will be historic objects and discoveries from 23 of the Smithsonian’s museums, institutions and research centres.

These include an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven rover from Alphabet’s X, a Planetary Society space sail, a Loon internet balloon, and the first full-scale Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome built in North America.

FUTURES is part exhibition, part festival

FUTURES will also launch new art commissions and large-scale technology projects throughout 2021. These include artworks based on intelligent technology and a cutting-edge mobile experience created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

The exhibit will feature four immersive environments at AIB – Past Futures, Futures that Inspire, Futures that Unite and Futures that Work.

Visitors will experience AI that helps people meditate, a COVID-friendly support robot that reduces loneliness, and a video game that can be played using the eyes.

Rockwell Group’s design innovation studio, The LAB, is creating a digital ecosystem to enhance the visitor experience at the Smithsonian’s AIB.

“In a world that feels perpetually tumultuous, there is power in imagining the future we want, not the future we fear,” said Rachel Goslins, director of AIB.

AIB is reopening in November 2021

“For 175 years, the Smithsonian has been helping people better understand who we are, where we have been and where we want to go.

“With FUTURES, we want to invite all visitors to discover, debate and delight in the many possibilities for our shared future.”

The Smithsonian recently announced that is is replacing its Bjarke Ingels redevelopment with remodelling and repairing the institution’s 17-acre site in Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian will launch an interactive mobile FUTURES guide in summer 2021.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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