15 April - In the context of the 34th World Expo opening in Milan on May 1st, Het Nieuwe Instituut addresses this phenomenon from different perspectives between April 26 and August 23. The exhibition Garden of Machines speculates on a new ecosystem in which technical and organic beings learn to live together.
The Machinery formed an important section of the earliest World Expo’s: it was the place where the newest forms of mechanization were presented to the public. Almost one-and-a-half centuries later, Het Nieuwe Instituut presents the speculative exhibition Garden of Machines, which offers a radical vision of the future.
Machines increasingly learn to interact with the world around them; they learn to communicate, adapt their behaviour, and be self-sufficient in their energy supply. As such, machines are getting organic character traits, making technology no longer opposed to nature, but rather complementary to it. Take the newest energy technologies and digital means of communication that lead to machines that are able to sustain themselves as part of an ecology, creating new opportunities for humans, but also for animals, plants and complete ecosystems.
The contemporary Machinery is programmed from this framework and transforms into a garden of present and future technologies. The metaphor of the garden makes it possible to imagine the artificial and the natural as parts of one ecological system. Each scale - ranging from human skin cells to the global digital web - is represented in this ecological system. Take nanobots and artificial bacteria that use skin cells to fight pathogens and convert UV radiation into substances that are valuable to the body. Starting from the current status of technology, the exhibition thus offers a speculative symbiosis between nature and technology, as well as the possible impact of such a symbiosis on future ecosystems.
Several activities are organised in conjunction with the exhibition Garden of Machines for children aged 8 and up. They discover a magical world of 'living' machines and learn to build and programme mechanical beings.
Innovation at the World Expo 1815 - now
The exhibition Garden of Machines forms part of the programme Innovation at the World Expo 1851-now, on the phenomenon of the World Expo, presented at Het Nieuwe Instituut from April 26 until August 23, 2015. Since its inception, a variety of differing ambitions have come together at the immensely popular World Expo. What prevails over all differences, however, is a strong faith in progress. In the most spectacular manner, the World Expo's have presented a vision of a future where technological innovation is able to bring the unattainable closer. The ability of designers to capture the yet unseen forms an important incentive for Het Nieuwe Instituut to develop a comprehensive programme on the theme of the World Expo.
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Interieur van de Galerie des Machines, 1889. Gebruikt voor de Wereldtentoonstelling van 1900. Brown University Library. Collectie: Paris Capital of the 19th Century