We came up with Relax into 2050 - Adventures in an Optimistic Future.
- 🤩 It's a FREE, family friendly, interactive exhibition
- 🗓️ 8-23 Dec 2023 | 3-20 Jan 2024
- ⏰ Open Wed-Sat | 11am-4pm
- 📍 Cooke's Studios, 102-104 Abbey Rd, Barrow-in-Furness, LA14 5QR
It's a playful installation set in a flourishing future collectively built with airship rides and rewilded ecosystems where humans and nature thrive in harmony.
The exhibition is inspired by the Solarpunk art movement which imagines a world in which existing technologies are deployed for the greater good of both people and planet.
The Dream Dome
We built a 5m diameter geodesic dome using locally coppiced wood, recycled pallets and rugs made from recycled fishing nets.
They "do more with less” creating the largest interior space with the least amount of surface area thus saving on materials, cost and insulation. They are strong and easy to build allowing heat and air to circulate naturally. Further Reading
We've matched images to the soundscape which can be seen both inside out outside of the dome animated into kaleidoscopic patterns.
To add an interactive element we created a Dome Mixing Desk allowing people to add their own kaleidoscopic creations into the mix.
School Workshops and Artwork
Leading up to the exhibition we ran a project workshop at Roose Primary School, just up the road from the gallery space. We asked them to draw and write about the futures they wanted to see. As well as creating their own kaleidoscope artwork and building mini geodesic domes.
"The future will be full of adventures and surprises," according to the children of Roose Primary School 😎
Expect routine space travel, skyscraper-sized tree houses and gravity-defying football boots. 🚀
All their glorious artworks are displayed as an explosion of positive hope as you enter the exhibition.
On the opposite wall the children's kaleidoscope artworks are framed above our kaleidoscope-making machine so everyone can have a go at making their own.
Positive News Boards
Look around the dome to read about the ways people in Barrow and beyond are already building this future.
And how there are lots of positive news stories out there too.
- Get involved replanting seagrass by volunteering at Cumbria Wildlife Trust.
- Help restore Hardknott forest to its glorious best by signing up for a volunteer day.
- Or get your dose of positive news in magazine or social media form: Positive.News.
The Coronation Airship Song
In 1911 a fabulously rousing song was written in Barrow that imagined a bright future for the airships being developed in the town at the time. It describes a passenger service from "Walney-on-the-Sea" offering exhilarating day trips to Belfast and Blackpool. It's still a tantilising idea so thanks to a loan from The Dock Museum visitors can enjoy a recording of this uplifting tune.
Sankey Futures with AI
After being introduced to the tubthumping 1911 Coronation Airship Song we were keen to delve into the Sankey Archives to find visions of an optimistic future from history, to compare to what future visions could be.
Using each Sankey image as a starting point we used text prompts with Stability AI to generate images for 2050. It was exhilarating to see what it would conjure up each time and I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface of what it can do.
We displayed the Sankey and Future Sankey images on the top of a large double screen setup. On the bottom screen we turned the text prompt fed into the AI into an interactive shadow view of the viewers.
It represents my concerns that any creative human input would be lost as mere shadows in the prompt. In reality it was far more collaborative than that and followed a similar path to most code-based art I produce: I.e. Play to learn, experiment, follow promising results, tweak (e.g. by drawing blobs on images to become AI things) and curate.
Slow water installation: Nothing happens if you stand still
There's more interaction Beyond the Wonderdome (nod Mad Max fans). We've installed our largest slow water tank projection area ever! It warps and wibbles your reflection back at you. But only if you act!
Behind the Scenery Podcast
Tom Speight from CACN (Cumbria Arts & Culture Network) popped along to our opening night to interview us about the project:
Cumbria Arts & Culture Network Friday Conversation
I also described the project up on the CACN Friday Zoom call.