Skip to main content

Relax into 2050

Β· 6 min read

We were commissioned by Signal Film & Media to create an exhibition to end their TIDAL digital arts programme exploring Barrow's coastal environment & the climate emergency.

We came up with Relax into 2050 - Adventures in an Optimistic Future.

Visit for our take on Solarpunk optimism, or just pop in for a lovely sit down!

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.

Listen to the soothing sounds of humanity travelling forward in time, not to a dystopian destination, but to a possible one where it's actually all OK.
Soundscape created by Charley Bright.

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.

A dome felt perfect for the atmosphere we wanted to create. First brought to the world by R. Buckminster Fuller (Bucky) in the 1950s he saw geodesic domes as the future of housing.

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 invite people to step into the dream dome, lie back and enjoy the mesmerising patterns.

We've matched images to the soundscape which can be seen both inside out outside of the dome animated into kaleidoscopic patterns.

The soundscape plays inside the dome as you gaze up to see animated kaleidoscopic images depicting the postitive local projects.

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. πŸš€

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.

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.

The Coronation Airship Song - Courtesy of The Dock Museum, Barrow

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!

Opening Night​

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.

Maybe it'll all be OK​