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Futures that Inspire

Futures that Inspire Hall
Futures that Inspire hall at the Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building, Courtesy Albert Ting.

What happens if we approach the future with a spirit of play? Futures that Inspire will encourage you to think adventurously about what might lie ahead. In the brave world of the future, what seems impossible today may become totally commonplace tomorrow. Imagine new materials, new foods, new species. Consider life underwater or even on another planet. To infinity and beyond!

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Artist installation

See into a surreal future landscape by new media artists Tamiko Thiel and collaborator /p, who will “rewild” FUTURES into a wildflower meadow through an augmented reality portal.

"Rewild" AIB with Augmented Reality

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Future of Transport

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an Air Taxi! From World’s Fairs to “The Jetsons,” the flying car has always been a symbol of the future. And now you can see this vision in person with the debut of the Bell Nexus Air Taxi.

Bell Nexus Air Taxi

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Future of World-building

How can movie worlds help us imagine the future? FUTURES offers an insider look at the creative vision behind Marvel Studios’ Eternals movie. Five original costumes showcase how evolutions in storytelling and cinema technologies can illustrate new futures in incredible ways.

Marvel Studios' Eternals

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Afrofuturist digital collage
“Cosmic Listening” by artist Stacey Robinson presents an Afrofuturist vision for the future. The young woman’s technology is focused on flight, leaving a place of unrest to journey to a future world.
Undersea lounge
As the space race was unfolding in the 1960s, some architects were imaginatively designing for life underwater, as is seen in this drawing from the Cooper Hewitt’s collection.
leo baker skateboard
This skateboard from the National Museum of American History’s collection was used by Leo Baker, a seven-time X-Games medalist and one of the sport’s most acclaimed street skaters – and an advocate for trans identity, who points to future fluid identities by their own example.
Never Alone
Never Alone, an award-winning video game, was developed collaboratively with Alaska Native storytellers and elders, and delves deeply into the traditional lore of the Iñupiat people.
Doing nothing with AI robot
Let your mind wander with this entrancing installation from designer Emanuel Gollob. Doing Nothing with AI will invite you to engage in creative daydreaming. Step back from the rush and see what new futures form.
Nautilus Concept Drawing
Artist Jeffrey Veregge’s graphic novel explores a water world in its reimagining of the Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in combination with Indigenous storytelling traditions of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington state.
detail view of Oceanix
How can humans adapt to a water world? The floating community Oceanix city would allow 10,000 people to live on the ocean surface without harming marine ecosystems. Read more> Detail view of Oceanix City at Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building, Courtesy FotoBriceno.