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Futures that Unite

Futures that Unite hall view
Futures that Unite hall at Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building, Courtesy FotoBriceno.

What will it take for us to live more equitably? Peacefully? Inclusively? Futures that Unite explores how we relate to one another. Explore new ways to connect and collaborate that all aim for the same goal: to tap into our collective humanity. As our future dreams turn into reality, perhaps we should place the greatest value on one another.

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What if future cities were created by everyone who lives within them? Bring your creativity and sense of play to co-design sustainable and inclusive communities in real time alongside an artificial intelligence (AI) design partner at “The Co-Lab.” This first-of-its-kind collaborative design experience, developed with Autodesk, will allow you to develop new ideas, faster, in a way that solves huge design problems.

Discover the future of design

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Artist Installation

Enter a meditative forest-like space and take a moment to forgive, breathe, pause, and heal with Devan Shimoyama’s shimmering, soaring “The Grove.”

An Imagined Future Monument to 2020

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Film Series

What do we dream of? Award-winning filmmakers answer this question by showcasing stories of hope and resilience from everyday people making a difference across the country. This new series of commissioned documentary shorts is brought to life thanks to Co-Chairs LL COOL J and Kevin Bright along with nationally acclaimed nonprofit The Alliance for Media Arts + Culture.

"Futures We Dream" Documentary Series

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open insulin project hardware
“Biohacking” labs like the Baltimore Underground Science Space (BUGSS) independently produce insulin, making it affordable to those who need it.
Often credited with shaping the ideas of Afrofuturism–in which the cultures of the African diaspora are seen through the lens of science fiction–Octavia Butler wrote stories in which identities are fluid. Read more>
Assistive Hip Suit
Robotic exoskeletons: they’re not what you might think. This soft exosuit from the Biodesign Lab at Harvard University is made of wearable textiles with lightweight mechanical components that extend the capabilities of the body.
Stephanie Dinkins artwork
Stephanie Dinkins’ sculpture “Not The Only One” (N’TOO) is an AI artist project that lets you speak to your ancestors.
Danae prosthetic
Baltimore-based startup company Danae allows users to digitally design their own shapes and patterns for artifical limbs, transforming a medical device into a custom canvas for personal expression.
(Im)possible Baby imagines a future where same-sex partners can have children together using the DNA markers of both parents.
Roomie robot
Low-cost and fully customizable, this Roomie robot was developed to help therapeutically treat COVID patients.
Olympic pictogram
Otl Aicher’s Olympics poster from 1972 showcases a pioneering graphic system to communicate across language barriers. Read more>
Tlingit hat
Smithsonian staff scanned a broken Tlingit clan crest hat and repaired it digitally before using computer-guided machines to create two replicas. The restored replica above was returned to the Tlingit Kiks.ádi clan of Sitka, Alaska for use as a sacred object, and the other, exhibited in FUTURES, was retained by the Smithsonian for educational purposes.