Dezeen Magazine

Our Time on Earth exhibition provides "space for hope" in climate emergency, says Barbican curator

Curator Luke Kemp discusses the role of design and technology in reshaping our views of the natural world as part of the Our Time on Earth exhibition at London's Barbican Centre, in this video produced by Dezeen.

The exhibition aims to encourage conversation around the climate crisis, and the role of design and technology in mitigating its effects.

It brings together a range of digital, immersive and interactive works designed to spark discussions around what the future of the world could look like, including pieces by Marshmallow Lazer Feast, Liam Young, Superflux and Buro Happold in collaboration with Julia Watson.

Kemp and guest curators Kate Franklin and Caroline Till also looked to radical thought and academia, bringing together perspectives from indigenous activism, biotechnology and queer ecology.

Kemp told Dezeen that when curating the exhibition they looked "not only for architects, designers, but also at writers, activists, indigenous communities, people whose voices otherwise often aren't heard."

Superflux's Refuge for Resurgence prompts the viewer to imagine a multispecies banquet. Photo by Tim Whitby

According to Kemp, the exhibition encourages visitors to rethink their perceptions of the natural world.

Superflux's work Refuge for Resurgence opens the exhibition and portrays a table set for a multi-species banquet. Drawing from theories of the Anthropocene, the piece images a world in which humans and other animal species are equal.

The exhibition explores different approaches to the climate crisis. Photo by Fran Taylor

Also featured is designer Liam Young's short film Planet City, which puts forward a vision for the future in which humans inhabit a sustainable metropolis, and nature is allowed to re-wild itself.

In Victoria Vesna's Noise Aquarium viewers are brought face-to-face with the microscopic amoebae that sustain our world, and Marshmallow Laser Feast's Sanctuary of the Unseen Forest unwraps the exterior of a vast tropical tree

Digital art was used to shed light on nature. Photo by Tim Whitby

Kemp explained to Dezeen that it was important for the exhibition to inspire visitors to positively engage with the climate emergency.

"What we wanted to inject into the conversation is an element of hopefulness, and to ignite a sense of courage in people," Kemp said.

"When visitors leave the exhibition, we really want them to leave with a sense that there are possibilities, there is space for hope."

After closing in London, Our Time on Earth will re-open in the Musée de la Civilisation in Quebec City, which co-produced the exhibition, before continuing on its international tour.

Previous Barbican exhibitions featured on Dezeen include a retrospective of seminal Japanese-American designer Isamu Noguchi and a showcase of the Matrix Feminist Design Co-operative.

Our Time on Earth is on at the Barbican Centre in London from . It will re-open at the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City in June 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.