The World After Us: Imaging techno-aesthetic futures

January 27 - March 10, 2022

What will digital media be and do, after us?
What will my laptop, phone, or tablet look like in a million years?
How will our devices weather or grow over time?
What else might our techno-waste be, and how might we sense and feel this?
Where might electronics lead our environmental and economic politics?
Can we plan and act toward new and different futures?

Utilizing sculpture, installation, prints, and photographs, Nathaniel Stern’s exhibition The World after Us: Imaging techno-aesthetic futures asks the viewer to rethink their conversations, thoughts, and actions around technology production, use, and waste. He materially speculates what our devices (phones, tablets, batteries, LCDs, etc.) might become over the next decades, thousands, or millions of years. Stern uses art and aesthetics to resituate, to speculate, to wonder, and to propose. He asks viewers to be curious, to imagine, to test, and to play. He combines plant life with electronic waste, scientific experimentation with artistic exploration. Stern’s exhibition and project is simultaneously a “seriously playful and playfully serious intervention into the emotional relationships that we have with our digital devices.”

The exhibition provides opportunities for the Binghamton University Art Museum to function as a laboratory setting, inviting transdisciplinary explorations outside of the frameworks of the current TAEs, in the vein of projects such as the Bell Labs’ Experiments in Art and Technology. It also allows us to connect with Cornell University, as Johannes Lehmann of the School of Integrative Plant Science is a collaborator on Stern’s project. The exhibition considers issues of climate change, alternative fuels, compostable plastics, carbon sequestering through Stern’s artistic praxis and collaborations. It is an exhibition and programming that would provide ways for us to think collaboratively and investigate the ways that art production and aesthetics can work alongside the sciences and engineering in these investigations, not just in a supplementary role.

Generous support for this exhibition provided by the IBM Corporation located in Endicott, NY

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Last Updated: 1/21/22