Did you know the ancient Romans used to carry their keys as a wearable ring? Yes, that’s where the term keyring comes from – tres chic! How apt it seems that today, in the advent of wearable technology, we are firmly back to where we started with the Romans. Except, this time, we are opening our doors with Apple Watches and Fitbits.
However, the Romans didn’t get around to producing laundry-doing robots, or driverless cars, or suits we can wear to give us muscle mass in old age… so we still have the edge there.
This week, we visited the Victoria and Albert Museum’s latest exhibition The Future Starts Here. Exhibited are over 100 objects that illustrate the things that will soon be available to us. Everything from how we eat and communicate to how we die… or perhaps don’t die
One section of the exhibition focussed on how innovations in technology, building and design are changing our urban landscape.
As space in our cities diminishes and the price of housing subsequently rises, should we be looking to technology for new ways to design our housing?
The Collective, a co-living space, is exhibited as an example of how design can create spaces that foster connectivity. The way we are working is changing, millennials are increasingly drawn to flexible and collaborative workspaces that encourage socialising and connectivity. The Collective aims to apply these values to the context of living, where residents pay a ‘subscription fee’ for a bedroom and use of shared facilities including a workspace. The installations in this part of The Future Starts Here are mainly architectural models, which are very interesting in their own right. However, if you’re after a more interactive experience, we’d recommend popping into nearby Aram or Lombok and testing out the designer sofas.
Moving through the exhibition to the Sainsbury Gallery, your eyes are drawn upwards to a huge birdlike device suspended from the ceiling. Birdwatchers might be delighted, if not slightly perplexed, to look a little closer and notice the big F-word (Facebook) printed on the bird’s undercarriage in that ubiquitous white and blue. This is Facebook’s Aquila (Latin for eagle), a drone developed by the social media giant to fly to remote locations and deliver wireless internet (and of course a Facebook profile). An Orwellian nightmare or a feat of modern connectivity – that depends on your disposition.
How about a sandbox that uses RSI sensors and light projection that allows you to alter the topography of a mountain range? Think of this as a playground for our digital-native generations.
Perhaps most chillingly is a cabinet of implements and devices used for cryogenic freezing. ‘Who Wants to Live Forever?’ is spelt out in neon orange above a cryonic coffin. We find ourselves glazed over, staring into the neon like moths, imagining life as a millennial in the year 3000- hopefully Busted were wrong about the underwater part though.
Have you been to The Future Starts Here? Got recommendations for another cultural must-see? Share your thoughts with us!