The Postnormal Times Exhibition is both an art installation and a pedagogic resource. It presents Postnormal Times as a call to arms: an invitation to challenge our assumptions and biases about the contemporary world and possibilities for the future. It is specifically designed to interrogate our sense of what is and is not ‘normal’; to explore challenges and potentials of our common futures; and to ascertain the values we need to navigate postnormal times.
The travelling Exhibition consists of four components.
First: the Banners, which provide basic information and knowledge on postnormal times theory: chaos, complexity, contradictions, uncertainties and ignorances.
Second: the Timeline. This consists of four iPads mounted on two monoliths. Each iPad represents a period (Classic, Modern, Postmodern and Postnormal). Various artefacts – such as Truth, Meaning, Identity, Science, Medicine – are defined for each period in an entertaining and informative way. Together the two monoliths contain around 40 artefacts that continuously rotate.
Third: the Menagerie of Postnormal Potentialities. The concepts of Black Elephants, Black Swans, and Black Jellyfish are explained and illustrated on the sides of the monoliths; black jellyfish, constructed from wires, hang from the ceiling.
Fourth: the PNT Game. On a hexagonal table are placed three types of Hex Cards, signifying PNT Concepts, Values and Emerging Issues. Visitors are asked to choose an emerging issue – such as Artificial Moral Agents, DNA editing, weaponised code – and suggest a value that could help us navigate its potential challenges and consequences, and try and identify whether their chosen issue is a Black Elephant, or a Black Swan or a Black Jellyfish. They are encouraged to share their thoughts (explain why they have chosen an emerging issue and a particular value), which can be written down on an iPad and appears on a large screen as ‘Stories form the Future’. Visitors can see what other people have chosen and written.
The first outing of the PNT Exhibition was at the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (M HKA) where it was part of ‘A Temporary Futures Institute’ (28 April – 17 September 2017) - ‘an attempt to bring art and futures studies together’.
We are hoping to take the PNT Exhibition to other cities – such as Istanbul, Sarajevo, and Barcelona – where it would acquire local context and flavour.