The future never felt closer than it does today. A series of environmental, technological, and social shifts are changing the planet, forcing us to reassess our place on it. The Earth resembles a city which keeps on sprawling outwards while other areas are abandoned due to climate change and extreme socio-political conditions. Life in the urban environment is reorganized thanks to intelligent systems constantly processing human and machinic behavior. Artificial ecologies promise to offer solutions to the problems of the ever-growing global population. As diverse images, once belonging to the future, become more and more part of the present, an urge to understand the ongoing phenomena becomes apparent.
The Tomorrows exhibition unfolds the multiple aspects the future presents today through the works of artists, architects, and designers. Of course, dealing with the future is not new in these fields. Renowned are the visionary architectural proposals of the 60s which addressed the promises of the new networks, and the possibilities of overcoming environmental problems, thanks to the technological advance. The speculative scenarios, and long research projects of the time – such as the Electronic Urbanism by Takis Ch. Zenetos – aimed to imagine and influence changes towards a desirable future. Nowadays, dealing with the future is once again timely but the proposals coming from the fields of art, design, and architecture, are in a somehow different context. In less anticipation of tomorrow’s worlds, contemporary narratives rather start from the challenges and the contradictions that shape the images of the future. The current scenarios are exaggerated, unexpected, and often paradoxical, aiming to raise questions, and to provoke discussions. Furthermore, taking into consideration that the future reaches different geographical areas at a different pace, many of today’s hypotheses underline the role of the local conditions and needs. The works of the exhibition emphasize the particularities of different areas; special attention is given to the cities of the Mediterranean region, whose future seems to be specified by the economic crisis, the climate change, and mass population movements.
The exhibition takes both as a starting and a reference point the Ecumenopolis by Constantinos Doxiadis, the city that by the 22nd century would have occupied the whole of the inhabited planet. According to the visionary city planner, the desirable development of the future city for the human and the environment was based on the relation and balance between five fundamental elements, i.e. nature, shells, networks, society and anthropos [the human]. The five elements of Doxiadis's Ekistiks are used in the context of this exhibition to study the components of the future, and also to render understandable the changes in our expectations for the future. Five themes deriving from the five respective elements become, therefore, points of exploration; they are used as basic notions for the exhibition, and not as strict categories. This way, the fundamental elements of Doxiadis are transformed, redefined, and possibly reversed, while returning to one key and central question: Which future is, at the end, the one we want, and what will be our role within its formation?