What We Do
Artists are constantly looking at the world around them and imagining possibilities ...
just like futurists do.
Artists create work that raises questions, criticizes, or provokes us to consider alternatives. Futurists call these possibilities ‘signals.’ Things that are all around us today that may seem quirky, or different, but we can identify as clues to what's possible in the future. Artists often have such open, creative minds, that they are skilled in spotting these signals—intuitively understanding those clues to the future.
Like an artist who uses brushes and paints, a futurist uses various techniques—scenarios, historical analysis, surveys, intuition, and signals (things around us that point to future directions) to create foresight.
At IFTF we do not believe in being passive bystanders to the future. The future doesn’t just happen—we all have agency to make the future.
As a nonprofit committed to helping people envision and make a better future, we explore the vast range of future possibilities, connecting humanity’s greatest challenges with the greatest opportunities for transformation. In our work, we often look to artists to provoke our imaginations, call attention to the assumptions by which we live our lives in the present, and create a window into possibilities for our future. We also create our own original visual frameworks and Artifacts from the Future to give life to our forecasts and make them more tangible.
We invite you to experience the future with us at the Future Gallery.
IFTF’s Future Gallery presents the work of multidisciplinary artists who engage with temporality through new media tools and creative approaches to design and aesthetic production. Our rotating exhibits relate to the same futures themes that we approach through our research and labs, from the future of cities and technology to human identity, to inspire all of us to think differently about the future. Visit our Future Gallery at 201 Hamilton Avenue in Palo Alto, California to see our latest installations once it reopens with our new exhibit.
In addition to our installations and ongoing public events, our aim is for the Gallery to catalyze all kinds of conversations about the future. Contact Rachel Hatch (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more about how to organize your own strategy session, workshop, or public event in our space.
Installations at the Future Gallery
Past Futures of Howard Rheingold: A Retrospective of Art and Ideas
Howard is a Distinguished fellow, long-term research affiliate, intellectual fellow traveler and friend of IFTF and he has a deep history in the world of futures thinking. He is called the First Citizen of the internet, and in 1993, he published The Virtual Community, the first book to anticipate that computers were not just for computing, not even primarily for information sharing, but also for creating communities.
Howard's artwork is a playful counterpoint to his thought - artifacts of his imagination and the exploratory spirit that have led to such compelling visions of what might be possible.
Imagine a city that was designed to meet the needs of people in an environmentally sustainable way. Terreform ONE is a non-profit architecture group out of New York that has imagined just such a city. Through their creative projects and outreach efforts, they aim to illuminate the environmental possibilities of human settlements and inspire solutions in areas like it around the world. They are a unique laboratory of specialists with diverse disciplinary backgrounds that explore and advance the larger framework of socio-ecological design. The group develops innovative concepts and technologies for local sustainability in energy, transportation, infrastructure, buildings, waste treatment, food, and water.
Time is a Dimension is a series of photographs by Fong Qi Wei that challenge the concept that a single image can only show a freeze-frame of time. When showing a flow of events, we instinctively think of a video. But artist the artists aims to do that in this series with a single print.
In this series, an entire sunrise/sunset is compressed into a single printed image. The intervals between frames are not regular, in keeping with the artist’s subjective experience of that day’s sunrise/sunset. In a way, the artwork is like a meditation on what he experienced for a period of time of 2 to 4 hours for that particular day. In these busy, highly networked times, how often do we stop and actually stay still to see a sunrise/sunset from start to end? Everyone just wants to get to that “perfect moment” as soon as possible—but the fact is there isn’t one perfect moment. Our lives flow, and we should take time to be still, experience, and reflect.
Artifacts from the Future
Artifacts from the Future is an ongoing installation of IFTF’s original artwork that brings our forecasts to life. Artifacts from the Future give us a tangible experience of the future. They make the details of a scenario concrete, helping us to understand, almost first-hand, what it will be like to live in a particular future. Artifacts from the Future provide a rich starting point for strategic discussions, whether for a new products team in a technical organization or a community group looking for ways to engage young people in building a stake in their own neighborhood. They are at-a-glance tools for exploring the fundamental question, what is possible?
September 21, 2015 - April 18, 2016
The Apocalypse Project: House of Futures is an exhibition from artist Catherine Sarah Young that explores our environmental futures in the anthropocene under the guise of a boutique store. The audience can view and interact with wearable products, such as clothing, shoes, hats, jewelry, and perfumes. They can engage in interactive experiences through interdisciplinary projects. The exhibition will welcome audiences of all ages and include free public events.
May 8 - September 18, 2015
Microbe Mart is a physical Artifact from the Future in the form of a future retail space created as part of IFTF’s 2015 Ten-Year Forecast. The Microbe Mart contains a series of real and speculative products based on our forecasts about the microbial health economy that will emerge by 2025. From cosmetics like Mother Dirt’s AOBiome bacterial spray to a resistant starch sleep aid, the products in the Microbe Mart describe a possible world in which microbiotic lifestyles drive consumer products and microbiotic medicine begins to transform medicine.
Global Lives Project
May 4, 2014 - September 18, 2015
Global Lives Project is a video library of life experience, designed to cultivate empathy across cultures. It curates an ever-expanding collection of films that faithfully capture 24 continuous hours in the lives of individuals from around the world to explore the diversity of human experience and encourage discussion, reflection, and inquiry. The project’s goal is to foster empathy and cross-cultural understanding. This exhibition is a part of a longstanding collaboration with IFTF. More about this exhibit »
All exhibits at the Future Gallery can be viewed from the sidewalk, and are best viewed during daylight hours.
For more information about IFTF's Future Gallery and ways to work with us, contact: