The Smithsonian’s “Future Visions 2071” Includes New Fiction by Tochi Onyebuchi and Madeline Ashby

In conjunction with an upcoming exhibit called FUTURES, the Smithsonian has announced “Future Visions 2071,” a project that imagines possible futures “based on current cutting-edge Smithsonian research.”

Eight Smithsonian research teams were invited by Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination (CSI) to consider what their areas of study might have discovered or developed, 50 years from now. The results were transformed into posters by artist Brian Miller—and short fiction from authors Tochi Onyebuchi (Riot Baby) and Madeline Ashby (Company Town).

Four of the stories can currently be read at Slate’s Future Tense. Topics include correcting the erasure of marginalized peoples from the historical record; bionic sports that could be playable by anyone; the ethics of asteroid mining; and ecosystem management. Four upcoming stories look at how mosquitos might be made beneficial; the concept of a museum in the future, looking back at our present; extending voting rights to kids; and humanity’s future on the moon.

Future Tense hosts an online event with Brian Miller, Madeline Ashby, and Tochi Onyebuchi and with co-moderators Glenn Adamson (the curator of FUTURES) and CSI Assistant Director Ruth Wylie on Tuesday, November 9, at 12pm (EST). Find more event details here.

FUTURES opens in the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building in Washington, DC, on November 20th. The exhibit “will showcase stories of future-makers who are working tirelessly towards a more equitable, peaceful and sustainable world—inventors and creators, activists and organizers—with a special focus on communities who may not have always had a voice in future-making.” More details are here.

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