In one of the galleries at Dubai’s recently opened Museum of the Future, near the start of its futuristic exhibits, an old Chinese proverb written in three languages, Arabic, English and Mandarin, flashes in lavender green neon: “Ancestors plant trees / Descendants enjoy the shade.”
The writing on the wall is literally and figuratively clear. With the many pressing challenges facing our planet today, it is all the more important for the current generation to recognize and address these mounting crises in order to protect the planet for future ones. It is a task that must undoubtedly be a collective, joint enterprise.
Located in the heart of Dubai’s business district, the Museum of the Future, whose soaring stainless steel domed presence with Arabic calligraphy, focuses on using the lessons of our present to build the future and invites viewers to participate through a highly inclusive approach.
Using a variety of virtual and augmented realities, big data analytics, artificial intelligence and human-machine interaction, the museum will take visitors on a journey into the future within five chapters, suggesting the idea of an evolving global narrative. .
One minute, you are in Dubai 2022; next, you are in the first chapter: a space station in the outer reaches of the galaxy, OSS Hope, in the year 2071, which explores how human beings are at the forefront of space technology. (That chosen date, almost 50 years in the future, also coincidentally marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the United Arab Emirates.)
The first section set in a dazzling digital re-creation of the Amazon in Leticia, Colombia. They will then encounter the ‘Vault of Life’, an illuminated immersive installation consisting of a DNA library of 2,400 species, carefully selected from millions of species to catalog the world’s incredible biodiversity, as well as an experimental species laboratory, all designed to force viewers to consider impact of climate change. Subsequent chapters explore other iterations of the future, such as mind-body calibration in the “Al Waha” chapter; how we could access today’s emerging technologies for tomorrow’s profit in “Tomorrow Today”; and finally “Superheroes”, which focuses on young people who are already thinking about solving the climate crisis.
As major museums (the Louvre and the upcoming Guggenheim) have sprung up in neighboring Abu Dhabi as a way to signal the country’s renewed desire to learn and explore culture, science and art, the arrival of the Museum of the Future.
In addition to the research and publishing department, the Museum of the Future will also house the Great Arab Minds Fund, a five-year initiative with AED 100 million (US$27.2 million) in funding from the Dubai government to create what it calls the Arab world’s largest movement to find exceptional talent among Arabs scientists, thinkers and innovators across key disciplines, which aims to highlight the region’s leading thinkers and inspire young people by their example,” the press release said.
That all of this will be housed in one central location in Dubai further cements the kind of investment this new institution has received. Look no further than the architecture of the Museum of the Future, which is the physical embodiment of the museum’s philosophy, according to its architect Shaun Killa, who described it as pushing “the absolute limits of design, technology and building technology”.