Future Present: Design in a Time of Urgency

Science Gallery Detroit selected the art for their third annual pop-up exhibition in the early winter months of 2020. The curatorial concept for the exhibition gained more poignancy with the onset of the pandemic and then even more so with people filling the streets of American towns and cities, protesting for justice.  Flutter & Wow joined the Science Gallery during this challenging time, to design and produce Future Present: Design in a Time of Urgency. Exhibiting works of art and science from Detroit and around the world, Future Present explores humanity’s relationship to design, its impact on our future, and much more.

Black Lives Matter protestors were facing off with law enforcement in the streets outside of the gallery space at night, and we were installing an exhibition by day. We didn’t know we were in the calm before the Covid storm but we were following all protocol, wearing masks, distancing, using hand sanitizer. Artists were limited to delivering their work — we handled all installation. The building was sprayed twice daily with disinfectant.

We designed special gallery walls evoking law enforcement barricades. We set them in the gallery as though they had been nudged and shifted to allow passage. We splattered them with color and plastered them with art. We made tight spaces and wide open spaces. The art work felt solemn but with a hint of optimism. The gallery attendants appeared on screens attached to robots that followed visitors through the gallery.