Re-Evolution: Imagining and Creating A Better Future


Been missing the soul and mind-stirring combination of gosh-wow spectacle and techno-optimism of the Worlds Fairs of the past, those engines of imagining and realizing a future actually worth fighting through the present to get to?

A bunch of people in Los Angeles–including me, in a minor curatorial role–are feeling that yearning for making a better tomorrow today as well, and will bring back the future with a June 2011 science, art, and technology extravaganza called Re-Evolution.

The spirit of the event is best summed up by its chieftain Kasey McMahon in her interview with Neatorama:

Re Evolution is a large-scale science, technology and art festival in Los Angeles…We are combining love for science, technology and art and a desire to ignite curiosity and interest in the fields. Art and outrageous feats of engineering have a fantastic way of instilling wonder, with Re Evolution we’re looking to create an environment that echoes the pervading sense of optimism for the future that the World’s Fairs of the past seemed to instill. We want to show the beauty, fun, power and possibilities of science and technology and to help people understand how these tools work and how exciting creative applications of them can be….

To ignite the imagination. To instill wonder. To give a techno-optimistic view of the future….By enlivening these subjects, we hope to inspire people to study engineering and science. Wonder inspires curiosity, curiosity drives discovery… Apparently, as a child Carl Sagan attended the 1939 World’s Fair and it was a turning point in his life….Our hope is that by providing accessible, fun, hands-on and creative applications of science and tech that people will get excited about these subjects and about the future.

McMahon herself has been producing delightful projects to prod the geek imagination for a long time, such as the Compubeaver and the self-portrait with cables. The team she’s assembled to execute Re-Evolution includes Poetic Kinetics, who among their other credits in large-scale wonderment built giant boom-forklift driven terra cotta warrior puppets for the 2008 Beijing Olympics; Synn Labs, a gang of wild engineers most recently famous for making OK Go’s Rube Goldberg machine a reality; and such champions of robotic and electronic festival art as Christian Ristow (of various crushing robots fame) and Syd Klinge (maker of dueling giant Tesla Coils and Jacob’s Ladder pipe organs).

The event will push not just spectacle but education, and is teaming with the Hybrid Reality Institute for inspiring salon and lecture content exploring our evolving relationship with technology.

The event is in early planning stages, and is beginning with a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to lock down an appropriately vast and inspiring location in Los Angeles.

Brian Doherty
Brian Doherty