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Future Fair/Museum of Tomorrow

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The Future Fair and the Museum of Tomorrow are presents together here because they would likely both involve the same design/development team and feature many of the same elements. They also represent the most elaborate of projects likely to be undertaken by Foundation Media.

Future Fair Edit

The Worlds Fairs were once second only to the Olympics as the grandest events of the 20th century. With a seeming universal popularity, they attracted millions of visitors over spans of years all eager for a glimpse around the corner at the future life the Industrial Age offered. But by the end of the 20th century they had become obsolete and nations abandoned their interest in them. Their politicization coupled to the growing cultural dystopianism inspired by the Cold War and resentment toward the governments and large corporations that were their typical exhibit sponsors made them seem as though they were part of a program to white-wash what was increasingly seen as the social crimes of the Industrial Age and its avaricious corporate culture. Smokescreens to disguise the truth of a future which the western society at large increasingly assumed was ultimately apocalyptic. The future became a place of dread and escapist nostalgia and fantasy replaced it as the popular cultural themes. Corporate sponsors soon saw little return on their investment in World’s Fair events and so the concept was eventually abandoned.

But with the emergence of the Information Age a new pragmatic and tentatively positive view of the future began to emerge as an undercurrent in the dominant dystopianism of the times. To be sure, this dystopianism remains dominant to this day, but there is now a slowly growing segment of the population who see the future not as an apocalypse but as a turning point. A new generation of prophets talking of Singularity –the supposedly imminent point in time where the curve of the rate of technology advance goes vertical triggering a new quantum leap in the course of cosmic history and human evolution– have emerged. Even as we face the prospects of Peak Oil and Global Warming induced catastrophe, there are those who see a light at the end of the tunnel, see apocalypse as a choice, not an inevitability. Positive visions of the future, like TMP, are emerging once again and finding a ready audience. And so, perhaps, there is a possibility now for reviving the notion of events which showcase and celebrate these new positive visions of the future.

That is the purpose of the Future Fair. The fair would function as a kind of large scale traveling convention with a global schedule. It would feature a constantly rotating and updated series of portable multimedia exhibits which showcase the latest in technology and its anticipated uses as well as various visions and scenarios –like TMP– for what life in the future would be like and how society would get there. Corporate sponsors would be used to support the creation and running of exhibits, but exhibits would not be corporate ‘branded’. Likewise, exhibitors from around the world would be welcome, but their exhibits would not be branded as specific to a nation. Most exhibits would be developed by artists, futurists, environmental and space advocacy groups, and the like. The fair would be operated as a for-profit venture of Foundation Media, though in general its profits would be rolled into a continuing escalation of the scale and sophistication of the event and sponsorship of exhibits for those without other corporate sponsorship. Initially, it would fairly small and have the character of a convention much like those organized by the Foundation Convention Circuit but would be operated like a public art exhibit lasting for several weeks to a month, its focus being on walk-in exhibits and shows that are more-or-less automated.

As support for it grew, the Future Fair would grow in scale and the sophistication of its exhibits, taking on the aspect of a traveling World’s Fair. It may never reach the scale and elaborateness of the World’s Fairs as these relied heavily on government sponsorship to provide gigantic site venues used for one or more years. The Future Fair would remain dedicated to the notion of a constant circuit of travel around the globe, exhibit periods of no more than a month, and exhibit designs that were light and portable. This would give people in many nations the ability to participate in the fair even if they lacked the support to travel and stay for a month all around the world. They could simply wait until the next time the fair came to a location within their easy reach. This would also keep exhibits fresh and interesting as there would be a constantly changing mix of them.

Museum of Tomorrow Edit

The Museum of Tomorrow would be the stationary equivalent of the Future Fair, likely developed after the Future Fair had reached a certain level of popularity. It would be hosted by one or more TMP-specific settlements as a way of promoting their community and would be able to employ exhibit systems which are too difficult to make transportable, though the same notion of a continually changing venue of exhibits would still be pursued. They would also offer to be a permanent home for exhibits which the Future Fair could not hold on to –because of the inability of some exhibit developers to travel with the fair. The Museum of Tomorrow would probably not be as popular overall as the Future Fair due to its immobility but would be a powerful tourist attraction for the communities hosting it and could increase in scale far beyond what the fair would be capable of.

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References
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