WHAT TOKYO AND SEOUL ‘MUSEUMS OF THE FUTURE' CAN TEACH THE US
PC Magazine|April 2020
There’s a beautiful future ahead, but maybe not for all of us.
SASCHA SEGAN

On a recent trip to Tokyo and Seoul, I encountered a trio of “museums of the future”—the Mori Art Museum, the Mori Digital Art Museum/ TeamLab Borderless, and SKT T.um—where art and engineering come together to provide visions of 2050 and beyond.

These smart, eye-opening, and thought-provoking exhibits are full of hope, but they left me wondering if the United States can keep up or whether we’ll be left behind in traffic-clogged, crumbling, or even abandoned cities.

MORI ART MUSEUM: CONTEMPLATING THE FUTURE

The Mori Art Museum is at the top of a skyscraper in Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills neighborhood, part of a sealed arcology of offices and restaurants surrounding a gigantic Louise Bourgeois spider sculpture. At night, you rise via escalator from the streets of Tokyo into a quieter, orderly place, then ascend even farther on long elevators to Mori’s aerie.

The museum’s current Future and the Arts show features the good, the bad, and the weird of the future. I was most taken by the city designs: ways for us to live together in a hotter, wetter, more connected world. There are also experiments in 3D-printed buildings and food (sushi ends up looking like Legos), some really creepy post-humanist printed organs, and a chair you can sit in while disturbingly realistic, auto-generated bot tweets descend on printed tape from the ceiling.

There’s art about ubiquitous surveillance, a decent mockery of Bitcoin, crazy biological building shapes, and a virtual diva. It doesn’t tell you how we’re going to get to these places as a society, but it does plant hope in your mind.

Human ingenuity isn’t used up, the show tells you. If you’ve been wondering why we have Facebook instead of flying cars, Future and the Arts gives you flying cars, art robots, and genetically modified children with DNA from five different parents. The show doesn’t always judge whether these things are good (except for the sustainable city designs—they’re good), but it’s proof that people are working on and thinking about innovations beyond better ways to steal elections and serve up more targeted ads.

Maybe it’s just because I was so far from home (and in Tokyo), but the show provoked both hope for humanity and despair for America. European architects and Asian artists in the show use bacteria for data storage and imagine cities on the sea, but in the US, we’re stuck “rolling coal” while our transportation and healthcare systems crumble around us. Our most brilliant inventors seem to be mostly concerned with how to get a few wealthy people off the planet so the rest of us can drown in our suffering.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM PC MAGAZINEView All

Tips to Help You Master Google Meet

Video-calling apps have seen plenty of use since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as so many of us are spending more time at home.

7 mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition (2021): Portable, Powerful, and Slick

The Razer Blade 15, a perennial favorite among gaming laptops for its premium metal chassis and slick, slim design, has reached new heights this year.

10+ mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

SILICON, USA: THE COMPANIES THAT BUILD TECHNOLOGY IN AMERICA

Samsung

10+ mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

SILICON, USA: TECHNOLOGY MADE IN AMERICA

Ever tried to buy a computer made entirely of US parts and assembled here? You can’t. But here are 46 companies making high-quality tech products in the United States.

10+ mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL R101AE: True Hands-Free Robot Vacuum

The point of using a robot vacuum is to cut down on your housework, but most of these devices need to be emptied and cleaned often, adding at least one more chore to your list.

10+ mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

Razer Orochi V2 Wireless Gaming Mouse: Game on the Go

Pocket mice are typically associated with productivity, given their portable, lightweight designs that let you work in an airport, coffee shop, or office.

4 mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

How to Check Your Hard Drive's Health

Your hard drive hasn’t been acting the same lately. It’s starting to make clicking or screeching noises, it can’t seem to find your files, and it’s moving really slowly.

5 mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

iStorage DiskAshur M2: A Wealth of Security Features

The DiskAshur M2 from iStorage excels at the primary mission of any security-focused SSD: making sure that no unauthorized person can ever get their hands on your data.

6 mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

MSI Cubi 5 10M: Peppy, Quiet Mini PC

Call it a tale of two mini PCs. In many ways, the MSI Cubi 5 10M is the opposite of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i we tested just before it.

8 mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

WELCOME TO THE VIRTUAL HUMANS FACTORY

Medical trials are risky business. Human subjects eager to help researchers find cures or treatments for life-threatening ailments put their trust in medical professionals. But what if these trials could be conducted without human testers?

10 mins read
PC Magazine
May 2021
RELATED STORIES

The Death Cross

In South Korea, living alone and childless is becoming a way of life—with dramatic consequences for one of Asia’s most successful economies

7 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
June - July 2021

CULTURE SHOCK

WITH FAST 9 SLATED FOR A JUNE 25 RELEASE, WE EXAMINE THE FRENCHIE'S INFLUENCE

10 mins read
Motor Trend
July 2021

AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HARUHIKO KAWAGUCHI

I want to capture love as it really is and the bathtub is an ideal vehicle to encapsulate the vivid reality in my images.

5 mins read
Art Market
Issue #56 February 2021

APPLE MUSIC LAUNCHES MORE THAN 100 CITY-FOCUSED MUSIC CHARTS

Apple Music is coming to a city near you — the streaming service has launched daily music charts focused on particular cities around the world, including New York City, Tokyo and Lagos.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #496

CHEF JUDY JOO: We'll Be Back STRONGER THAN EVER

THE CELEBRITY COOK AND RESTAURATEUR TALKS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF COVID ON THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY— AND WHAT DINING OUT WILL LOOK LIKE IN THE FUTURE.

4 mins read
Star
May 03, 2021

Let the Games Begin

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics works toward a mid-pandemic strategy.

7 mins read
Global Traveler
March 2021

Delectable Legacy

Chef Sandro Gamba brings a wealth of culinary experience to The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo.

2 mins read
Global Traveler
March 2021

Where the Action Is

Seoul sizzles with food, fashion, palaces and pageantry.

5 mins read
Global Traveler
March 2021

SAMSUNG REPORTS PROFIT JUMP DRIVEN BY STRONG CHIP DEMAND

Samsung Electronics Co. said its operating profit for the last quarter rose by more than 26% as it capped offa robust business year where its dual strength in parts and finished products allowed it to thrive amid the pandemic.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #483

DRAGON QUEST

YAKUZA: LIKE A DRAGON doubles down on the series’ RPG elements with a brave new turn-based battle system.

4 mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
February 2021