Future Tense: Art, Complexity, and Uncertainty

Image credit: Laura Splan, Baroque Bodies (Ambient Portals #1), 2022. Digital animation created with 3D nucleosome model and AI-generated image. 01:23 minutes. This work was made possible by the Simons Foundation. Created in collaboration with Adam Lamson, Science Collaborator and theoretical biophysicist at Flatiron Institute, a division of the Simons Foundation. ©2022 Laura Splan.



Evolutionary biology, meteorology, ecology, neuroscience, and robotics are just a few examples of the complex systems that artists engage with in the exhibition Future Tense: Art, Complexity, and Uncertainty.  Complex systems are dynamic, uncertain, and unpredictable. They are characterized by chaos, feed-back loops, self-organization, and emergent behavior. Future Tense features both emerging and established contemporary artists who utilize the concepts of complex systems in traditional media and new technologies such as computer modeling, robotics and data visualizations.  This includes existing work by Ralf Baecker, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Julie Mehretu, Clare Rojas and Theresa Schubert, as well as new works by Newton Harrison, Chico MacMurtrie, Lucy HG Solomon & Cesar Baio collective, Laura Splan, and Gail Wight, commissioned for this exhibition by the Beall Center’s Black Box Projects artist residency program. Organized around different categories of work––computational, environmental, biological, social, and visual––the exhibition explores complex systems at various levels, from microscopic organisms to the totalizing implications of global warming on a planetary scale. The goal of Future Tense is for audiences to understand how complexity functions within individual works of art, but also to experience and appreciate the beauty, intricacy, and wonder of each complex system.

On May 31st of 2023, the Beall Center hosted presentations from its six Black Box Projects artist residents and two ancillary research advisors; to view a recording and program of this roundtable event, please click here.

This exhibition is made possible with support from Getty through its PST ART: Art & Science Collide initiative. 





August 24, 2024 to December 14, 2024
Curated By: 
David Familian
Press Release: 
Ralf Baecker
Cesar & Lois
Lynn Hershman Leeson
Chico MacMurtrie
Julie Mehretu
Fernando Palma Rodríguez
Clare Rojas
Theresa Schubert
Laura Splan
Harrison Studio
Hege Tapio
Gail Wight
Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas