A new exhibition is on at the Museum of Discovery on North Terrace in Adelaide, and the theme this time is INVISIBILITY is everywhere.
There are a compelling series of interactive displays that show the ‘invisibility’ that is all around us including people you don’t notice, subtle environmental changes, and algorithms that track our every move throughout our lives in the technology we carry and use every day.
As you enter the building, the foyer has portraits of Aboriginal women which were commissioned to recognise their leadership. I like the fact that we have to look up to them to see them and information on each of the women, who range from writers, health advocates, artists, dancers, and lecturers can be found via QR codes on display.
There is an amazing light and sound display which takes tracking data worn by AFL football player Adam Goodes during games and combines it with Adnyamathanha culture and language and the sound of wind as it weaves a visual story of Aboriginal traditional knowledge systems. It’s an amazing display which shows the data points collected during Goodes AFL playing career and a 3D scan of a significant tree (wirra) from his traditional land.
In another room you are taken into an underwater world where you can interact with screens showing icebergs melting, plastics and other rubbish in our oceans, coral bleaching and other phenomenon occurring around our planet.
There’s also an interactive display where you can see on a giant globe, information from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) that gives visualisations of world temperatures, climate changes, amounts of carbon dioxide around the globe, coral bleaching outlooks and human management of land and oceans.
There is another interactive display of the Aboriginal Kaurna season of Bokarra and what happens during this time in January and February, told in story and sounds.
Then the displays start to get a little more disturbing but not totally surprising, where they look at the invisibility of algorithms and just how much our phones and devices track everything we do, every day, and how that data gets distributed to companies with or without our permission.
As the information says though, the better we understand it the better we can act on it. The displays are a frightening look into the amount of information that is known about each of us and what we give up freely every day.
There is a place where you can have a bit of fun too, with a biometric mirror where if you’re game, you can find out what algorithms think about you. In this display you are invited to look into a mirror and a computer will guess how you feel and write some poetry in response.
In another area you can take part in an experiment to see how accurate judgements about you are, again based on algorithms. These are based on the opinions of 33,000 people who looked at photographs of faces and made various calls on what those people’s traits were likely to be, just based on visual interpretation. It shows that even though this is obviously not accurate, it doesn’t stop companies from using algorithms to make decisions about us every day.
It has an amusing modern day sideshow hall of mirrors feel about it and a bit of fun mixed with dread, when the computer scans yours face then comes up with predictions including your age, and perceptions of traits such as how humble, trustworthy, kind, weird, emotionally stable, and intelligent amongst other things, you are.
At the end of your visit there’s a fabulous café onsite to have great food and a coffee and take in all the mind boggling experiences.
Another awesome exhibition at MOD Adelaide for you to discover. The museum is near the Morphett Street Bridge on North Terrace, it’s free to enter and is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays. I love this place!