Getty PST exhibition centering complex systems to open at UC Irvine’s Beall Center for Art + Technology this August

Image credit: Laura Splan, Baroque Bodies (Sway), 2024. work in progress still from interactive audiovisual installation including data-driven sound and 3D models with AI-generated imagery. Image courtesy of the artist. Commissioned by the Beall Center for Art + Technology’s Black Box Projects residency program.

Future Tense: Art, Complexity, and Uncertainty

Irvine, Calif., April 24, 2024 — In partnership with the 2024 Getty PST ART initiative, the UC Irvine Beall Center for Art + Technology is proud to present Future Tense: Art, Complexity, and Uncertainty. The exhibition will feature emerging and established contemporary artists whose interdisciplinary practices investigate complex systems, including evolutionary biology, global warming, neuroscience, data surveillance, and robotics. Churning between order and chaos, complex systems exhibit dynamic, uncertain, and unpredictable behavior and are characterized by feedback loops, self-organization, and emergent, spontaneous behavior. In paintings, drawings, kinetic sculptures, installations, and videos, Future Tense will offer artistic frameworks for apprehending complex issues faced in the 21st century, from scales microscopic to planetary.

Future Tense will exhibit new work by Laura Splan, Chico MacMurtrie, Hege Tapio, Gail Wight, and Lucy HG Solomon & Cesar Baio collective. Their interdisciplinary artistic research was commissioned by the Beall Center’s Black Box Projects residency program, a groundbreaking incubator of art-science innovation founded by Artistic Director David Familian in 2013. Works by Ralf Baecker, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Fernando Palma Rodríguez, Julie Mehretu, Pinar Yoldas, Clare Rojas, Carolina Caycedo, David de Rozas, and Theresa Schubert will be included alongside those of resident artists.

Future Tense engages the field of Complexity Studies, an evolution of cybernetic thought which emerged in order to study dynamic systems behavior. Where traditional scientific inquiry sought to predict universal phenomena, complexity studies seeks instead to mathematize the uncertainty of the universe and to chart intersections amongst neighboring systems–how, for example, digital expansion affects global temperature increase (Theresa Schubert), or how ocean acidification spawns rapid evolution within aquatic microbial communities (Gail Wight). Many today believe the complexity framework to be vital to studying a world whose issues are too entangled to be solved or apprehended individually. “We can no longer afford to try to control nature,” says exhibition curator David Familian, “but must learn to live within it.”

“The exhibition invites audiences to understand how complexity functions within individual works, and also to appreciate the wonder and aesthetics of their implicated systems,” says Familian. “Ultimately, Future Tense offers interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and systems thinking as a means of solving the vexing and unpredictable problems which plague our world.”

The opening of Future Tense follows a series of recorded and publicly-accessible symposia organized amongst exhibition artists, collaborative scientists, and guest lecturers since 2021. Programming will be developed into university curriculum and K-12 educational material, intended to expand access to the sciences and the arts.

Organized by Beall Center Artistic Director David Familian, Future Tense: Art, Complexity, and Uncertainty will be on view from August 24, 2024, through December 14, 2024. Artist talks, walkthroughs, and performances will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition through its runtime. The Beall Center is free admission and open to the public during the academic year Tuesday – Saturday from 12 noon – 6 p.m. Check here for holidays and other closures.

The Future Tense exhibition and ancillary program of artist lectures, symposia, and performances, has been generously supported by the Getty PST ART initiative and by the Beall Family Foundation.


About Pacific Standard Time: Pacific Standard Time, Southern California’s landmark arts event, returns in September 2024 to present more than 50 exhibitions at institutions throughout the region. Programs are thematically linked by the exploration intersections between art and science, both past and present. PST ART: Art & Science Collide follows Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA (September 2017 to January 2018) and Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 (October 2011 to March 2012). PST ART is a Getty initiative. For more information, visit  PST ART: Art & Science Collide

About the Beall Center for Art + Technology: The Beall Center is an exhibition and research center located at the University of California, Irvine, in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Since its opening in 2000, the Beall Center has promoted new forms of creation and expression by building innovative scholarly relationships and community collaborations among artists, scientists, and technologists and by encouraging research and development of art forms that can affect the future. For artists, the Beall Center serves as a proving ground – a place between the artist’s studio and the art museum – and allows them to work with new technologies in their early stages of development. For visitors, the Beall Center serves as a window to the most imaginative and creative visual arts innovations. The curatorial focus is a diverse range of innovative, world-renowned artists, both national and international, who work with experimental and interactive media. The Beall Center received its initial support from the Rockwell Corp. in honor of retired chairman Don Beall and his wife, Joan – the core idea being to merge their lifelong passions of business, engineering, and the arts in one place. Today major support is generously provided by the Beall Family Foundation. For more information, visit beallcenter.uci.edu.

About the Claire Trevor School of the Arts: As UCI’s creative engine, the Claire Trevor School of the Arts has proven itself to be a national leader in training future generations of artists and scholars who go on to inspire audiences in theaters, galleries and concert halls – as well as in entertainment and technology-related venues throughout the world. CTSA combines artistic training with a top-ranked liberal arts education. It is home to the departments of art, dance, drama and music, offering 15 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and two minors. CTSA is currently ranked No. 1 in affordable fine arts, drama/theater, and music degrees by the College Affordability Guide. Courses include extensive studio, workshop, and performance experiences; theoretical and historical studies; and arts and technology practices. CTSA’s nationally ranked programs begin with training but culminate in original 5 invention. The distinguished, international faculty work across a wide variety of art forms and forge interdisciplinary partnerships with others across the campus. For more information, visit arts.uci.edu.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation, and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It is located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit uci.edu

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UCI faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UCI news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.

LINK TO EXHIBITION CHECKLIST AND IMAGES