The Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro is not a collection of old things, but a cutting-edge collection of scientific ideas and information about where we as a species came from and where we might be heading. I found the most striking aspect, though, was how so many visitors ignored the exhibits in favour of their phones, checking messages, updating their Facebook profiles and posing for selfies. People’s inability to interact with the present and what’s in front of them strikes me as just as alarming as what the future of the planet might have in store for us. Technology has allowed us to capture and record images like never before, but somewhere along the way we seem to be becoming less capable of really looking and seeing.
My three month tour around Chile, Bolivia and Brazil came to an end yesterday and a visit to the brand new Museum of Tomorrow (O Museu do Amanhã) in Rio de Janeiro seemed like an appropriate way to finish. It opened just six months ago and is part of the port revitalisation project. The design by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and the setting on the waterfront with a view of the Niterói bridge are simply stunning.
Inside you find a sequence of rooms about the cosmos, our planet, our effect on it and the possible futures that might unfold. There are a lot of statistics and information to take in, but inevitably it’s the more interactive displays that get the most attention. I went on a Tuesday which is free, but packed, so it’s not the best day if you want to go and contemplate the future of our planet in peace and quiet.
As for my future, I’m heading back to São Paulo later today to pack up my things after six years living there before returning to the UK for a month. Then in August I’ll be off again on my travels, this time to India for 5 months.