Two Art Exhibits: Climate Futures And A Genetic Engineering Past

Meet the creators behind exhibitions about humans’ and pigs’ intertwined histories, and what happens if we “get it right” on climate change.

Three illuminated images of pigs stand in a line in a dark museum space.
Installation view of Hybrid: an Interspecies Opera, by Heather Dewey-Hagborg. Courtesy of the artist and Fridman Gallery.

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Today, we’re going to take a field trip to a couple science-inspired museum exhibits that host D. Peterschmidt checked out last fall. The first is artist Heather Dewey Hagborg’s Hybrid: An Interspecies Opera, where she interviewed scientists and archaeologists and even filmed in a lab that’s experimenting with genetically modifying pigs to create more human-compatible organs. In the resulting documentary, which plays in the exhibit, the words from the scientists she interviewed are transposed into an opera composed by musician Bethany Barrett. Visitors can also find 3D-printed clay pig statues and a timeline of how humans have transformed pigs over ten millennia, thanks to selective breeding.

Then, we’ll head over to Climate Futurism, an exhibit curated by marine biologist Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, who thinks a lot about the possible futures of our climate. Not just one ideal climate future, but a range of futures that could be better if we make some changes. And one of the exhibit’s central questions it asks the viewer is, what if we get it right? D. spoke to Dr. Johnson and one of the three featured artists, Erica Deeman, about food justice, reconnecting with nature, and why the exhibit is called Climate Futurism.


A green wall adorned with paintings of gardens and garden tools.
Installation view of Erica Deeman, Denice Frohman and Olalekan Jeyifous: Climate Futurism at Pioneer Works, October 6 – December 10, 2023, curated by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. Courtesy of the artists and Pioneer Works. Photo by Dan Bradica.

Universe of Art is hosted and produced by D. Peterschmidt, who also wrote the music. Our show art was illustrated by Abelle Hayford. Support for Science Friday’s science and arts coverage comes from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 

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Meet the Writer

About D. Peterschmidt

D. Peterschmidt is a producer, host of the podcast Universe of Art, and composes music for Science Friday’s podcasts. Their D&D character is a clumsy bard named Chip Chap Chopman.

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