Alicia Eggert & Safwat Saleem
2015 - 2017
The Future is a series of data-driven sculptures that illuminate critical human rights issues affecting people around the world. The sculptures are freestanding marquee-style signs that are each composed of 206 light bulbs. Each bulb represents one of the world’s 206 sovereign states; collectively, the light bulbs spell the word “future” in some of the most commonly spoken languages.
The first three sculptures in the series are written in English, Mandarin and Hindi. They illuminate the overall state of peace, death penalty and marriage equality around the world. Data is culled from various sources, including the Institute for Economics and Peace and Amnesty International.
By intentionally simplifying complex matters and representing them as binary on/off states, The Future is designed to instigate conversations and create awareness about issues across the globe that affect billions of people. The Future may look rather grim and dark at this particular moment in time, but our hope is that the project inspires people to reflect on what can be accomplished to make the world brighter.
The Future/Peace premiered at TED2015, and has since been exhibited at the Cartagena Data Festival and Writing Lightly. In October 2016 all first three sculptures - /Peace, /Death Penalty and /Marriage Equality - were exhibited at Dallas Aurora.
The Future is an ongoing work, commissioned by and created in collaboration with Fine Acts, with more global issues being currently translated into sculptures.
Alicia Eggert is an interdisciplinary artist whose work focuses on the relationship between language, image and time. Her artwork often moves, changes, deteriorates, and in some cases, even dies. It has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as the CAFA Art Museum in Beijing and the Triennale Design Museum in Milan. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and VICE, as well as in Typoholic: Material Types in Design and Elements, and Principles of 4D Art & Design.
Alicia is a TED Fellow and has an MFA in Sculpture/Dimensional Studies from Alfred University. She was an Assistant Professor of Art at Bowdoin College in Maine from 2010-2014, and is now an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at the University of North Texas in Denton.
Safwat Saleem is a Pakistani-American visual artist, graphic designer and filmmaker. He's best known for making politically-charged satirical art. His artwork has used a variety of media, including illustration, writing, animation, audio, film and sculpture. He often combines several media to create multimedia storytelling experiences that get his audiences talking -- and laughing -- about subjects that tend to otherwise make people feel uncomfortable. Safwat is also the founder of Bandbaja, a Pakistani music magazine that promoted the use of modern popular music as a socio-political tool.
Safwat’s work is shown regularly in galleries around the United States and has been featured in publications such as Wired, BoingBoing and Brainpickings. He is a TED Senior Fellow.