Imagined Futures explores how we visualize space: but don't call this exhibit from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection mere science fiction:
"This is more like science imagining or science fantasy,” explained curator Ben Heywood.
Some of the things at Pivot Art + Culture’s latest exhibit are science fact -- like the rocket engine from Allen's Flying Heritage Collection.
It powered the fastest human-made object ever in the 1960's - the X 15 ultrasonic jet.
"It's a reaction chamber which is essentially a sphere you squirt fuel into; you set that fuel on fire, and out the back, bang! You've got 4000 miles an hour,” said Heywood.
This rocket engine - also known as the RMD XLR 99 --is here not just because of what it did, but what it is: a ready-made work of art.
"A rocket engine is a very beautiful handmade object,” Heywood said.
Also, from Allen's Living Computer Museum, an IBM 360 console: the only one remaining in the world.
This console fronted the computer was mission control for NASA -- and now it's a pop culture monolith:
"This computer has been a film star,” said Heywood. “It was on a couple of episodes of Mad Men, playing itself, a computer, and it was also in Tomorrowland with George Clooney."
Only the console is on display – the 1960’s equivalent of a keyboard and screen. The computer itself would fill the entire gallery.
And today, it's outperformed by the tiny computers we all carry in our pockets. The IBM 360 was capable of 16.6 million computations per second. A modern smartphone can be capable of 3.3 billion calculations per second.
Some of these visions of the future from the past look silly now. Others, inspired.
And even though no one can predict for sure, this exhibit envisions an future that's limited only by imagination:
“We're entering a new space age,” said Heywood. "I think that's super exciting, and I think people are really invigorated by that."