PORTALS comes to Providence Public Library
PPL is time traveling in 2016. We invite all adventurers to join us!
Providence Public Library Announces PORTALS: The History of the Future Exhibition & Program Series Kicking Off February 1
The PORTALS Exhibition will be Open to Library Visitors Beginning March 3
PROVIDENCE, RI – Providence Public Library (PPL) announces PORTALS: The History of the Future – kicking off in February with a variety of experiential and learning opportunities for all ages. The Library’s 2016 Exhibition & Program series (Feb. - July) will be in full swing beginning March 3 with the formal opening of the PORTALS: The History of the Future exhibition highlighting the material trails left by the people of the past as they looked to the future. It will include imaginative visions of futures that never came to pass, illustrations of fantastical contraptions, reflections on the nature of time, and other artifacts testifying to a human desire to visit eras besides our own.
PORTALS: The History of the Future is PPL’s second annual Exhibition & Program Series. “As we began with DON’T STOP THE MUSIC in 2015, we seek to engage the community in a multi-faceted conversation inspired by history and our collections. In addition to an exhibition featuring PPL’s unique collections, along with contributions and program offerings by many partner organizations, our goal with this library/community-wide experience is to provide a broad range of interactive and creative learning opportunities for all ages,” said Library Director Jack Martin.
The dream of time travel has fascinated humans for centuries. Facing the future, it engenders both hope and fear about our imagined outcomes; facing the past, it provokes curiosity (and sometimes scorn) toward people who lived and thought in ways that now seem alien. The notion of time itself, which seems so natural and linear, was challenged a century ago by the publication of Einstein’s theories of relativity. Meanwhile the technological optimism of the early 20th century, culminating in the 1939 World’s Fair, was pushing Americans to dream of the “World of Tomorrow” even as they were climbing out of the Great Depression.
Through the PORTALS exhibition, interactive program experiences and more, we’ll be studying the imagined futures of generations past while offering opportunities for all ages to explore current visions for the future. From technology to fashion, we’ll present how people of the past looked into the future (and what they saw). And, we’ll invite today’s visionaries to think ahead and even do their own experimentation.
Portals: The History of the Future is sponsored by Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and Nordstrom. Exhibition and programming partners include: RIMOSA, RISD Continuing Education, Cable Car Cinema & Café, Community MusicWorks, Design Agency, Ladd Observatory, The Providence Athenaeum, The John Hay Library at Brown University, University of Rhode Island 4-H Spin Club, The Met School, Nordstrom Visual Merchandising Team, Providence Community Libraries, and this year’s Creative Fellow Walker Mettling.
Visitors to the exhibition can view popular scientific magazines from the 1800s, a first edition of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (on loan from Brown University’s John Hay Library), a magicians’ supply catalog, a 1936 pulp science fiction magazine containing a story by H.P. Lovecraft, and plans for Utopian communities, among many other historical items. The exhibit will run through June 28, followed by a month-long exhibition of creations by people throughout the program series.
Creative Fellowship and Inspired Creations (On Exhibit in July)
The annual Special Collections Creative Fellowship is awarded to an artist, musician, designer or performer, and provides funding for active research in PPL’s unique, historical Special Collections, as well as the creation of a new creative, social or scholarly product that contributes to the intellectual life of the Library and the vibrancy of our annual exhibition and program series. In 2016, Walker Mettling, a local artist and member of the Providence Comics Consortium, will use inspiration from Special Collections materials to produce comics and illustrations related to the exhibition’s futurism theme and curate an exhibit-related project involving other local artists and designers.
In addition, the Library has mounted a web site devoted to PORTALS at portals.provlib.org. Detailed program information, as well as continuing additions and updates on happenings and creations, can be found here throughout the six-month exhibition and program events.
Visitors can view the exhibition on display in the Providence Journal Rhode Island Room on the first floor of the Library from March 3 – July 30. The primary exhibition will end June 28 and artist creations will be on exhibit through July 30. It can be viewed any time during the Library’s regular open hours.
For complete details and updates visit PORTALS.PROVLIB.ORG
• Providence 2050 Visualizing Tomorrow: oral interviews with emerging Providence leaders
• Community MusicWorks presents an Experimental Music Concert
• Robotics Workshops: Youth explore fundamental mechanical concepts using common household “junk drawer” items
• Dr. Who Trivia Night – with prizes!
• RIMOSA Workshops: Cut-Paper Animation
• Teen Squad Fashion Forward Design Classes
• Panel Discussions, Lectures: The Future of…
• What If?...Speculative Short Stories Reading Group
• Creating Your Future: A Short Fiction Writing Workshop
• Cable Car Cinema Presents a Film Series – A Look into the Future
Select program series descriptions follow. Additional program listings and happenings will be available at portals.provlib.org,
Providence 2050 Visualizing Tomorrow: A view into the future of Rhode Island in 2050 through oral interviews with the current generation of emerging Providence leaders representing a variety of cultures and communities of color.
Intergenerational Histories: Teens from the Met School will film children interviewing members of the older generation about their past, and the elders asking the children about imagined futures, resulting in the creation of an video display of intergenerational interviews.
Teen Squad: Fashion Forward
A series of fashion design workshops, incorporating inspirational materials from PPL’s Special Collections, will be offered to teens in partnership with mentors from the Rhode Island School of Design’s Apparel Design program.
URI 4-H Junk Drawer Robotics: Youth will have the opportunity to explore fundamental mechanical concepts through participating in hands-on engineering activities that inspire critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
RI Museum of Science and Art Workshops: A series of Cut-Paper Animation Workshops, a blended learning opportunity for the children of Providence, will take place at five libraries in the city from February through April. Youth at PPL as well as the Wanskuck, Olneyville, Washington Park and Rochambeau branches of the Providence Community Libraries will learn how to transform still pictures, actual reproductions of images from PPL’s Collections of patents, textiles, periodicals, and more into animated shorts. The shorts will be screened at a special premiere event at PPL.
Community MusicWorks: CMW resident musicians and MediaLab students will research PPL’s collections to influence their MediaLab project, which is a CMW initiative designed to expose students to non-traditional music making as well as audio and visual media skills. MediaLab classes have resulted in site-specific installations, handmade publications, video screenings, and an annual experimental music concert that pairs students with local composers. The concert will be performed at PPL as part of the Portals series.
What If? Speculative Short Stories: What if time travel were possible? What if you could hire a company to dispose of any and all pests, including human ones? What if very intelligent children were raised in a closed, controlled environment designed to enhance their native abilities? Contemporary and classic short stories will be emailed to registered participants who will read and then meet to discuss this speculative fiction.
Cable Car Film Series: A Look Into the Future
The Cable Car Cinema and PPL are teaming up in April and May to present a series of six topical futuristic and scifi films through the 20th century. From time travel, to space travel, to alternate worlds, follow along with us to see what filmmakers portrayed for the future and how things have changed over time.
Find a continually updated listing of programs and events, projects and other developments, including classes/workshops for all ages, lectures, and a film series at portals.provlib.org.
(release from Providence Public Library)