Not Natural — Science Gallery Melbourne

Explore the boundary between natural and artificial at this free exhibit in University of Melbourne's Science Gallery.
Alec Jones
Published on March 01, 2024

In partnership with


Looking to the future opens up a vast expanse of possibilities — some hopeful, many frightening, few certain. Even contemplating the options can really push the limits of our conceptual thinking. Fortunately, there are experts and creative thinkers out there who love nothing more. The results of those thought experiments have come to life and can be found at the University of Melbourne's Science Gallery.

Science Gallery Melbourne is the perfect place to ponder the big questions. It's part of the Global Science Gallery Network — the only node of this innovative hive mind currently existing in Australia. The current highlight exhibition, Not Natural, explores the daring question of the future: how far will humanity's meddling of nature go — and will we still find ourselves on top of the food chain when we're done?

Patricia Piccinini, Kindred. Photo by Matthew Stanton

As scientific thought evolves, concepts that were once outlandish sci-fi are becoming reality: cloning, de-extinction, AI — any of which could prove to change the world for better or worse. Accordingly, this exhibit gathers local and international projects exploring the growing friction between natural and artificial. It's part art gallery, part experiment, and all groundbreaking. Works on display include Patricia Piccinini's orangutan-human hybrid family sculpture Kindred, Neil Mendoza's AI-powered typing tins of spam Spambots, real Tasmanian tiger specimens from the University of Melbourne's Thylacine Integrated Genetic Restoration Research (TIGGR) Lab, and touchable silicone organs in Noemie Soula's Mythical Living Data.

Additionally, the exhibit is supported by a packed live program, including a live cooking show with bio-artists and lab-grown meat and three Friday night parties headlined by Melbourne-based contemporary artists and theatre companies. All that's left in this exciting exhibit is for you to go take a look and be the judge of the most likely course for our future.

Not Natural runs every Wednesday—Saturday at Science Gallery Melbourne until Saturday, June 29. For more information, visit the website.

Top images: Noemie Soula, Mythical Living Data; Neil Mendoza, Spambots. Photos by Matthew Stanton.


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