as part of On Display
The Robot Exhibit: History, Fantasy, and Reality (1984) at MAD (then the American Craft Museum) was one of the first comprehensive surveys of the history of robots, cyborgs, automatons, and androids. A visionary exhibit that attracted a record number of visitors, MAD presented robots as a multidisciplinary phenomenon, a confluence of craft and science. But beyond the myth of the robot, here were the roots of a revolution—automatization, new production methods, and even 3D printing and rapid prototyping—that would take the design world by storm in the following twenty years. How can exhibitions forecast future trends in design, from concepts to manufacturing, funding, and consuming?