If you thought that the Pokémon Go craze had come and gone, then think again. The month-long immersive exhibition and forum A Species Between Worlds: Our Nature, Our Screens created by artist, author and lecturer John Mack had over 1,000 visitors during its first weekend continuing to attract record crowds as it enters its final few weeks and has just been named one of the ‘Top 15 things to do in NYC’ by Time Out NY magazine.
The event has been examining the effects of virtual realities on humanity in the digital age and features more than 65 of John Mack’s artworks in a 17,000 sq ft exhibition space, comprised of more than 50 U.S. National Parks and the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, all manipulated and combined with artificial landscapes from the augmented reality Pokémon Go app.
A Species Between Worlds was inspired by the mass stampedes to catch the colourful Pokémon ‘pocket monsters’, which led Mack to explore how the phenomenon was blurring the boundaries between virtuality and reality. Developed over the past six years, this exhibition examines the intersection of humanity and technology, via a gamified meditation experience aimed at restoring balance between ourselves and our smart devices.
A Species Between Worlds has a customized app that guides visitors throughout the exhibition, framed by the artifice of the Pokémon Go interface, which gradually fades as reality is restored.
Alongside Mack’s ground-breaking artwork, A Species Between Worlds has featured a rich program of talks and events, free to the public, from thought leaders from around the world on the relationship between humanity and technology. Program highlights include Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen; a conversation with Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind; a panel hosted by Stanford University Professors Rob Reich, Jeremey Weinstein and Mehran Sahami to discuss their book, System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot; a panel on the State of Social Media featuring NYU’s Jonathan Haidt, Center for Humane Technology’s Tristan Harris, and NYC school commissioner David Banks, to name a few.
The success of the New York exhibition means there are now plans to take A Species Between Worlds to other cities around the US and around the world. Mack is particularly keen to take the show to Tokyo, Japan – home of Pokémon Go.
John Mack is an artist, photographer, author, lecturer and the founder of the non-profit initiative Life Calling, whose mission is to foster awareness and balance for society in the Digital Age. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and universities on the subjects of technology, awareness and consciousness.
Mack says: ‘I’m very consciously not anti-technology, but rather I aim to foster mindfulness
so that our devices serve as our tools and not the other way around. The exhibition is an invitation to contemplate our relationship to our devices and the surrounding world while inspiring the introspection needed to prevent the loss of our humanity.’
He adds: ‘Humans are a species between worlds. We’re on a mass-migration from the natural world to the digital world, abdicating our natural spaces while expanding digital ones. Smartphones, designed to be tools, have become our reality — and with every swipe, tap and pinch, our humanity is being exported, little by little.’
A SPECIES BETWEEN WORLDS: OUR NATURE, OUR SCREENS
537 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
September 1 – 30, 2022
ABOUT JOHN MACK
John Mack is an artist, photographer, author, lecturer and the founder of the non-profit initiative Life Calling, whose mission is to foster awareness and balance for society in the Digital Age. Mack is a 2022 honoree of The Explorer’s Club 50: Fifty people changing the world who the world needs to know about. Mack also serves as a board member of Fairplay, an organization that strives to create a world where kids can be kids, free from the false promises of marketers and the manipulations of Big Tech. He has served as an adjunct lecturer for the Graduate program of Design at the University of Lisbon. He currently lives between London and Seville.
ABOUT LIFE CALLING
Founded in 2021, The Life Calling Initiative responds to the increasingly eroding boundaries between humanity and technology in the Digital Age. Its fundamental mission is to both raise awareness and to develop educational strategies to help preserve our humanity in light of the encroaching digital landscape.