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Permanent IMoB Galleries 

The exhibition of Objects of the Misanthropocene project partners wish to express their sincere thanks to the dedicated staff & trustees of the Illegal Museum of Beyond. We are indebted to their generosity in making a selection of their exhibits available for our display.

The exhibits have been developed by a trans-disciplinary experimental lab in a speculative practice summoned by Dean Sully, Conservator at UCL Institute of Archaeology and Scientist in Residence at the Slade School of Fine Art, 0002019-0002020, Katherine Beckwith, Li Xiaozhou(Ariel) and Cecilie Gravesen, with partners from distinguished design and heritage institutions. Contributors are from UCL Slade School of Fine Art & Institute of Archaeology, the Architectural Association, Goldsmiths University Department of Design, and the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies at University of Gothenburg. A series of online exchanges during the COVID-19 lockdown contributed to the fabulation of artefacts of the Misanthropocene, fabricated to reflect objects that inhabit a selection of dystopian future worlds (described in fictional and non-fictional accounts of the Anthropocene).

Project outline:

Objects of the Misanthropocene

Like with earlier collaborations, in this exhibition Sully and Gravesen creatively and ‘insouciantly’ critique the heritage world and the museum, its objects, and the stories it tells about itself - by letting scientists do creative work and artists do quasi-science. They continue to explore a belief that, while scientific processes aim to explain how things are, creative practice has the potential to explore how things should be. Critical Speculative Design works with the tension between the real and constructed, the actual and fictional. The Illegal Museum of Beyond proposes a powerful tool for a critique of our actions by providing a certain future perspective on our uncertain present. The use of fabulation as a method for speculating about future worlds, generates an opportunity to create a sense of responsibility now. By imagining new stories, new interactions and new pasts, we are forced to speculate on other possible, plausible future worlds. If we get busy speculating more about everything, reality may become more malleable and preferable futures more achievable. 

Please navigate the rooms of the exhibition via the floorplan below, to discover more about these future worlds, the objects that inhabit them, and how this affects our here & now.  The exhibition is currently under construction, so please proceed with caution.

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Further reading:

Connolly, W, E., 2011. A World of Becoming. Durham & London: Duke University Press.


Dupuy, J-P., 2007. Rational Choice before the Apocalypse. Anthropoetics XIII, no. 3, Fall 2007/Winter 2008.

Dunne, A, and Raby, F., 2013. Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction and Social Dreaming
The MIT Press. 

Holtorf, C., 2009. On the Possibility of Time Travel. Lund Archaeological Review 15 (2009), 31–41.


Mulgan, T., 2011. Ethics for a Broken World, Imagining Philosophy After Catastrophe. Acumen: Durham.

Mulgan, T., 2014.  Ethics For Possible Futures. The Aristotelian Society Proceedings of The Aristotelian Society, Vol. cxiv, Part 1.

Petersson, B., Holtorf, C., (eds.)., 2017. The Archaeology of Time Travel Experiencing the Past in the 21st Century. Oxford: Archaeopress Archaeology.

Ward, Matt., and Loizeau, Jimmy,. 2020. The Illegal Town Plan: anecdotal speculation for coastal futures. Temes de Disseny 36 1-18.

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