About the Exhibition

January 17–March 29, 2020


By some estimates, China produces more than 9 million mobile phones per day. India recently surpassed China, meaning that this incredible rate of production generates more than 10 billion mobile phones per year. Add chargers, watches, tablets, and computers, and a global problem looms. The World After Us asks “what will—and what can—happen to this technology over time?” The exhibition is a timely provocation that will leave viewers contemplating how we might change our ecological trajectory.

Artist and academic Nathaniel Stern exhibits a range of possibilities for our electronic waste. He gathers sculptures, prints, photographs, and experiments that encourage viewers to consider their relationship with technology and nature. Combining plant life with electronic waste, and scientific experimentation with artistic exploration, the multi-faceted installation includes a wallhung jungle of computer detritus, fossilized phones, laptops, and repurposed electronics.

Check out this 7-minute documentary by filmmaker Nate Romenesko as he explores some of the Nathaniel Stern and his team’s intentions, processes, and findings over several years of work on the traveling exhibition and series, The World After Us: Imaging techno-aesthetic futures – from conception, through production, and to documentation and installation. Watch the documentary

This exhibition is generously supported by the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Office of Research.


Exhibition Activities

Free and Open to the Public
Location: MOWA | DTN, Saint Kate–The Arts Hotel, 139 East Kilbourn, Milwaukee

Opening Reception
Gallery Night: Friday, January 17 | 5:00
Meet Nathaniel Stern and be the first to view The World After Us.

Exhibition Panel
Saturday, February 15 | 2:00–4:00
Scholarly experts come together for a special panel discussion, including University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee educators: Kennan Ferguson, Professor of Political Science; Jennifer Johung, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Architectural History; and Nathaniel Stern, Professor of Art and Design at Peck School of the Arts and Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Special guests include Amanda Boetzkes, Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory at University of Guelph, Ontario, and Edward Shanken, Associate Professor of Digital Art and New Media at University of California, Santa Cruz, Johannes Lehmann, Liberty Hyde Bailey professor of soil science at Cornell University and Coe Douglas, multi-disciplinary artist and writer.

Panel supported by the Department of Art and Design, Digital Humanities Lab, and the Center for 21st Century Studies at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Creative Morning
Friday, January 31 | 8:30–10:00
Attend a breakfast lecture featuring Nathaniel Stern. This free event requires advance registration in January.

Meet the Artist
Thursday, March 12 | 5:30–6:30 (Cocktails with the artist to follow)
Stop by MOWA | DTN to meet Nathaniel Stern.