Friday 20 September 2019

Wellcome Collection - Being Human: our new permanent gallery is now open

Now open | Free
Exploring trust, identity and health in a changing world, our new permanent gallery looks at what it means to be human in the 21st century. 

Divided into four sections, Genetics, Minds & Bodies, Infection, and Environmental Breakdown, the new display presents around 50 artworks and objects that reflect our hopes and fears about new forms of medical knowledge, and our changing relationships with ourselves, each other and the world. 

"At every turn the visitor will find something to fascinate"  The Times

"The most accessible museum space ever opened in Britain" New York Times
Explore the exhibition
This section of the exhibition discusses genetic knowledge and how much we really want to know about our genetic inheritance.

Within Genetics you will find a tank of zebrafish – a species with which we share 70% of our genes – and a face developed using genetic markers related to appearance, sequenced from DNA from discarded cigarette butts, gum and hair.

Minds & Bodies presents artworks and objects that approach themes about mental health, body image and our perceptions of ourselves and each other.

Included in this section are Dolly Sen’s Help the Normals and Dignity, which challenge preconceptions of mental health conditions and their treatment.
This section explores our thoughts and feelings about infection and how this affects our relationships with others.

It features Eleven by Kia LaBeija, one of a series of photographs that explores her experience of growing up as HIV positive. Stigma relating to HIV is explored in Basse Stittgen’s Blood Objects series. These small objects are made from HIV positive blood, shown alongside the stories of each donor.

This section focuses on environmental breakdown and its effects on humans – what is being lost, how are we responding to it and where we might find ourselves in the future. 

Artist group Superflex present their short film Flooded McDonald’s in which a convincing life-size replica of a McDonald’s is gradually flooded with water. The film encourages us to reflect on consumption, capitalism and the effects of climate breakdown.