Accidents do happen, and according to Matthew Abess, lead curator of "Margin of Error" at the Wolfsonian-FIU, the chances of calamity striking has informed modern development in cursory ways. "Accidents disrupt the visionary promise of science and technology, making individuals and societies acutely aware that our sense of the world remains tenuous at every turn," Abess says. "This remains as true today as it did at the birth of modern industry, though perhaps less visibly so. 'Margin of Error' aims to bring all this into view."
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The exhibition, which opens to the public on a fabled Friday the 13, explores cultural responses to ambitious plans gone awry. From shipwrecks to explosions, collapses and fumbled workplace injuries, "Margin of Error" will explore the ways our progress has been interrupted by fear of catastrophe, featuring objects sourced from the Wolfsonian's boundless collection: decorative and graphic art, painting, sculpture, industrial artifacts, photography, model trains and board games will be on view, with works by major designers and artists like Man Ray and Herb Bayer.
To celebrate the opening, the Wolfsonian will be free and open to the public on today, November 13, from 4 to 9 p.m., offering curator-led tours, board games like Jenga and Battleship, and happy hour specials. "Board games are a perfect way to get into the spirit of the exhibition because they often share the same narrative structure," says Heather Cook, the museum's public programs manager. "In classics like Sorry and Jenga, you take calculated risks in an effort to quickly build your tower higher or move your piece around the board, only to be met with unexpected setbacks that can bring you tumbling back to the start."