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Imagining Disaster: Science Fiction X Contemporary Art, Featuring Palestine +100 editor Basma Ghalayini

September 2, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Panel Discussion with Mike Pinnington, David Blandy, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Basma Ghalayini

About this event

Science Fiction – a term popularised if not invented by American publisher Hugo Gernsback in the 1920s – has existed as a genre for over a century. Although its roots can be traced back further still (not least to 1818 and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein), its arrival runs roughly in parallel with the birth of cinema. From Georges Melies’ fanciful A Trip to the Moon (1902) via Stanley Kubrick’s masterful 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) to its present-day dominance at the box office, it fires imaginations and thrills audiences in ever-growing numbers.

Imagining Disaster: Science Fiction X Contemporary Art is inspired by the genre many of us fell in love with when we were children – when films like Star Wars (1977) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) acted as gateways to a larger, fantastic world. Additionally, it is informed by Susan Sontag’s 1965 essay The Imagination of Disaster, in which Sontag argues: “Science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art.” Earlier that decade, this (and more besides) had been demonstrated by Chris Marker’s ‘photo-novel’ La Jetée (1962), a haunting tale of post-apocalyptic time travel.

More recently, contemporary artists have increasingly borrowed from, leaned into, and otherwise employed the science fiction playbook in their work. Why would this be, and why now? Join us in exploring and addressing these questions and many more, in a panel discussion looking at the power and potential of science fiction in the visual arts and beyond.

Streaming live to Twitch: