The Rubin is transforming. Read important updates from our Executive Director.

The Future of Science Fiction

Sci-fi author Nisi Shawl + artist collective The Otolith Group

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

In this era of avatars, portals, and the ever-increasing intrusion of social media into our daily lives, can science fiction help us anticipate the darker repercussions of technology? Artist collective The Otolith Group, whose work is on display at the Rubin, and renowned science fiction author Nisi Shawl discuss some of the urgent questions the genre considers today. As we often find ourselves outpaced by the evolution of technology and its effects on society, it is no surprise that we might look for insight in science fiction, the pre-eminent genre in our era to speculate about the future.


This program is made possible by Rasika and Girish Reddy, Manoj and Rita Singh, and the Akhoury Foundation.


About the Speakers


Nisi Shawl wrote the AfroRetroFuturist novel Everfair, a Nebula Award finalist set in an imaginary Utopia in the Congo; and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award-winning story collection Filter House. invited her to expand her essay “Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” into a monthly column, and she is obliging. She co-edited the anthologies Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany; and Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler. Shawl lives in Seattle, taking walks with her mother June and her cat Minnie at the pace of an entitled feline.

The Otolith Group is an award-winning collaboration whose practice spans the moving image, audio, performance, installation, and research. Founded in 2002 by the artists and theorists Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun, the group engages with the cultural and political legacies and potentialities of non-aligned movements, new media, Black Study, Afrofuturism, and Indofuturism while thinking speculatively with science fictions of the present. Their methodologies incorporate post-lens-based essayistic aesthetics that explore the temporal anomalies, anthropic inversions, and synthetic alienation of the posthuman, the inhuman, the non-human, and the anti-human. Expanding on the work of The Otolith Group is the public platform The Otolith Collective, whose work spans programming, exhibition-making, artists’ writing, workshops, publication, and teaching aimed at developing close readings of image and sound in contemporary society. Approaching curation as an artistic practice of building intergenerational and cross-cultural platforms, the collective has been influential in critically engaging the works of Chris Marker, Harun Farocki, Anand Patwardhan, Etel Adnan, Black Audio Film Collective, Sue Clayton, Mani Kaul, Peter Watkins, and Chimurenga in the UK, US, Europe, and Lebanon. The work of The Otolith Group and Collective has been presented widely, most recently at the Berlinale 13th Forum Expanded; Khiasma, Paris; The Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven; Sharjah Biennial 13; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; and Haus Der Kulturen de Welt, Berlin. The Otolith Group was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2010.

Image Credit
The Otolith Group (est. 2002; Anjalika Sagar, b. 1968, London; Kodwo Eshun, b. 1966, London); still from O Horizon; 81 minutes, 10 seconds; 4k; colour; 2018; commissioned by Bauhaus Imaginista and co-produced with the Rubin Museum, with kind support from Project 88.

Tickets: $22.00

Member Tickets: $19.80


Become a member today!


Student Tickets: $10.00

For select programs the museum offers $10 student-rate tickets. These tickets are available in advance of the event and can be purchased online, over the phone, or at the front desk. Tickets must be redeemed in person with the presentation of a student ID. Limited to one ticket per student ID.


Become a member today!