Documents of Contemporary Art: Science Fiction


Documents of Contemporary Art: Science Fiction

Edited by Dan Byrne-Smith

Part of the acclaimed Documents of Contemporary Art series of anthologies which collect writing on major themes and ideas in contemporary art.

"For this collection, Dan Byrne-Smith brings together his acute aesthetic sense, his extensive knowledge of science fiction, and his engaged utopian hermeneutic to present this compelling array of artists and writers who break open the cage of neoliberal entrapment and engage in a revolutionary response to the dark times that immerse us all." 

-Tom Moylan, Glucksman Professor Emeritus and
Founding Director of the Ralahine Centre for
 Utopian Studies at the University of Limerick, and
author of Becoming Utopian: The Culture and Politics
of Radical Transformation (2020)

In the past two decades, artists and writers have increasingly adopted the idea that science fiction can be understood as a lens through which to search for fragments of truth emerging from the past or the future, and the proliferation of science fiction in contemporary art practice and discourse reflects an increased understanding of how this narrative field continues to grow in relevance. Split into four distinct approaches (Cognitive Estrangement, Futures, Posthumanism and Ecologies), this unique collection gathers key examples of the influence of science fiction in recent cultural development: from the integration and acceleration of technological change to global urbanisation and concepts of futurity; from the boundaries of social structures and non-human life to the threatening self-evidence of climate change. The volume also includes a brand new essay by David Musgrave on Kobo Abe's novel Inter Ice Age 4.

Artist surveyed include Laylah Ali, Pawel Althamer, Ama Josephine Budge, Lee Bul, Ellen Gallagher, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Eduardo Kac, Patrick Keiller, Josh Kline, Lawrence Lek, Anne Lislegaard, Mariko Mori, Wangechi Mutu, The Otolith Group, Suzanne Treister.

Writers include Peio Aguirre, Margaret Atwood, J.G. Ballard, Jean Baudrillard, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Rosi Braidotti, Rachel Carson, T.J. Demos, Donna J. Haraway, N. Katherine Hayles, Wanuri Kahiu, Tom McCarthy, David Musgrave, Alondra Nelson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Darko Suvin.

Dan Byrne-Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Theory at Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts, London. His published work includes Traces of Modernity (2012).

Paperback, 240 pages, 210 x 145 mm

ISBN 978-0-85488-281-6

First published 2020

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