Eco-Imaginaries: Science Fictions, Speculative Futures

Documents of Contemporary Art

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    Cover Image: Lee Bul, Willing to Be Vulnerable, Sydney Biennale 2016). Photo:Lehamann Maupin

Past Event

This event was on Thu 2 Apr, 7pm


To launch Science Fiction, the latest in the Documents of Contemporary Art series of anthologies, this event delves into the final chapter – Ecologies – to consider the politics and societal implications of imaging our future planet(s) – with or without the human race. With speakers including guest editor Dan Byrne-Smith, artists Angela Chan and David Musgrave and chaired by researcher in Utopian science fiction Katie Stone (Birkbeck, University of London).

Drawing on their research and newly commissioned texts for the publication, the speakers consider global science fictions that challenge Western hegemonies, as well as early and contemporary examples of ecologically framed speculative fiction, while contemplating the trouble with the more recent ‘cli-fi’ (climate fiction) genre.

This event launches Science Fiction, the latest in the Documents of Contemporary Art anthology series published by Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press.

About the Speakers

Dan Byrne-Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Theory at Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts, London and is currently the Horniman Museum Art, Design and Natural History Fellow. His published work includes Traces of Modernity (2012).

Angela Chan is a creative climate change communicator and independently runs Worm: art + ecology ( It is an online curatorial platform challenging the criteria for climate change expertise through arts practices, through which she produces exhibitions, talks and workshops. Angela has a background in art history and an interdisciplinary MA in Climate Change: History, Culture, Society.  Her research interests span climate and social justice, decolonial and area studies and contemporary Chinese science fiction. She also writes speculative fiction as algae-la and co-founded the London Chinese Science Fiction Group hosted monthly at UCL.

David Musgrave is an artist and author of the novels Unit, Total Abstraction (shortlisted for the Fitzcarraldo Editions Novel Prize), and Lambda. An exhibition at greengrassi, London, is scheduled for April 2020. He is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts.

Katie Stone is a PhD student working in the English and Humanities Department of Birkbeck, University of London. Her thesis explores childhood and utopianism as imagined in science fiction. Katie is co-director of the London Science Fiction Research Community, co-founder of the research network Utopian Acts and one of this year’s R. D. Mullen Fellows. She has co-edited a special issue of Studies in Arts and Humanities Journal and recently won the Peter Nicholls’ essay prize for her work on James Tiptree Jr. Katie explores the radical potential of science fiction with the research collective Beyond Gender.