Events

Decoding Techno-Orientalism in Science Fiction

The AC Institute is hosting a series of screenings that will examine the pervasive exoticization of Asian people and cultures in science fiction.

Scene from Lawrence Lek’s film <em>Sinofuturism (1839–2046 AD)</em> (2016) (courtesy the artist)
Scene from Lawrence Lek’s film Sinofuturism (1839–2046 AD) (2016) (courtesy the artist)

The cannon of science fiction is replete with futuristic visions sprinkled with appropriated elements of Asian cultures and identities. From Blade Runner and the recent live action Ghost in the Shell remake to the video game StarCraft, filmmakers, designers, artists, and others have continually whitewashed Asian narratives and characters while treating Asian cultures as a kind of exotic raw material to augment fantastical depictions of the future. Fine artists have fared somewhat better, calling attention to the eroticizing of Asian people as passive technological objects for (typically white) main characters to manipulate and exploit.

On Wednesday, September 13, ongoing practices of techno-orientalism will be the focus of a discussion led by art historian (and Hyperallergic contributor) Danielle Wu at the AC Institute. The event is part of a monthlong series organized by Tiffany Jaeyeon Shin in tandem with her solo exhibition at the space. Wednesday’s conversation about the legacy of eroticized Asian imagery and characters in science fiction will be followed by a screening of moving-image artworks that use Afrofuturism, Asiafuturism, and other empowering cybernetic iconographies to expose systems of oppression and exploitation. Works to be screened include pieces by Morehshin Allahyari, Lawrence Lek, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Sondra Perry, and Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde.

Still from Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde, "Mother Tongue" (2015) (courtesy the artist)
Still from Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde, “Mother Tongue” (2015) (courtesy the artist)

When: Wednesday, September 13, 7–9pm
Where: AC Institute (16 East 48th Street, 4th Floor, Midtown, Manhattan)

More info here.

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