Saturday 3 June – Friday 1 September 2017
Newly commissioned for this exhibition, Conrad Shawcross' In Light of The Machine proposes a relationship between cosmology and technology. The slow-moving, seemingly sentient mechanism at the centre of the work illuminates a series of perforated monolithic structures as if communicating a form of notation or code, whilst also resembling a starlit sky in negative. The henge formation of the monoliths references the Neolithic era from which modern civilisation emerged, yet the ephemerality of the structures suggest an almost non-physical existence; instead the henge becomes a virtual plane through which information can be transmitted and abstracted.
Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction is a genre-defining exploration of one of popular culture’s most celebrated realms. This unprecedented show takes place all over the Centre, encompassing literature, contemporary art, film, music, comic books and video games to present a new, global perspective on Science Fiction.
Curated by Swiss historian and writer Patrick Gyger, this festival-style exhibition explores Science Fiction as an experimental genre, delving into its storytelling roots to discover how its visionary creators captured imaginations around the world to become one of the most popular and enjoyable narratives today. Featuring work never before shown in the UK, the show places rare and iconic pieces alongside familiar, well-loved classics, next to new contemporary art commissions, hoping to surprise and challenge visitors’ perception of the genre.
The exhibition includes over 200 books from around the world, including original manuscripts and typescripts, contemporary art commissions and existing art works, over 50 film and TV clips, featuring some of the most memorable cinematic moments in Science Fiction as well as rare, unseen footage, pulp magazines, adverts, concept art, film props, comics, video games and robots.
Alongside film clips, books, pulps, adverts, comics, posters and games, the Barbican presents both newly commissioned and existing contemporary artworks.
Image: Conrad Shawcross, In Light of The Machine, 2017
Commissioned by Barbican International Enterprises
Photo: Tristan Fewings / Getty Images