The University of Melbourne

06/05/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/05/2024 15:50

New Science Gallery exhibition will explore different insights into science fiction

Miko No Inori (1996) by Mariko Mori (JP)

A new exhibition offering fresh insights into science fiction, as seen through the lens of mostly women artists from the Asia Pacific, will open at the University of Melbourne's Science Gallery on 3 August.

SCI-FI: Mythologies Transformed adopts traditional Western science fiction paradigms, such as parallel worlds and interdimensional travel, as a starting point to explore the genre's possible roots in Asian philosophy and spirituality.

Dr Ryan Jefferies, Director of Science Gallery Melbourne, said it was an honour to collaborate with Singapore's ArtScience Museum on the second iteration of this exhibition.

"Originally launched last year to great acclaim, the exhibition uncovers new perspectives on science fiction by highlighting connections between the genre and Asian philosophy and mythology," Dr Jefferies said.

"We are excited to present a series of works by predominantly women artists from across the Asia Pacific whose practices are inspired by the region's history and culture, presented here in Melbourne alongside works by First Nations artists whose practices also draw on rich cultural traditions."

Honor Harger, the Vice President of ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, said the exhibition celebrated the emergence of new voices and perspectives in science fiction.

"Over the years, the traditionally male-dominated and Western-centred genre of science fiction has evolved to give rise to more diverse voices, and the exhibition celebrates this by showcasing how women artists from Asia are addressing science fiction, dream worlds and fantastical realities in their work,'' Ms Harger said.

"Using science fiction as a starting point to explore these diverse worlds and inclusive futures envisaged by some of the most prominent artists working today, the exhibition highlights concepts such as parallel universes, interdimensional travel and transcendence, notions deeply rooted in Asian philosophy, to suggest some science fiction tropes could have their origins in Asia."

Professor Michael Wesley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Culture and Engagement at the University of Melbourne, said: "This powerful collaboration exemplifies our commitment to fostering international partnerships which transcend disciplinary boundaries, deepen our cultural understanding, and enrich the University's diverse community.

"Through such partnerships, we continue to offer our students, staff, and alumni shared cultural expressions that can lead to profound and enriching educational experiences."

SCI-FI: Mythologies Transformed includes:

  • Multidisciplinary artist Mariko Mori's seminal video work, Miko No Inori, which presents the artist as a priestess, shaman, or otherworldly figure performing a ritual which beckons the viewer to travel between worlds
  • Mountain (Shangri-La), by American-born Chinese artist Patty Chang, a dazzling, mirrored, three-dimensional artwork that can be rotated slowly like a prayer wheel to reflect light and emit 'energy' into the surrounding space.
  • An installation by award-winning Japanese artist, designer and educator Sputniko! and Napp Studios, Red Silk of Fate - The Shrine & Tamaki's Crush.

SCI-FI: Mythologies Transformed was developed and first exhibited at ArtScience Museum from October 2023-March 2024 titled New Eden: Science Fiction Mythologies Transformed.

Science Gallery at the University of Melbourne opened in 2022 at the University's innovation precinct, Melbourne Connect. It is part of the acclaimed Global Science Gallery Network pioneered by Trinity College Dublin. One of seven global nodes, Science Gallery Melbourne aims to involve, inspire, and transform curious minds through arts and science.