Mundos Alternos: Latinx Artists Use Sci-Fi to Imagine Postcolonial Futures #HispanicHeritageMonth
Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americaswas an new exhibition at the Queens Museum in New York. 30 Latinx have used the tropes of science fiction — technology, time travel, space exploration, utopia/dystopia, “aliens” — to “intervene in ongoing colonial narratives and suggest worlds where different societies can cohabitate peacefully, particularly at a moment where immigrant futures are uncertain.”
As a genre, science fiction has always been a space for working out our questions, hopes, and anxieties about the future — it’s a locus for what happens when we imagine possibility, utopian or dystopian. Even though sci-fi is typically set in the future or an alternate reality, it tells us a lot about our present conditions. TV shows like Star Trek tried to explore race relations, gender, and militarism in the 1960s, at a moment when progressive social movements were suggesting alternative ways to live, and throwing cultural anxieties into stark relief by picturing the future.
Even so, much of sci-fi has been imagined via the white male lens, and when we think of the genre’s obsession with technological innovation and progress, it is tinted with shades of imperialism; the impulse to create ‘new worlds’ can at once suggest social justice and colonial missions. What happens when those who have been left out of — and often hurt by — these narratives, imagine what sci-fi looks like to them?
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