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Your imagination is your guide in the exhibition’s opening chapter. With the help of the genre’s pioneering visionaries, explore the undiscovered, unknown and inaccessible areas of planet Earth. Wander through lost cities, encounter dinosaurs and conquer mysterious islands. Voyage across the globe, into the air and deep beneath the sea.
This chapter opens with a cabinet of curiosities containing original manuscripts and drawings from Jules Verne, as well as James Gurney’s Dinotopia series, and dinosaur models by Ray Harryhausen. See original models and props from films including Godzilla and Jurassic Park, and some of the most influential literature of the time – from Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan and the Lost Empire.
With planet Earth fully explored, head for outer space in the second chapter of the exhibition. Here you will find the iconography traditionally associated with Science Fiction - otherworldly beings, spaceships and distant lands. Venture into a gallery of aliens, with heads, masks, models and props from iconic films. See original spacesuits worn by the likes of John Hurt in Alien, items from Stargate, Star Trek and Interstellar, and concept art from Star WarsTM, District 9 and First Men in the Moon.
Get to the heart of the action with a new interactive commission by Territory Studio, based on their work for Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning film The Martian, recreating a sequence from the film’s NASA Mission Control set.
Art and literature tell the story of space travel in Science Fiction, including Soda_Jerk’s video installation Astro Black. See vintage postcards and adverts promoting Soviet visions of space, as well as novels by Arthur C Clarke, CS Lewis and Naomi Mitchison.
Brave New Worlds
With visions of bettering our home planet, return to Earth in chapter three, only to witness society’s downfall and destruction. Step into the spaces and civilisations that mankind has created for itself. Roam through future cities filled with towering skyscrapers, and experience dystopian worlds filled with war and disaster.
At the heart of this chapter are some of the genre’s most enduring texts, including Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Alongside a number of film and television clips from the likes of Dark City and The Prisoner, this chapter also houses architectural plans and designs from Ben Wheatley’s recent blockbuster High Rise.
Complete your journey by exploring the only thing left – yourself. Delve deep inside the body and mind, and ultimately question mankind’s existence. As the boundaries of science and technology are pushed further, come face to face with cyborgs, clones and robots.
A highlight of the chapter is multi-award-winning VFX company Double Negative’s installation around the android Ava, star of Ex Machina. Watch short film Sunspring, which was written entirely by an artificial intelligence bot for SciFi London’s 48-hour film challenge, as well as an auto-encoded version of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.
Literature from enduring tales including Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein will sit alongside a selection of rare superhero comics from around the world. Film and television clips in this final chapter include Back to the Future, Doctor Who, The Terminator and Total Recall.
Exploring the timeline of how science fiction has influenced visual culture, Into the Unknown assistant curator Laura Clarke introduces some of the artists featured in the exhibition
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