Into the Unknown

A Journey Through Science Fiction

Opening hours

The genre-defining exhibition of art, design, film and literature.

Uncover the mysterious lands of Jules Verne and Ray Harryhausen where Science Fiction narratives first took root. Venture on an odyssey into our solar system, with vintage artwork promoting Soviet visions of space alongside immersive work by Soda_Jerk. Visit a gallery of aliens, and stand alongside iconic spacesuits from a galaxy of blockbusters including Star Trek and Interstellar.

Imagine dystopian worlds with Margaret Atwood and 28 Days Later. Then, with nowhere left to explore but human consciousness, delve deep and experience the transformation and mutation of the body through the eyes of Jack Kirby and Ex Machina.

Curated by historian and writer Patrick Gyger, this festival-style exhibition consists of more than 800 works, many of which have never been seen in the UK before. Continuing across the Centre, it includes artwork from Isaac Julien, Larissa Sansour and Conrad Shawcross, and an installation from the creators of Black Mirror.

Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction is curated by Barbican International Enterprises with co-production partners, Brandts –Museum of Art & Visual Culture, Denmark, and Onassis Cultural Centre - Athens, Greece. It will be staged at both venues before embarking on an international tour. Photography by Dan Tobin Smith, design by Praline.

The exhibition is accessible for wheelchairs. Enhanced security measures are currently in place. Only one reasonably-sized bag per person may be taken inside our venues and all bags may be searched by a member of our team

Reviews

‘An unmissable snapshot of this vibrant genre‘
City A.M
‘The Barbican goes boldly to a galaxy far, far away - and the result is a true sci-fi journey‘
Evening Standard
‘The Barbican has turned into sci-fi heaven‘
Londonist
‘With hundreds of artefacts, the show will delight sci-fi connoisseur and novice alike‘
The Daily Telegraph

Discover

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Photo of astronaut Samantha Cristoforretti in Into the Unknown

Watch: Barbican Meets - Samantha Cristoforetti

We meet Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti (who holds a few spaceflight records — including being the first person ever to brew an espresso in space) shares her thoughts on Science Fiction and what the genre can tell us about the future.

Collection: Into the Unknown

Explore science fiction's new territories, lost worlds, cosmic possibilities and virtual universes through interviews, video and audio to bring you closer to the exhibition. 

Read: We Live In A World of Science Fiction

Start your journey through science fiction with this extract from Into the Unknown curator, Patrick Gyger‘s introductory essay ‘A Journey Through Science Fiction’ from the Into the Unknown exhibition catalogue, available through the Barbican Shop.

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Photo of man in space suit on a film shoot

Watch: Designing Into the Unknown

Learn how traditional special effect technique 'cloud tanks', as used by SFX pioneer Douglas Trumbull in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, were combined with modern technology to create our otherworldly Into the Unknown photography.

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