The new capitalist realism: Science fiction in art of the 2010s

When artists and curators became interested in science fiction in the 1960s it was because the genre offered a way of bringing the future into art, and art into the future. In Europe, curators cluttered galleries with robots and spaceships, while Robert Smithson terraformed the American West. Science fiction was a way of provoking new states of mind, new ways of being in the world. It was estranging because it imagined that one day people would live differently. Today such dreams have passed us by, as the present presses upon us with its anxieties about ecological collapse. The future is no longer the province of a hopeful, techno-scientific imagination, but a place where technologies are in the service of the powerful. Such world-shaking sciences as biotech and robotics that once promised to save the world now threaten to destroy it, as genetically engineered crops and flying drones participate in extinctions and wars.

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