Art, Technology & Culture: Feminist and Queer Science Fiction
Teacher: Assoc. Prof. Michelle Teran
Location: Various locations announced via the curriculum.
Times: Wednesdays, 13:00-16:00
Science fiction – like feminism – is a powerful and useful tool for both social analysis and social change.
—Ursula K Le Guin
“It matters”, writes Donna Haraway, “what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what concepts we think to think other concepts with." Feminist and queer science fiction is a form of proposition-making for the unrealized, the emergent and the still to come. It creates a space for heterogeneous perspectives and entangled narratives that debunk the techno-utopic pathways of progress, and instead pave the way for philosophical ruminations on what does it mean to be human. As a vehicle for testing propositions via world-making, feminist and queer science fiction offer themes of transgression, mutualism, interdependency, mutation, non-normative bodies, and cross-species entanglements.
During the course, we will read out loud, perform and study different texts and forms of writing — theory, fiction, songs, plays, poems, among others — and discuss how they create different experiences of time, body and space. Through joint sessions, we will try out different writing and drawing exercises, in order to mix images and think about other forms of enactments of texts. We will look at and become familiar with artists working within and through themes of speculative science fiction. The course will include a visit to the Rivers of Emotion, Bodies of Ore exhibition at the Kunsthall Trondheim, accompanied by a workshop led by program curator Carl Martin Faurby. November 11th-12th we will spend the night at the Kunsthall Trondheim for an overnight storytelling marathon led by the disembodied voice of Ursula Le Guin, accompanied by cooking experiments using recipes from Le Guin’s novel Always Coming Home, writing/image making sprint sessions and sleeping.
Students will collectively produce a sci-fi zine, or set of zines, as their final assignment, using images, short stories and other texts produced during the course. The zine (or zines) will be presented in a public event at the end of the course.
Suggested Themes: sympoiesis, cyborgs, ecological assemblages, significant otherness, natureculture, cohabitation, emergence, emergent ontologies, speculative futurisms, utopias, dystopias, critical posthumanism.
Dates: September 12th, 19th, 26th, October 3rd, October 10th, November 7th, November 11th-12th, November 14th.
Public presentation of final results on December 5th.
- Build up a social critique and analysis through fiction and theory
- Be introduced to writing styles and categories within literature
- Become familiar with discourses around feminist materialism, new materialism, ecology
- Learn how to read, summarize, analyze and discuss critical theoretical texts
- Experiment with different forms of writing which can be applied to individual practice
- Become familiar with current and historical artistic practices related to the subject
- Learn how work collectively towards a final group project
- Group Reading
- Writing and Drawing Exercises
- Durational action
- Group project
Attendance and participation are mandatory. Students will be assessed by their presence, involvement in group work and contribution to the discussions. Each student will be responsible for reading an assignment text and preparing talking points for a group discussion. Students who miss more than two sessions, do not participate in a group discussion and do not contribute to the final group project assignment will not pass the course.
This course is for students within the MFA programme. BFA students and students coming from other departments can also join the course, however only by approval of the course teacher and to those who are committed to following the entire course of the program.
There is a limit of 10 students for the course.
Collaborative tools and platforms for the course:
Dropbox- A shared Dropbox folder will be used as a shared online course repository for distributed readings, and other shared content.
Drop Box Paper (https://paper.dropbox.com/) - Will be used for curriculum updates, notes taken during sessions and group project planning.
Fiction Reading List:
Octavia Butler, Lilith’s Brood
Ursula Le Guin, Always Coming Home
Nnedi Okorafor, The Book of Phoenix
Larissa Lai, Salt Fish Girl
Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements
Companion Texts (Theory):
Karen Barad, Transmaterialities: Trans*/Matter/Realities and Queer Political Imaginings
Isabelle Stengers, Another Science is Possible: A Manifesto for Slow Science
Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Can Rocks Die? Life and Death inside the Carbon Imaginary
Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Breathing in, Breathing Out
Donna Haraway, Sympoiesis: Symbiogenisis and the Lively Arts of Staying with the Trouble
Donna Haraway, The Camille Stories: Children of Compost
Donna Haraway, The Companion Species Manifesto
Sadie Plant, Zeros and Ones
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World
Margaret McFall-Ngai, Noticing Microbial Worlds: The Postmodern Synthesis of Biology
Gloria Anzaldúa, La Conciencia de la Mestiza, Towards a New Consciousness
Ursula Le Guin, The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction
Antonia Majaca and Luciana Parisi, https://www.e-flux.com/journal/77/76322/the-incomputable-and-instrumental-possibility/
Image credit: Multispecies Cat’s Cradle. Drawing by Nasser Mufti, 2011