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An ambitious science fiction exhibition is coming to the Science Museum

The London Science Museum brings the best of science fiction to show on October 6.

The Science Museum in London first opened in 1857 as the South Kensington Museum. Since that time, it has brought exhibits to life such as Flight, allowing visitors to recreate the history of flight, and the Clockmakers Museum exhibit allowing visitors to explore the world’s oldest collections of watches and clocks. Starting on October 6, the museum will conduct a more ambitious exhibition with Science Fiction: A Journey to the Edge of Imaginationwhich will put visitors at the center of an interactive science fiction story.

Inkha, an interactive robot head that tracks movement, speaks and interacts with people in a realistic way. Built by Matthew Walker in 2003 2 © Science Museum Group

The exhibition was designed by BAFTA and the Academy Award winning studio Framestore and is accompanied by a book, Science Fiction: A Journey to the Edge of Imagination, which was published on September 29. The fully illustrated companion book includes a range of interviews with international science fiction authors, articles by experts, and further explorations of the topics within the gallery.

Science Museum

Replica of the “Maria” robot, designed and built for the 1927 movie Fritz Lang Metropolis. Created by prop makers Cropcircle 2 © Science Museum Group

Visitors to Science Fiction: Journey to the Edge of Imagination can depart on their Expedition from October 5, 2022 to May 4, 2023. To learn more and to find out ticket prices, visit the Science Museum. And keep reading for the full press release, more photos, and details about this amazing exhibit.

On October 6, the Science Museum will open its most ambitious exhibition yet. Science Fiction: A Journey to the Edge of Imagination will put visitors at the center of an interactive science fiction story full of objects that explore how scientists and science fiction creators inspired each other through innovation and imagination.

Science fiction invites us to go boldly and explore strange new worlds and visitors will embark on an adventure across the cosmos on an extraterrestrial spaceship accompanied by AI guides, touching an unexplored world and looking down on planet Earth. The immersive experience, featuring a specially developed exotic language, was designed by award-winning creative studio, Framestore, and curated by the Science Museum Collection.

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Advertisement for the Science Fiction Exhibition © Science Museum

Science fiction reveals fascinating connections between important scientific innovations and iconic works of science fiction through more than 70 objects brought together in the UK for the first time. The exhibition will feature classic literature that has imagined and inspired a new understanding of the world around us, and stationary pieces and props from popular films and television depicting new forms of life and other worlds – from the costume of Lieutenant Ora used on screen. From Star Trek: The Motion Picture, to Dalek from Doctor Who and the Darth Vader helmet created for Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – and contemporary artwork from around the world exploring an alternate future for humanity.

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Silver gelatin print titled “Unpublished Photograph of the Explosion of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb” published in 1947 © Science Museum Group

Sir Ian Blatchford, Director and CEO of the Science Museum Collection, said: “Science fiction invites us all to be explorers, venturing through time and space as we ponder the deepest existential question that exists – what makes us human? Our ambitious exhibition is unparalleled and I can’t wait for visitors to join us. On this immersive and interactive journey through the worlds of science fiction and fascinating scientific discoveries.

Dr. Glenn Morgan, Senior Curator, said: “Science fiction gives us the opportunity to observe our planet and consider our impact on it. Visitors will see the bright future this species has imagined and will encounter some of the biggest threats to our existence – climate change, environmental destruction and nuclear war – as we invite them to reflect on the extent Repetition of dystopian visualizations that can give us the intellectual and emotional tools to imagine and create a more utopian future.

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Human support robot created by Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan, 2012 © Science Museum Collection

Once inside the exhibition, visitors will explore the spaceship’s vast exploration platform, filled with distinctive items identified by AI evidence from science and science fiction that delve into our human drive to journey outside our world. Both through technologies we imagine and create to get us there, including a scale model of a radio telescope used by scientists at SETI in their attempts to discover intelligent life, a model of a Saturn V rocket and a replica of the Apollo 17 Space Suit worn by Gene Cernan, the last man on the moon, Or literary and cinematic musings on space travel and other intelligent civilizations we might find, from Daleks to Darth Vader and an alien from close encounters of the third kind. Visitors will also see the first edition of Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, a replica of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek signed by Nichelle Nicols and George Takei, the bedroom by Prometheus, a gold spacesuit by Sunshine, a Pan African flag and a traveler’s suit from Relic Traveler Series by Larry Acheampong.

In the ship’s biolab, visitors will examine what it means to be human with objects that explore how science fiction imagines the evolution and replication of the human form through cyborg imaging, artificial intelligence and gene editing. Visitors will see sci-fi cinema titans from Frankenstein’s monster and Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet to Darth Vader’s helmet designed for Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back and the iconic Iron Man armour. The Bio Lab will also explore how scientists have drawn inspiration from the technological possibilities presented in science fiction, with incredible innovations including prosthetic arms developed by Open Bionics, the smallest pacemaker ever – the Medtronic Micra – and the XPrize award-winning medical diagnostic unit DxtER, inspired by From the medical tricorder used in the Star Trek franchise.

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Spring Passage at the Old Dock by Yao Lu (c) Yao Lu

Visitors will then take part in a distant mission, using a worm-jumping portal to visit another world. Arriving on the planet, they will enter a strange underground world where they will encounter a beautiful swarm of bioluminescent creatures that interact through the intelligent communication of a collective hive mind, inspired by various images of aliens via science fiction.

Returning to the visualization platform, visitors will be asked to reflect on how science fiction reflects contemporary concerns and challenges. Artworks will be displayed including Passing Spring at the Ancient Dock by Yao Lu, a collage that initially looks similar to traditional Chinese landscape painting, with embellishments of natural beauty, which upon closer inspection is a landscape full of rubbish and modern construction sites. Visitors will also see an impressive metal urn from Hiroshima, disfigured by the heat of an atomic explosion, displayed alongside a poster from the original Godzilla, highlighting how the development of nuclear weapons shaped postwar fears. Visitors will encounter objects from films that explore climate change, from a community drained by water scarcity in the Kenyan film Pomsey, to the rising flood waters sweeping Manhattan in New York’s novel 2140, and food shortages and poverty illustrated in the graphic novel version of Octavia as Butler for the Sower. Both science fiction and science fiction also offer hope that we may overcome or mitigate global challenges and visitors will watch a short film featuring scientists and futurists examining the importance of creativity in finding solutions to the grave threats we face.

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Shackleton gas chromatograph used by Professor James Lovelock aboard the RSS Shackleton expedition to measure CFC in 1971 © Science Museum Group

Visitors will end their journey overlooking the land through a huge window from the observation deck. Few have enjoyed this unique view from space and this extraordinary spectacle will provide visitors with a moment to reflect on our place in the universe and the limitless creativity and imagination that exists on the blue planet we call home.

Designed by BAFTA Academy Award-winning creative studio Framestore, the exhibition will play with ideas of how alien life forms communicate with each other through innovative audiovisual design interventions in space and will give visitors the sense of taking a picture of a journey out of the world. An exotic language specially developed for the exhibition will adorn the different sections of the ship, evoking a sense of leaving the familiar behind. The alien language – Bhaux – looks mechanical, as if the language was created by machine intelligence, has a unique vocabulary of a few thousand words, has its own grammatical structure and is unique in the exhibition. Bhaux’s phrases also appear in the exhibition’s soundscape and are woven throughout the design, enhancing the immersive sense of science fiction.

Science Museum

Science Fiction: A Journey to the Edge of Imagination is accompanied by a rich and varied program of events that explores the impact of science fiction literature, television, and film on the modern world. Live events range from science fiction themed Lates, a public after-hours event for adults where attendees can learn about the Arthur C. Clarke Prize winner, to expert panel discussions and live music performances, including a collaboration between Radiophonic Workshop and Sheep Robbery, and Astronights themed sci-fi, we have a popular sleepover for kids.

Science fiction is an ever-evolving genre that seeks to understand our changing world. Realizing the importance of celebrating science fiction creators, the Science Fiction Museum will host the Arthur C. Clarke Prize, which celebrates the best of science fiction writing, on October 26 at the Late Science Fiction Lates Museum.

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Prosthetic hand powered by CO2 © Science Museum Group

Accompanying the exhibition is a book, Science Fiction: A Journey to the Edge of Imagination, published September 29 by Thames & Hudson. Entirely edited by the show’s lead curator Glenn Morgan, this engaging and illustrated companion book includes a range of themes explored in the gallery – from people and machines, space travel, and aliens, to communication, threats and anxiety, through interviews with a range of science fiction authors. Internationals, articles by experts, copies of classic visitors, drawings and objects.

The exhibition is curated by the Science Museum and designed by Framestore, BAFTA, and Academy Award-winning creative studio. Science fiction is generously supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation (main financier) and Bridget and David Jacob (supporters).


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