RESEARCH: papers, conference presentations, books, residencies

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Science-Fiction and Hypermodernism

Conference presentation

Hypermodernism, CERSA, 10 rue Thénard, Paris. 19 March 2016.


This conference was the first of its kind, bringing together academics and practitioners from artificial intelligence, law, open source coding, performance art, and other fields. The task was to define the hypermodern in terms of the technologies and politics of the 21st century.

My paper proposed science-fiction as the original hypermodern, predicated on faith in reason and the scientific method, fixated on our ability to understand and control our environment, obsessed with novelty.

Following the New Wave experiments of the 1960s, science-fiction became increasingly mediated, as "cinematic society" (Virilio) accelerated to light speed. Our contemporary touch panels, ubiquitous computation devices, and fibre optic communications precipitated out of this space of imagination. Subsequently, science fiction lost its object, the fixed point against which its theories could be tested; it has since evaporated into pure fantasy.

These contentions were to be tested by examining reboots of classic science-fiction franchises: Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, and Doctor Who. My thesis is that these demonstrate that the condition of "cognitive estrangement" (Suvin) that once defined science-fiction now characterizes the quotidian.


A special thanks to organiser Alan Shapiro for the invitation. And to Alexis Clancy, my travelling companion. Both provided excellent papers for the conference.