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Science Gallery Melbourne partners with ArtScience Museum Singapore

Original article published on Science Gallery Melbourne

The upcoming exhibition developed in collaboration with Singapore’s ArtScience Museum offers fresh insights into science fiction as seen through the lens of women artists and collectives from the Asia Pacific Region.

Opening in August at Science Gallery at the University of Melbourne, SCI-FI: Mythologies Transformed weaves together narratives found in the Western literary and cinematic genre of science fiction with ideas rooted in Eastern spiritual traditions that have evolved over millennia. Featuring contemporary artworks, film excerpts and historical artefacts, the exhibition adopts Western science fiction paradigms, such as parallel worlds and interdimensional travel, as a starting point to explore the genre’s possible roots in Asian philosophy and spirituality. Following the success of their first collaboration, MENTAL, Science Gallery, and the University of Melbourne are proud to collaborate again with the ArtScience Museum on the presentation of this exhibition.

Dr Ryan Jefferies, Director of Science Gallery at the University of Melbourne, said it was an honour to collaborate with Singapore’s ArtScience Museum on the second iteration of this exhibition.

“Originally launched last year to great acclaim, the exhibition uncovers new perspectives on science fiction by highlighting connections between the genre and Asian philosophy and mythology. We are excited to present a series of works by predominantly women artists from across the Asia Pacific whose practices are inspired by the region’s history and culture, presented here in Melbourne alongside works by First Nations artists whose practices also draw on rich cultural traditions,” he said

Honor Harger, Vice President of ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, said the exhibition celebrates the emergence of new voices and perspectives in the science fiction genre.

“Over the years, the traditionally male-dominated and Western-centred genre of science fiction has evolved to give rise to more diverse voices, and the exhibition celebrates this by showcasing how women artists from Asia are addressing science fiction, dream worlds and fantastical realities in their work.

Using science fiction as a starting point to explore these diverse worlds and inclusive futures envisaged by some of the most prominent artists working today, the exhibition highlights concepts such as parallel universes, interdimensional travel and transcendence, notions deeply rooted in Asian philosophy, to suggest that some science fiction tropes could have their origins in Asia,” she said.

Professor Michael Wesley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Culture and Engagement at the University of Melbourne, expressed:

“This powerful collaboration with Singapore’s ArtScience Museum exemplifies our commitment to fostering international partnerships that transcend disciplinary boundaries, deepen our cultural understanding, and enrich the University’s diverse community. Through such partnerships, we continue to offer our students, staff, and alumni shared cultural expressions that can lead to profound and enriching educational experiences.”

SCI-FI: Mythologies Transformed includes internationally acclaimed multidisciplinary artist Mariko Mori’s seminal video work, Miko No Inori, which presents the artist as a priestess, shaman, or otherworldly figure performing a ritual beckoning the viewer to travel between worlds and Mountain (Shangri-La), by American-born Chinese artist Patty Chang, a dazzling, mirrored, three-dimensional artwork that can be rotated slowly like a prayer wheel to reflect light and emit ‘energy’ into the surrounding space. Also included is an installation by award-winning Japanese artist, designer, and educator, Sputniko! and Napp Studios, Red Silk of Fate – The Shrine & Tamaki’s Crush—further details to come.

SCI-FI: Mythologies Transformed is curated by Gail Chin, Joel Chin, Adrian George and Honor Harger from ArtScience Museum together with Science Gallery Melbourne’s Bern Hall and Tilly Boleyn, and is a co-production developed in collaboration between ArtScience Museum Singapore and Science Gallery Melbourne. The original version, New Eden: Science Fiction Mythologies Transformed, was developed and first exhibited at ArtScience Museum, Singapore, from October 2023 to March 2024.