“Science fiction is the subversive agent of doubt […] Under the guise of anticipation, it sheds light on current societal and scientific developments and trends, holds out the hope of a world re-enchanted by the power of our imagination and makes us dream of transforming utopia into reality.”1
From Sandy Skoglund’s fluorescent green Radioactive Cats to Tishan HSU’s sleeping man in an electrolytic turquoise bath (Breath 4, 2021), via Castellanos & Valverde’s human-plant “symbiotic interactions,” the Centre Pompidou-Metz invites us to open the Gates of Possibility through more than two hundred works testifying to the growing attraction exerted by science fiction on the visual arts from the end of the 1950s to today.
A highly subversive but above all forward-looking exhibition, counterbalancing the dystopias dear to the genre with the transhumanist or ecological utopias of the more recent trends of biopunk or solarpunk, envisaging SF as a tool for emancipation and reconnection with the living rather than as an escape – into space or cyberspace.
Thus, if Fabrice Monteiro in his Prophecy series makes a giant witch with the appearance of an Erinye emerge from a mountain of detritus, mortifying against black smoke, Max Hooper Schneider with his Estuary Holobiant enthrones a “machinic supra-organism,” a post-apocalyptic “cohort of micro-organisms” attesting to the power of the living and appearing like a promise of resurrection; while the duo Castellanos & Valverde, with their wearable plant vibration sensors,2 revisiting the “man-machine” – to “conceive a new type of interface between the human body and plants” – gives us a glimpse of a possible regeneration. From there to promising “the best of all possible worlds”… We must cultivate our garden,  replies Candide to Pangloss, who is delighted with the happy outcome of their mad wanderings at the end of Voltaire’s philosophical tale. Let’s take a leaf out of their book and open The Gates of Possibility…
1 Laurent Lebon and Chiara Parisi (respectively president and director of the Centre Pompidou-Metz) in the preface to the catalogue.
2 Symbiotic-Interaction (Wearable), 2016-2017
THE DOORS OF THE POSSIBLE Art & Science fiction
Centre Pompidou-Metz, 57000 Metz
Until 10 April