“Whenever we try to envision a world without war, without violence, without prisons, without capitalism, we are engaging in speculative fiction”
(Walidah Imarisha, 2015, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements)
“Speculative fiction can also be a space to imagine the worst, to think about what could be if current inequalities and injustices are allowed to continue.”
(Sami Schalk, 2018, Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction)
In our studio, we attempted to answer these questions:
Can movies and TV shows in ‘non-realist’ traditions such as sci-fi, dystopian, utopian, superhero and supernatural genres be more than escapism or distraction from our world’s problems, but rather a site for grappling with issues we face as a society?
How can a personal or political issue be explored effectively in these genres, whilst creating an engaging and entertaining experience for audiences?
Together we identified relevant speculative fiction (SF) media works and discussed themes within them. We analysed how themes and ideas are communicated in the works with attention to writing, cinematic image, editing and sound.
We discussed our own concerns and interests; and brainstormed ways to explore these in new speculative fiction media works. We pitched each other ideas and offered them up for further discussion and development. Working iteratively and following on from this, media works were produced in the form of short films/web videos.