Alien Nation

Yinka Shonibare MBE, Dysfunctional Family 1999
  • Saturday 17 March 2007 - Monday 7 May 2007
  • Manchester Art Gallery
  • FREE
Laylah Ali, Hamad Butt, Ellen Gallagher & Edgar Cleijne, David Huffman, Hew Locke, Marepe, Henna Nadeem, Kori Newkirk, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Eric Wesley and Mario Ybarra Jr.

Alien Nation explores the relationship between science fiction, race and contemporary art. Twelve contemporary international artists use science fiction and extra-terrestrial forms to explore racial difference as a metaphor for the threat of the outsider. The artworks include film, sculpture, photography and multi-media installations.

Much has been written about the connection between sci-fi cinema of the 1950s and ‘60s and the Cold War, where fear of invasion, communism and nuclear war was played out in films that projected the anxieties of the present onto the future. In recent years many artists have similarly used science fiction and extra-terrestrial forms as a way of exploring racial difference and as a potent metaphor for the threat of the outsider.

Alien Nation presents the work of twelve contemporary international artists all of whom explore themes of ‘otherness’ and ‘difference’ through the language and iconography of sci-fi. The witty and provocative artworks on display expose a disturbing contemporary narrative in which the media perpetuate a terror of ‘invasion’ from immigrants, asylum seekers (indeed any racial, cultural or ethnic ‘other’) and position such ‘outsiders’ as the dominant threat to both family and national stability.

Mingling fact and fiction, science and art, Alien Nation will also show a collection of original sci-fi film posters from the 1950’s to present day, courtesy of The Reel Poster Gallery, as well as extracts from contemporary and archive science fiction films as part of this unique exhibition that reveals our innermost fears and fantasies about the outsider.

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