Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas at UCR ARTSblock

Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas at UCR ARTSblock

Courtesy of the artist, Hector Hernandez, Bulca, 2015. Courtesy of the artist

Riverside – Beginning Friday, September 16, the UCR ARTSblock will present Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas. 

The exhibit is the culmination of a worldwide exploration that included 18 months of travel throughout six countries. The exhibition curators, Robb Hernandez, Tyler Stallings and Joanna Szupinska-Myers visited more than 400 artists, curators and scholars and selected over 30 contemporary artists who work within the science fiction genre to imagine new realities and alternate worlds. 

Mundos Alternos is a reflection of the curators’ relentless efforts to identify established and emergent voices in the field. For many of the artists this is their first time showing their work in Southern California. 

“Mundos Alternos is the first project that considers the convergence of visual art, science fiction and Latin American studies, a convergence that has the potential to generate further inquiries in all of these fields,” said Szupinska-Myers. In addition to being co-curator of the exhibit, Szupinska-Myers is the Senior Curator of Exhibitions at the California Museum of Photography. 

Visitors to the exhibit are encouraged to expect the unexpected by way of large-scale installations, photographs, sculptures, drawings, paintings, performances, and video installations that encompass 11,000 square feet in ARTblock’s two adjacent buildings—the California Museum of Photography and the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts. 

The curatorial team has also produced a major contribution to the field of science fiction studies in the form of a heavily illustrated book that includes original essays by the curators and leading scholars with expertise in Latin American, Latino/a, and Chicano/a visual culture, with an emphasis on the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Central America. 

“We have selected a swath of artists across the Americas who have created artworks that point to alternate worlds, in which self-determination and autonomy can occur in a present that is already the past pointing to a future,” explained Stallngs, co-curator and Artistic Director of the Culver Center of the Arts. 

The exhibit’s other co-curator, Assistant Professor of English at UCR, Robb Hernandez said, “This exhibition is the first effort of transnational scope to identify the growing tendency of science fiction in contemporary Latin American and Latino art, a tendency that recasts the future: at a time when debates over immigration reform, militarized borders, mass deportations, and efforts to build ‘the wall’ might suggest otherwise.” 

According to ARTSblock Executive Director Sheila Bergman, “Building on UCR’s international reputation in the study of science fiction, this ambitious exhibition contributes new scholarship to the field of contemporary Latin American and Latino/a artistic expression.”

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