Each of us has faced the question “How we will live in the future?” While we may try to predict real developments in science, economics and politics using statistics, models and other forecasting techniques, the science fiction genre in the cinematic realm continues to boom. In feature films such as DISTRICT 9 (USA|NZ|CDN|SA, 2009, Neill Blomkamp) or INTERSTELLAR (USA|GB, 2014, Christopher Nolan), and television series such as ÄKTA MÄNNISKOR | REAL HUMANS (S, 2012–14, Lars Lundström) and EXTANT (USA, 2014–15), the near or more distant future is visualized and translated into motion pictures and stories. Most often crafted from generous budgets, these works impress their audiences with the latest digital technology, spectacular sets, bombastic sound design and extensive special effects. But even the blockbusters are concerned with basic questions of human existence, as, for example, the fear of natural disasters and a scarcity of resources, or of totalitarianism, surveillance and control. Science fiction films also always say something about the present in which they originate, about current fears in connection with sociopolitical developments and of human relationships to technological progress. What are we afraid of? What do we hope for? And, where has reality actually caught up with the future that was portrayed in films long ago?
The design of the exhibition at the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen is based on three central scenarios of science fiction films: While “outer space” can be experienced as a place of unlimited frontiers in space and time, the “society of the future” focuses on questions of social interactions under the conditions of technological progress and sociopolitical developments. And finally, the “close encounters with the Other,” or extraterrestrials, allow human beings an existential self-determination. Film productions from the last ten years or so, particularly those which take up pressing social questions of our own times, play an important role in the exhibition, including I, ROBOT (USA|D, 2004, Alex Proyas), CHILDREN OF MEN (USA|GB, 2006, Alfonso Cuarón), THE ISLAND (USA, 2005, Michael Bay) and OBLIVION (USA, 2013, Joseph Kosinski). However, strong parables about the future of humanity come not only from Hollywood, but also from European – in particular British and Russian – as well as Japanese productions.
Presented with large-scale installations, spectacular imagery, imaginative set designs and extensive special effects, as well as important international loans, the exhibition offers access to a genre that is just as insightful as it is entertaining.