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HYBRID 'Sowing and Trekking Through Time: Science Fiction Imagines a Revolutionary 2024'

24 June 2024, 6:30 pm–8:30 pm

SowerTrek event image collage

A roundtable discussion between creatives, theorists and activists, and will include readings from Octavia Butler’s 'Parable of the Sower' and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All

Availability

Yes

Cost

Free

Organiser

Rachel Hill and Giles Bunch

Location

Hong Kong Alumni Room and online
Bentham House, 4–8 Endsleigh Gardens
London
WC1H 0EG

'Sowing and Trekking Through Time’ is an event co-hosted by the London Science Fiction Research Community (LSFRC) and the Centre for Outer Space Studies (COSS) at UCL. This event will be a roundtable discussion between creatives, theorists and activists, and will include readings from Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
 
The year 2024 marks a moment in time where our calendar aligns with the fictional timelines in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, and the two-part Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode ‘Past Tense’. Both produced during the 1990’s, and responding to the damage done by neoliberal policy of the 80’s and 90’s in North America, these works, starting from the year 2024, depict – almost prophetically – the challenges and social struggles of many people today.
 
Reading Butler’s Parable series in the 2020’s produces, in Madhu Dubey’s words, a ‘shock of familiarity’: the return of ‘company towns’, the impacts of global warming, the rise of strident far-right politics, and the resulting everyday violence produced by such conditions, are likely to resonate with readers today.
 
Likewise ‘Past Tense’, makes similarly extrapolative – and prescient – arguments, with the episode seeing the show’s main characters thrown back in time, to San Francisco in 2024, where they are witness to pre-Federation Earth and the effects of a political system which maintains a homeless and jobless underclass who inhabit euphemistically named ‘Sanctuary Districts’ found in every major US city.
 
Whilst at first these fictions appear dystopian, at the heart of each work, however, is an earnest project for radical and liberatory social change: Acorn and the teachings of Earthseed in the case of the Parable series; and the beginnings of a process leading to the eventual demise of capitalism on Earth, in ‘Past Tense’.
 
This event invites artists, academics and activists to respond to these fictions, considering what these works have to teach us about a changing world, especially now that we are entering the same time period foreshadowed in the narratives. Attendance is both in person and online. Please register to attend: https://sowertrek.eventbrite.co.uk

Participants

Toyin Agbetu 
Scholar-activist and lecturer of political, social and decolonial anthropology at UCL. 
He is a community educator with IDPAD CIC (Hackney) and Ligali, a UK-based, Pan-African organisation that challenges Afriphobia and the misrepresentation of African people, history and culture in the media, public spaces, and social services.
 
Alexandra Kokoli 
Academic, researcher, and writer 
She works as Associate Professor in Visual Culture, Middlesex University London, and Senior Research Associate at VIAD, University of Johannesburg. She is the author of The Feminist Uncanny in Theory and Art Practice and numerous articles and book chapters on feminist art and/as activism. 
 
Florence Okoye 
Researcher, writer and designer 
A self-described ‘mundane AfroFuturist’, Florence Okoye is an independent researcher, writer and designer whose work focusses on using critical methods for designing in complex systems. She is particularly interested in approaches that connect the radical Black speculative imagination to everyday design methodology, whether social or environmental.
 
Comfort Fabian
Actor and writer
Currently developing a solo clown show - when not clowning is probably baking. Screen credits include Sent To Cov (Sky). Other credits include Fifth Dimension (Tamasha), The Little Prince (Clapham Omnibus Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (TerraNova, Northern Ireland), As You Like It (Shakespeare in the Squares) and The Minimum Requirement (Arcola Theatre). 

Organisers

Giles Bunch 
Researcher, writer
Giles is a PhD candidate in anthropology. As part of the Ethno-ISS project based at UCL, he is researching the European contribution to the International Space Station through a study of the labour of flight controllers and instructors working in German.   

Rachel Hill 
Researcher, writer
Rachel is a AHRC funded PhD Candidate in the Science and Technology Studies department of UCL, where her research focuses on the history of the UK’s military satellite programme Skynet. She is a co-director of the London Science Fiction Research Community (LSFRC) and a member of the Beyond Gender collective.


This event is generously funded by the IAS Octagon Small Grants Fund and the LSFRC