• Conference
Albert Schweitzer Haus, Schwarzspanierstraße 13, 1090 Wien

Translating the Present: Science Fiction and our Futures

By imagining the future, science fiction shapes the present. Rather than fore-casting the future, it re-casts the present, it re-contextualizes it, translates it into another reality, shaping the tomorrows of our mind, the way we think—our imagination.

We tend to think of science fiction as dedicated to the future, but "its ‘deepest subject", as Frederic Jameson has written, "may in fact be our own historical present." As a spatial endeavor, science fiction is not just an escape into another dimension, it is, above all, a fiction of the space we live in—of Earth.

In this regard, it is perplexing how little has been said and researched about the relationship between science fiction and one of the most basic, structurally decisive human cultural techniques—translation. Understood in a broader sense as a negotiation of differences by means of a de- and re-contextualization of meanings across identity constructions, ideologies and media, the participants of the international conference will discuss the role of translation processes in science fiction from a global perspective, touching on themes such as the re-contextualization of architectural patterns into futuristic megacities, the translation of Earth’s environmental crisis into imaginary worlds or the dramatic cultural encounters with aliens.

The conference is the result of a collaboration between the IFK | University of Art and Design Linz and the IKT Institute of Culture Studies and Theater History at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.



Concept: Federico Italiano (Vienna)

Participants: Ted Chiang (Seattle), Lisa Yaszek (Atlanta), Roland Innerhofer (Wien), Anindita Banerjee (New York), Olalekan Jeyifous (New York), Paul Dobraszcyk (London), Karin Harrasser (Linz/Vienna), Julia Grillmayr (Linz), Daniel Syrovy (Vienna), Johannes Kaminski (Vienna), Claudia Sackl (Vienna), Iseult Grandjean (Vienna)

The conference will take place as a hybrid both via zoom and in the presence of the speakers as well as a limited number of participants.

Ort: Albert Schweitzer Haus, Schwarzspanierstraße 13, 1090 Wien