98/ Space Travel, Nostalgia, and Retrofuturism (With Nat Muller)

This is a conversation with Nat Muller, an independent curator, writer and academic living between the UK and Amsterdam. She is an expert in contemporary art from the Middle East and curated the Danish pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, showing Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour. She has curated shows at major venues, including Eye Film Museum Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, The Mosaic Rooms in London and ifa Gallery in Berlin. She is an AHRC Midlands3Cities-funded PhD student at Birmingham City University working on science fiction in contemporary art from the Middle East.

We primarily talked about her paper “Lunar Dreams: Space Travel, Nostalgia, and Retrofuturism in A Space Exodus and The Lebanese Rocket Society“.

Topics Discussed:

  • Space travel and science fiction
  • Space travel and the Arab world
  • A Palestinian space exodus and the Lebanese Rocket Society
  • The prolonged present and stolen futures
  • The role of nostalgia
  • The mnemonic imagination
  • Who is space for?
  • It is easier to reach the moon than Jerusalem
  • The limitations of the nation state in Arabic science fiction
  • Afro-futurism

Resources Mentioned:

Recommended Books:

  • The Anthropocene Unconscious: Climate Catastrophe Culture by Mark Bould
  • The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis by Amitav Ghosh
  • Refugee Heritage by Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti

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Featured photo: image from Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige’s The Lebanese Rocket Society.

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