Science Fiction (Fall 2014): Selected Student Projects

Karna Warrior, “The Corporatization of Mars”

Responding to the recent rise of corporations like SpaceX, this project juxtaposes the romantic popular notions of space travel with its more insidious corporate and colonialist implications. Karna explains, “romanticizing space may be benign in a fictional setting, but as our technology becomes more advanced and space travel becomes increasingly privatized and available to the public, it has the potential to become problematic.”

Emma Weissmann, “Cessaudiri: The Aftermath of an Epidemic”

This project imagines U.S. society in the aftermath of an epidemic that causes permanent hearing loss, illustrating the disease’s impact on social structures and daily life through a fictional newspaper. Emma writes, “following a society’s landscape after an epidemic, this project examines the political, social and economic implications of an epidemic that has swept the world, leaving terror, tragedy, and confusion in its wake.”

Matthew Marquez, “State of Art”

This audio drama imagines a future society in which the fictional corporation Vox Populi has become the “sole entertainment and technological conglomerate” on Earth. Replacing human actors with perfect, malleable “synthetic actors,” or SAs, VoxPop’s takeover of theater causes humanity to “[lose] their voice.” In the performance, we hear the history of “the last human play” narrated as an “audio transcript from an earth databank computer” (EDC). As it delivers this history, the EDC “malfunctions” by speaking out in favor of human art and against VoxPop’s control over artistic expression; the EDC is consequently shut down by Vox Populi. “State of Art” explores what is at risk in the rise of smart technologies and the powerful corporations that produce them, particularly when those corporations come to monopolize artistic output. You can listen to the audio drama in full below.