Public talk by Mi You
October 23

In her talk, Mi You will reflect on ‘actionable speculations’ and social science fiction by drawing on her recent curatorial project ‘Sci-(no)-Fi’. Imagined as a collective process of speculation, the exhibition/workshops unfold through a series of social sci-fi scenarios. The scenarios prompt the question of what kind of future social value systems and technologies are desirable and imaginable beyond the binary dystopias of either the centralized/authoritarian or decentralized/neoliberal order? This leads to examples, primarily from a chinese context, of how speculative work enters into social spheres and interact with or inform planning, policy and design in government, education and private sector organizations. These include speculative-fiction-inspired education concepts, companies like Alibaba engaging with sci-fi writers, and sci-fi competitions happening at elementary schools, all hinting at a culture of social speculation. Her talk will work to unravel what it could mean to have a mass sci-fi culture, and whether this would be similar to the distinctive mass science culture in China during the 60s and 70s.


Mi You is a lecturer at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and Aalto University, Helsinki. Her long-term research and curatorial project spins between the two extremes of the ancient and futuristic. She works with the Silk Road as a figuration for nomadic imageries, old and new networks and technologies. She has curated programs at Asian Culture Center in Gwangju, South Korea, Ulaanbaatar International Media Art Festival, Mongolia (2016), and with Binna Choi, she is co-steering the research/curatorial project Unmapping Eurasia. At the same time, her interests in politics around technology and futures led her to work on “actionable speculations”, articulated in the exhibition, workshops and sci-fi-a-thon “Sci-(no)-fiction” at the Academy of the Arts of the World, Cologne (2019), as well as in her function as chair of committee on Media Arts and Technology for the transnational political NGO Common Action Forum.