Program Description

In the 1990s, as the third millennium loomed, a new form of science fiction cinema emerged. Highly influenced by the writings of William Gibson and other cyberpunk authors, the availability of Japanese animation and manga, and the global spread of technology alongside burgeoning countercultures, these films explored the exciting and insidious ramifications of cybernetics, virtual reality, and the Internet. In contrast with the bright, plastic vistas of classic American science fiction, the new works grappled with a silicon future marked by technology’s role in the social anxieties surrounding addiction, identity, power, and the construction of reality itself.

The cinema series Plastic Futures and Premillennial Tensions presents eight seminal works from this influential era of transgressive science fiction filmmaking. From groundbreaking animated films like Ghost in the Shell and cult classics like Hackers to Luc Besson’s intergalactic extravaganza The Fifth Element, this series surveys the fears and hopes of a world hurtling toward Y2K and the millennium beyond.

Plastic Futures and Premillennial Tensions: 1990s Science Fiction Cinema before a New Millennium is organized by guest curator Jake Yuzna and coincides with the exhibition Non-Stick Nostalgia: Y2K Retrofuturism in Contemporary Jewelry.

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