Sci-fi has been dubbed the literature of ideas. But, the genre also begs society to examine what would happen if the impossible became reality.
This Saturday, the EMP Museum unveils its newest permanent exhibition, Icons of Science Fiction. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the extraordinary ideas behind the genre’s most mind-bending creators and will present rare pieces from sci-fi literature, film, television, and art.
EMP staff is putting the finishing touches on the exhibit this week, which will feature some of sci-fi’s most iconic artifacts – many on display to the public for the first time. Artifacts that have never been publically seen before include the Imperial Dalek from Doctor Who, Lieutenant Uhura’s uniform from Star Trek, Yoda’s walking cane from Star Wars, and the Keypton spaceship filming miniature used to transport infant superman to Earth in the 1978 movie Superman.
Brooks Peck is an associate curator at EMP and the brains behind the Icons exhibit. His main goal was to ensure people left the exhibit feeling inspired.
“We want to show that all great ideas in sci-fi came from ordinary people,” he said.
At the beginning of the exhibit, visitors are enticed to step through a lit “vortex” which takes them from the mundane world and into the sci-fi world. Main sections are divided into themes that draw on questions that propel the plots in science fiction media such as, “what if we fought aliens?” or “what if we could explore the stars?” Each of the section includes relevant artifacts from film and literature that attempt to answer these questions, and include the sci-fi hall of famers whose ideas influenced these ideas.
Other exhibition highlights include a special effects wall where visitors can play a part in a science fiction scene of their own device – fighting aliens, flying a spaceship, or saving Earth. Film screenings and a multimedia touchable offers access to a broad range of sci-fi art forms. Peck said the exhibit will remind people that sci-fi has always been about change.
“It gets us thinking about it and gets us used to the idea of change, so that we’re not totally caught off guard by it.”