Are We Alone?
“Are We Alone?” is a collection of courses under the Culture Art Technology (CAT) Writing Program in collaboration with The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, the Calit2 Qualcomm Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, and the Clarion Writers' Workshop that brings together faculty in literature, media studies, art, and science.
This arc encourages students to ask fundamental questions about what it means to be human as individuals and as a species, how we integrate our human sensoral and machined instrumental relationship with the world, how consciousness is experienced, what counts as legitimate affect, who travels along on the human journey, how we situate ourselves in generational diasporas, and the lessons to be learned from space about issues of justice close to home.
By asking "Are We Alone?" we also ask a number of basic questions. What does it mean to be "alone"? Who are the "we"? If we ask this as humans, how do we define what it means to be human? Are we an exceptional species for asking this question, and what are the ethical consequences of that framework? And how has this question been posed over time? Looking critically at issues of race, gender, sexuality, technology, ecology and environments, students will attempt to answer these questions through media projects, and faculty and graduate students alike will also engage with these questions through a number of performances, screenings, discussions, and presentations throughout the quarter.
For more information on specific classes, please visit the Sixth College Website HERE.
ARE WE ALONE events:
Week 1: Wednesday, April 1: Close Encounters Screening & Discussion with Richard Dreyfuss (6:00 pm, CalIT2)
“The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination presents Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), a science fiction adventure film written and directed by Steven Spielberg. Discussion prior to screening with Close Encounters star Richard Dreyfuss, moderated by science fiction author David Brin.”
Week 3: Friday, April 17: Kim Stanley Robinson Guest Lecture (1:00-1:50pm, Pepper Canyon Hall 106)
“Kim Stanley Robinson will discuss his most recent book, 2312, and his forthcoming novel, Aurora, and field questions from undergraduate students.”
Week 5: Wednesday, April 29: David Brin Reading (4:30pm, Literature 155)
“Award-winning scientist and science fiction author David Brin will be reading from his new novel as part of the Literature Department's New Writing Series.”
Week 5: Thursday, April 30: THEESatisfaction (6:30pm, Porter’s Pub)
“The Ethnic Studies Department presents a FREE concert of funk-psychedelic feminista sci-fi epics with the warmth and depth of Black Jazz and Sunday morning soul, frosted with icy raps. DJ Set and Q&A with the artists also included.”
Week 6: Thursday, May 7: Your Future Disgusts Me (12-2pm, Cross Cultural Center)
“How do we incorporate race into a conversation about art and futurity in a post-racial crisis? Discussion with muralist and performer Will Heron, activist and professor of visual arts Ricardo Dominquez, and science fiction and ethnic studies scholar Shelley Streeby.”
Week 8: Thursday, May 21: The Woman in the Moon (6pm, Seuss Room)
“Screening of Fritz Lang's 1929 silent sci-fi feature with a live music score, in addition to a survey panel of all known silent sci-fi film from 1898-1929.”
Week 9: Wednesday, May 27: Sleep Dealer Screening & Discussion with Alex Rivera (6:00 PM, Atkinson Hall)
“Sleep Dealer is a science-fiction thriller of borders, labor, and cybernetics set on the U.S./Mexico border; won awards at the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival; and has been screened at the Museum of Modern Art. Discussion with the director to follow the screening.”
Week 10: Wednesday, June 3: Final Showcase of “Are We Alone?” themed discussions, performances, and presentations (5-8pm, CalIT2)
“Featuring a panel of affiliated CAT faculty K. Wayne Yang (Ethnic Studies), Shelley Streeby (Literature and Ethnic Studies), Joe Hankins (Anthropology), Adam Burgasser (Physics), Benjamin Bratton (Visual Arts) and Liz Losh (CAT Program Director); Performances by UCSD Graduate Students in music, visual arts, and creative writing; and presentations of CAT Undergraduate Student work; topped off with a great keynote by NYT best-selling author Jeff VanderMeer!
This program is supported by a grant from the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts and by VIASAT