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Sing Yun Lee _ Francis Gene-Rowe

 ‘Ursula Le Guin’

 

 

As some of you might know, the author Ursula Le Guin passed away several months ago at the age of 88. Ursula Le Guin was an author of Fantasy and Science fiction, though I believe she preferred to be known simply as an American novelist. Today’s episode is a conversation about Le Guin and her work with the focus is on one particular book written in 1968 titled ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’.

As architects and designs we wear many hats, but for the most part it’s a discipline associated with giving shape to the materials that build spaces. Architects give shape to spaces we inhabit and live within. There is of course a politics associated with why particular spaces take the shapes they do and it’s also understood that those spaces in return continue to inform the activities and people that occupy them.

I think it’s a worthwhile exercise to imagine whom the architect might be designing for a century from now. Not only what technologies might become our tools or what new materials might exist to build with, but also who the people might be that use these architectures. A century from now, how might people communicate with each other? What might our relationships be with our environment? What new subjectivities and social norms might have emerged? This is what draws me to the work of Ursula Le Guin.

In engaging issues of sociology, anthropology, and psychology in fiction, Le Quinn popularized a genre of literature (Fantasy) that was often dismissed as a ‘low art’ form. Where science fiction might be viewed as technological inventions, and scientific speculation; fiction that questioned gender, race, politics and love fell into another category all together.

 

 

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Sing Yun Lee is an artist, writer, designer, and gallerist. She directs the design and visual aesthetic aspects of the London Science Fiction Research Community.

Francis Gene-Rowe is a Science Fiction scholar whose research interests include experimental poetry, Science Fiction’s relationship with Romanticism, and the energy humanities. He co-directs the London Science Fiction Research Community and co-edits Fantastika Journal.

The London Science Fiction Research Community is a group of science fiction scholars, students and fans which convenes at least once a month in central London, UK. The Community hosts a monthly reading group and an annual academic conference, as well as semi-regular film screenings and guest lectures.

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