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Nathalie Muller

Visual Arts, Birmingham City University

Thesis title:

Lost Futurities: Science Fiction in Visual and Media Art from the Middle East

My research explores how science fiction tropes such as space travel, time travel, the alien Other, dystopia, empire, and the apocalyptic are articulated in contemporary art and film from the Middle East (specifically Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar). It focuses on the past decade of artistic production and looks how and at which historical and geo-political junctures science fiction occurs. Moreover, the study foregrounds how science fiction functions as a device that signals loss (including loss of homeland, belonging, social justice, peace, modernity, political agency, self-determination, sovereignty, imaginary, images, mobility), while at the same time facilitating recuperation (including memory, history, resilience, hope, dignity, humour, identity, and survival). The study is transnational and interdisciplinary and draws from a variety of fields in the humanities, including Science Fiction Studies, Contemporary Art (in and from the Middle East), Middle East Studies, Visual and Cultural Studies.

Research Area

  • Visual Arts



- Race, Gender and Technology in Science Fiction, 25-27 April 2019, Maison Française d'Oxford, "Absented Dreams: Science Fiction and Tales of Modernity and Loss in Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige's The Lebanese Rocket Society." https://www.hsmt.ox.ac.uk/event/race-gender-and-technology-science-fiction

- Art in the Anthropocene, 6-9 June 2019, Trinity College Dublin, "Heirlooms of Loss: Environmental Disaster and the (Re)production of Identity and Memory in the Work of Larissa Sansour and Jumana Manna."

- BRISMES (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies), 24-26 June 2019, University of Leeds, "Enter the Cli-fi: Environmental Dystopias and Science Fiction in Contemporary Art and Film from the MENA region."

- Science Fiction Beyond the West: Futurity in African and Asian Contexts, 12 July, SOAS University of London, "Fly Me to the Moon? Retrofuturism and the Ruins of Modernity in Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige’s A Space Museum."

SCMS (Society for Cinema & Media Studies), 1-5 April 2020, Denver, "It’s Easier to Reach the Moon than Jerusalem: Retrofuturism in Larissa Sansour’s A Space Exodus" part of the panel "The Radical Imagination of Larissa Sansour’s Sci-fi Films."

Other Research Interests

Middle East Studies

Science Fiction Studies

Visual Culture

Memory Studies

Trauma Studies


- Member of AICA (since February 2008)

- Member of The Science Fiction Foundation (since October 2018)

- Member of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) (since October 2018)

- Member of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (since October 2018)

- Member of the Association for Modern + Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran + Turkey (AMCA) (since October 2018)

- Member of Cultural Studies Association (since October 2018)

- Member of Middle East Studies Association (MESA) (since October 2018)

- Memebr of Science Fiction Foundation (since October 2018)

- Member of Society for cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) (since August 2019)

- Member of Postcolonial Studies Association (since September 2019)