Science in Pop Culture 2022

Indiana Jones, Tony Stark, Dr. Emmett Brown and others. They are key figures in successful pop culture phenomena. What’s more, they and many others are scientists. How does pop culture use science to create such cults, and what are other forms of this symbiosis?

Science is popularised through fiction and reaches a wider non-expert audience, while shaping the form of films. Many audiences are exposed to science and scientists primarily through fictional films, whether it is the ever-popular Marvel Cinematic Universe, the science fiction genre in general, or biopics, for example. These films then shape their perception of the scientific world.

However, the representation of science does not only take place on the screen; many projects use scientists as consultants. Viewers should therefore associate the title of the section with the presentation of science in fiction and pop culture. And ideally, they should be open to the possibility of finding science where they might not have expected it.

Science in Pop Culture is not a new section; it returns to AFO after a two-year hiatus. Its return and its dramaturgical concept is largely motivated by the topical question of whether we can still perceive pop culture as a mass affair in the current era when we are overwhelmed by media content and audiences are fragmented. We encounter science quite often in fictional films, so the question of how science influences content that we do not primarily perceive as educational remains an attractive topic. And how these films affect science?

Fictional films form the core of the section. Audiences can look forward to screenings of well-known high-budget films as well as virtually unknown films. Each of them treats the topic of science in a different way, from films with scientists as the main characters to films in which the connection with science may not be apparent at first glance. At the same time, science in pop culture partly interacts with the other non-competitive sections; the theme of adaptation or health resonates here as well. In expert introductions before the screenings and in separate lectures, guests will reflect on the interrelationship between science and pop culture.

The content of the section includes, among other things, Mad Max: Fury Road, which the audience will be able to enjoy on the big screen in a special black and white version. We will also present the sci-fi with horror elements Sea Fever, Tilda Swinton’s voice will guide us through Last and First Men and Alien on stage will open the question of the pop culture phenomenon Alien and its adaptation to another medium – the theatre.