RA Walden

Science Fiction is Not Pretend

  • Film
  • Digital Art
  • 2021/2022
  • British sign language
  • German audio description
  • German Sign Language
  • German subtitles
  • English
  • English audio description
  • English subtitles

“Let's start with the end of the world, why don't we? Get it over with and move on to more interesting things.”  N.K. Jemisin

Slow days, sick days, fog and forgetting. Disobedient bodies, archives, clocks and flows of capital. The fragility of the body is the focus of RA Walden's queer, disabled and transdisciplinary practice.

The Berlin artist radically criticises normative ideas about bodies and capacity in an ever-productive capitalist society. Their works always combine social engagement and artistic research

The video premiere “Science Fiction Is Not Pretend” shows a barrage of gloomy images of civilisation: The water is burning, the underground is shaking, animals are being turned into mincemeat. Everyday a buffet of horror, a smorgasbord of unearthly delights. Loneliness, promise, desire and fertile ground. Fallible bodies flailing under the weight of the end of the world. Complicit and raging, there is no higher ground. Sometimes there is hope, but sometimes there is only a logbook – a pathetic record keeping.

Alongside their video work, RA Walden presents an accompanying interactive website on HAU4, commissioned by HAU Hebbel am Ufer, and made in collaboration with artist Cooper Lovano. This digital environment welcomes visitors to discover references to “Science Fiction Is Not Pretend” on their own. Notes, images and sounds created in the moments between waking and sleeping. “Who is living inside you?” asks the voice in the video, with despair in one hand, the remote control in the other.


RA Walden contributed to the “Manifestos for Queer Futures” to the HAU festival “The present is not enough – Performing Queer Histories and Futures” (2019). Their work was also shown that year at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (Newcastle), SOHO20 (New York) and Tate Exchange: Tate Modern (London). Walden was part of the Shandaken: Storm King (New York) residency programme and was a Fellow at the Berlin University of the Arts between 2019 and 2021. In 2020 Walden participated in the residency programme at Wysing Arts Centre (Cambridge) and appeared at the House of World Cultures (Berlin) and elsewhere. In 2021 they presented a solo exhibition at Kunstinstituut Melly (Rotterdam) and was part of group exhibitions at places such as Galerie im Turm (Berlin, with Bini Adamczak), Galerie Wedding (Berlin), Schwules Museum (Berlin), Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Württembergischer Kunstverein (Stuttgart) and the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Hamburg). Walden will be in residence at La Becque: Switzerland in 2022.


RA Walden’s video work is presented with German and English audio description, in German Sign Language, British Sign Language and with German and English subtitles. No registration is required. The work will be available free of charge at HAU4 from March 8, 19:00.

The audio description was created by PingPongTranslation on behalf of HAU Hebbel am Ufer.

Script AD: Janna Düringer/Martina Reuter. Speakers: Martina Reuter/Joanna Lemonnier, Blind Editing: Dr. Roland Zimmermann.

Sign language by handgold on behalf of HAU Hebbel am Ufer. German Sign Language: Hatice Yildirim Dähne, British Sign Language: Robert Adam.


    • Premiere
      Tue 8.3.2022, 19:00

Production video: RA Walden. Supported by: Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

Production website: RA Walden, Cooper Lovano. A commission by HAU Hebbel am Ufer.