22 – 24 Sep 2021

Writing Letters to Extraterrestrials

To be extra-terrestrial, or extra-earth, might imply excess or spillover from the earthly, being expelled from Terra, or the desire to leave the Earth altogether. It might invoke fears or excitement of greeting an alien other to Earth, or perhaps instead reveal fantasies of being able to leave a damaged Earth behind and become oneself extra-terrestrial. Alongside these fantasies that imagining the ET might harbor, it also reckons with loss and grief; the theme inherently interrogates the possibility of extinction, climate change, toxic ecologies, and the Anthropocene. It reconsiders questions of identity and belonging, what it might mean to be more-than terra or to have certain qualities considered as ’alien‘ in terms of nation or citizenship, as well as ’extra’ or un-usable, not-valued (by whom or by what?), or in the recent popular sense, ‘extra’ as excess, the dramatic over-the-top. Many of these provocations of the extra-terrestrial will draw on feminist and queer legacies of science fiction in philosophy, the sciences, literature, film, TV, and the arts. Each artist and theorist in the event imagines speculative practices towards radically different and just futures free of capitalist, racist, fascist, ableist, carceral, homophobic, transphobic, and other forms of connected structural oppressions.

WRITING LETTERS TO EXTRA-TERRESTRIALS is a three-day series of hybrid online and in-person events at the ICI Berlin and the Technische Universität Berlin that focuses attention on the promises, dangers, and ambiguities of communicating with extraterrestrials and being ourselves ’extraterrestrial‘. The interrogation of the epistolary mode and other traditionally non-academic modes of writing in the name of expression, or coming to know the world outside-of-oneself (if such a distinction can be drawn), hopes to gain access into experiences of otherness and ways of navigating radical difference both real and imagined. Invited participants include performance, film, visual and sound artists, writers, theorists, activists, and scientists to be in conversation in a multi-disciplinary and multi-format event.Speaker Bios (pdf)


ICI Berlin
(Click for further documentation)


Edna Bonhomme
diffrakt | zentrum für theoretische peripherie
Ashon T. Crawley
Irina Gheorghe
Juliana Huxtable
Adriana Knouf
Mary Maggic
Margaret Rhee
Simon(e) van Saarloos
Emilija Škarnulytė
Jenna Sutela
Regina Kanyu Wang

Organized by

Alison Sperling
An ICI Event organized in cooperation with TU Berlin ZIFG and IPODI Initiative, CoFutures/Science Fictionality at the University of Oslo, and the American Studies Center at the University of Warsaw.

In English

First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin
Cite as: Writing Letters to Extraterrestrials, symposium, ICI Berlin, 22–24 September 2021 <>