Since Black Mirror started taking humanity's growing dependence upon technology, turning it into science-fiction nightmares, and turning those into must-see dystopian-themed TV, a strange phenomenon keeps occurring. Every time something bizarre happens — a reality television star becoming a world leader is just one example — it seems that Charlie Brooker's TV show got there first. "We're living in an episode of Black Mirror" has become a common statement on social media, and now London's Barbican Centre is making that claim a reality as part of its new sci-fi exhibition.
Opening on June 3 and running through until September 1, 2017, Into the Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction will dive into everything that makes the genre so great, exploring sci-fi's attempts to answer the important questions of our time. Before immersing patrons in a wealth of thought-provoking material, it'll make them walk through a Black Mirror video installation, whichwill take over the Barbican's Silk Street entrance hall.
The show's second-ever episode "Fifty Million Merits" is in the spotlight, and it's a fitting choice given that it probed just how obsessed we've all become with screens. Before he starred in this year's horror hit Get Out, Daniel Kaluuya was stranded in a society that rewards exercise with credits, shovels out mindless television a distraction while folks try to get fit, and judges those who don't work hard enough off-screen with the same viciousness it directs towards the contestants on TV. The more people work up a sweat on an exercise bike, the more points they earn, which helps them audition for the shows they're watching and get voted for, mocked, cheered and booed themselves. Yep, it's quite the cycle — and, in endeavouring to replicate the experience, clips will be displayed on six-foot-tall screens as visitors enter the exhibition.
As far as bringing Black Mirror to life — well, more than is already proving the case, that is — it's one of the easier setups to copy; however it also sounds like quite the mind-bending sight to behold. For anyone that finds themselves in London later in the year, Into the Unknown will also feature all the sci-fi highlights you'd expect, spanning manuscripts by Jules Verne, props from the likes of Star Wars and Godzilla, and a new interactive work by the effects wizards behind Ex Machina and The Martian.