Stories beginning with ‘What if?’ have been, throughout the ages, a special conduit for philosophical and artistic extrapolation regarding how historical events impact common History and societies. They can be perceived as a reflexive exercise, freed from the boundaries of reality, to look ourselves not only in the mirror but beyond it. And however wondrous may be the envisioned land, one is grounded by familiar anchors of departure, allowing any spectator, reader or viewer, to clearly identify what road is being traveled.
In particular, the staying power of a culture can also be measured by the effect it has on collective imagery and even clichés. Interestingly, that can also be assessed by the diversity of fictional production regarding what it was and what it could have been, ‘What if?’ is a powerful and provocative beginning in any question. Cultural creation under the influence of Alternate History and the effects it may have in present society are possible answers to such questions.
The 1st International Meeting of ‘What if?’ Universal History, to happen on November, 25th, is strongly determined to unite society, creators and academia around these questions. The meeting is co-organized by Casa Comum, from the Dean Manor of University of Porto and the Invicta Imaginaria collective. The official works start at 10 AM and end around 7 PM. Attendance is free of charge but with mandatory registration, as the number of attendees is limited to the capacity of Casa Comum.
The official program includes panels that not only explore the general aspects of Portuguese Alternate History but also focus on more detailed aspects, such as Art, Contemporary Politics, and even Law, all of this through the perspective of Alternate History. As the meeting intends to explore these aspects within the richness of different point of views, these include invitees both from Academia and speculative fiction authors, with the general public encouraged to question and mingle with them.
The program also includes a music recital, presentation of short movies, and the opening of Winepunk and Steampunk Illustration Exhibition by the artist Rui Alex, from whose work ilustrates the official poster.
Finally, being this the YEAR ZERO of this enterprise, in a homage to country and history, and the city that welcomes the event, for the first and last time, the official language will be the common Latin offspring of the Lusitanian People, the Portuguese.
More details and register link in:
10 h – Opening Session: AMP Rodriguez [Co-founder of Invicta Imaginaria]
10.30h – Historical Divergences in Portuguese Alternate Realities (Panel)
- João Barreiros, Rogério Ribeiro, Luís Corredoura,
11.30h – Coffee Break
11.45h –Invited Talk : Steampunk, the retrofuturis conquest of global imaginary
- Includes projection of short movies
12-30h – 14 h – Lunch break
14h – Art and Alternate History (Panel)
- Jorge Palinhos, Vítor Almeida , Fátima São Simão (moderator)
14.45 h – Music recital
15.15 h – Aspects of Contemporary politics and Alternate History (Panel)
- Nelson Zagalo, Octávio dos Santos, Tomás Vieira Sila (moderator)
16.15 h – Coffee break
- Art Exhibition Opening: Steampunk and Winepunk Illsutrations by Rui Alex
16.45 h – New and Updated Chronologies: the new literary challenges in Portuguese Alternate History
- Includes the official submission opening for the second Winepunk installment (The Republic Strikes Back)
17 h – Law and Retrofuturist Manners
- João Seixas, Luís Filipe Silva, Madalena Nogueira dos Santos (moderator)
18h – Closing Session: Fátima Vieira [ Vice-Dean of the University of Porto (Culture, Museums and U. Porto Edições)]
By AMP Rodriguez
Pseudonym of Ana da Silveira Moura, teacher, author and researcher. As AMP Rodriguez is one of the founding members of Invicta Imaginaria, the team that created the Winepunk concept, and has short stories in anthologies such as ‘Os Anos de Ouro da Pulp Fiction Portuguesa’ or ‘Lisboa no Ano 2000 – Histórias Assombrosas duma Cidade que Nunca Existiu’.