Artists who trouble notions of blackness include Wangechi Mutu, Jacolby Satterwhite, Sanford Biggers, Hank Willis Thomas, Rashid Johnson, Kerry James Marshall, and Wanuri Kahiu, who made Kenya’s first science-fiction film, Pumzi. These artists visualize the creative and symbolic dimensions of the future in ways that also resonate in the texts of black science-fiction writers such as Octavia Butler.
Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany will honor science fiction’s living legend, the author of over 20 novels, approximately as many short stories, five notable memoirs and counting, and 10 essential books of genre criticism. What we’re looking for: We want stories and critical essays that relate in some way to the strength …
Q: Is Afrofuturism only an arts movement? And what can art mean in the twenty-first century? What is at stake when Afrofuturism is though in terms of art? What happens to art when it meets Afrofuturism?
A: I never really thought of myself as belonging to an arts movement. I think of Afrofuturism as an osmotic strategy machine. It absorbs other strategies, replaces them, viral-like, and reintroduces the genetic sequence back into the host. Art movements are usually way too European. My faves are stuff like the Tropicalismo movement out of Brazil, which questioned the very foundations of what it meant to be a person of color in a high racist society. Art should say “these dreams are possible.” To me, the major issue we face in the twenty-first century is the basic fragmentation of almost every solid point of reference. Why do people believe Rush Limbaugh? Would an art movement be able to inspire that kind of blind (and bland) devotion? Sure. But what makes Afrofuturism interesting is that it simply defies categorization. I think of my artwork and music as panhumanist."
Futurism when it developed in the early 1900s was about disavowing anything of the past. I feel that it’s a bit of a contradiction in terms to talk about “Afro-Futurism … if you’re into Futurism … because Afro-Futurism is absolutely rooted in the past, in race, in the use of Futurist thought and process to transcend and manipulate the facts of race in a “trickster” way, the art of dissembling and coding, and that has been part of the African Diaspora since the first abduction. It references the past in futuristic ways. - Ytasha Womack
In the last decades of the twentieth century marginalized voices have moved more towards the center of an anti-anti utopian, post-postmodern stage. Afro-futurism, like hip-hop, is a cultural aesthetic and sociohistorical genre that includes science fiction and technology. It offers a totalizing look at the “impact of the various institutions that govern behavior and transmission of knowledge.” To create conceptual maps of this largely unexplored psychogeographyart pioneers like RammellZee , Jean-Michel Basquiat, Futura (formerly Futura 2000), Doze Green and others have provided a variety of artistic guideposts through their street-level, urban texts, images and performances from cyberculture. The increasing ubiquity of computing, communication and information technology tools offer opportunities to deviate from canonical forms of art and represent a “complex syntheses, biological andmnemotechnical apparatuses of bodily functions.”
Conceived in dialogue with the exhibition The Shadows Took Shape, this panel discussion will be moderated by Nettrice Gaskins, Ph.D. candidate and researcher at Georgia Tech’s Experimental Games Lab (EGL) (part of the Digital Media program at the School of Literature, Communication and Culture), and features artists Coco Fusco, Jacolby Satterwhite and Saya Woolfalk, whose works are included in the two exhibitions currently on view at the Studio Museum, The Shadows Took Shape and Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art.
The program will introduce artists and their works in relationship to “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, art, math) education. Presentations and discussion will explore topics such as fractal geometry, quantum physics and symmetry, and how artists are working with scientists and mathematicians to create tools that inform future projects.
- See more at Studio Museum.org
Saya Woolfalk, Life products by ChimaTEK™, 2013, Courtesy the artist, Photo by Adam Reich
Believing that tools of self-determination lie within creative practices, The Laundromat Project uses the space of local coin-ops to provide communities of color living on modest incomes with broad access to visual art as a tool of personal and social transformation.
Over the course of several weeks, artists Sukjong Hong & Kameelah Rasheed exchanged email fragments, excerpts and other process notes on time-traveling Harriet Tubman, redaction, productive haunting, chopping and screwing time, the archive as a site of power, and the possibilities of science fiction for marginalized communities.