Tuesday, February 28th @ 5-7pm
In the Schaffer Library Lally Reading Room
This program/series/event is supported by Union’s “Our Shared Humanities” initiative, which is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon.
Co-Founder of BSAM:
About the exhibit:
Black Space: Reading (and Writing) Ourselves into the Future:
A Celebration of the African Diasporic Imagination in Afrofuturism
Imagine a future in which the diverse fabric of humanity, with its multicolored threads, is shaped to create tightly woven tales of heroic galactic adventures and tragic post-apocalyptic dystopias. It can be found in Afrofuturism. With this description “speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of twentieth century technoculture –and, more generally, African-American signification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future,” Mark Dery defined what would eventually become a burgeoning field of study and a social movement of African Diasporic artists, scholars, and activists, who set out to challenge the representation of black bodies by non-black writers, to explore blackness by dismantling prescriptive notions of black identity, and to project black narratives into a future space, a Black Space.
The materials assembled in this exhibit introduce visitors to Afrofuturist musicians, authors and speculative artists, and retroactively designated Afrofuturists texts to challenge assumptions about the black experience That is so say, the often racially coded Digital Divide is much narrower than once thought; there is a thriving Black cyberculture populated with Afropunks, Steamfunkers, Bleeks (black geeks) & Blerds (black nerds), and a very active black science fiction community who not only produce a vast body of speculative fiction but who also create comics, graphic fiction/nonfiction, film and speculative art. It has also inspired activism and a social justice movement that is dedicated to securing a more equitable future.
Moving beyond these earthly confines, visitors will explore a whimsical musical universe whose denizens include an “Archandroid, “a funky intergalactic scientist, and a traveler from Saturn. A multimedia display will provide a visual and aural experience, offering visitors the chance to discover newer voices in the infinitely-expanding Afrofuturist universe. This exhibit is only an introduction to Afrofuturism; it offers visitors a brief glimpse into the real and imaginary worlds of the African Diasporic imagination and invites them to continue the exploration.