As a term, Afrofuturism appeared in the 90s to describe an Afro-American artistic movement which had found expression in sci-fi, fantasy literature, music, the visual arts, comics and movies. Today, it is an inexhaustible field of academic, political, artistic and scientific investigation and production which incorporates elements from the black cultures from the diaspora of West Africa, North America, Britain and the Caribbean, creating a Black Atlantic map.
The talks, discussions and workshops programme will be held οutside the OCC (Epikourou 26 and Korinis 4, Athens centre), featuring the following artists: Rasheedah Phillips (Black Quantum Futurism), Nathalie Mba Bikoro, Louis Chude-Sokei, Reynaldo Anderson, A Guy Called Gerald, The Otolith Group, Black Athena, Tabita Rezaire, Nkisi, Abdul Qadim Haqq, Voltnoi, Quetempo.
for a proposed bibliography list.
FRIDAY 10 NOVEMBER
17:00-17:45 Voltnoi & Quetempo: "Enter Afrofuturism: an introduction"
The term ‘Afrofuturism’ first appeared in the 1990s, used to describe an African-American artistic movement which expressed itself mainly through science fiction, fantasy, music, visual arts, comics and film. Today, this movement comprises a vast field of academic, political, artistic and scientific research and production. It incorporates elements from the black diasporic cultures in West Africa, North America, the UK and the Caribbean, forming a cartographic overlay of the world map, an area known as the Black Atlantic.
18:00-18:45 Rasheedah Phillips of Black Quantum Futurism: "Dismantling the Master's Clock[work] Universe"
A performative reading exploring themes of quantum physics, African/Black Diasporic time and memory rituals, the history and future(s) of the future, and the deconstruction of linear time constructs, with text and projections.
19:00-19:45 Screening | The Last Angel of History by John Akomfrah
(UK, 1997, 45 minutes / color / short)
Framed by the fictional story of the "data thief", this hybrid documentary takes a look at the origins, impact and significance of Afrofuturism and techno music for the black diaspora. Included are interviews with black cultural figures, from musicians DJ Spooky, Goldie, and Derek May, who discuss the importance of George Clinton to their own music, to George Clinton himself. Astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr. describes his experiences as one of the first African-Americans in space, while Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols tells of her campaign for a greater role for African-Americans in NASA. Novelist Ismael Reed and cultural critics Greg Tate and Kodwo Eshun tease out the parallels between black life and science fiction, while Delaney and Butler discuss the motivations behind their choice of the genre to express ideas about the black experience.
SATURDAY 11 NOVEMBER
17:00-17:45 Louis Chude-Sokei: "Bashment Futurities"
Focuses on the intrinsic tension between futurity and historicity in Black music and sound cultures and a discussion of the role technology has played in fomenting that tension.
17:45-18:30 Reynaldo Anderson: "'Interstellar' Black Power and Afrofuturism"
In the 21st century Afrofuturism is emerging as a Pan-African transdisciplinary technocultural movement with planetary goals and is guided by a long term interstellar vision. The convergence of Afrofuturism and Pan Africanism is the result of how global Black life the last 500 years has been marked by three critical points in world history including; the trans-Atlantic and Arab slave trade whereby African people “were transformed into human commodities and human money”, the literary record of their experiences demanding status a full human beings that were punctuated by revolution or rebellion, and market globalization, environmental collapse, and digital technologies (Mbembe, p. 2-3, 2017, Segal, 2002). Previously, in the 20th century artists like Sun Ra, Underground Resistance, Parliament Funkadelic and others have used music and sonic expression to promote afrofuturistic thought in relation to the black experience and survival. This trajectory has led to a state of affairs where early in the 21st century the survival of Africa and its diaspora in a hostile 21st century social Darwinist environment in the midst of massive climate change and technological acceleration requires a reaffirmation of a nationalist and transnational ethics informed by a critical Afrofuturist sensibility, and pan African praxis to forecast, guide and frame a plan for black survival.
18:45-19:15 A Guy Called Gerald: Ιn conversation with Black Athena
Since the late 80s, producer and dj A Guy Called Gerald has been at the centre of the UK’s club scene and club culture. Drawing early influences from his Jamaican roots, he danced in Manchester’s vibrant club scene in the early 80s, immersed himself into Electro, B-Boy culture and became an instrumental figure in both Acid House and Jungle.
What is the common thread that runs all through these different styles and forms, what was the role of the new digital technologies first made widely available at the time, what inspiration did he draw from science fiction at the time? Did the new cultures and technologies offer a new type of escapism for young people coming through at the time?
19:30-20:45 The Otolith Group: "Hydra Decapita"
From 1993 to 2002, the Detroit based electronic music duo Drexciya released an influential series of recordings that imagined a fictional world system entitled Drexciya, populated by the subaquatic descendants of Africans drowned by slavers during the Middle Passage. The fabulation of Drexciya provides the point of departure for Hydra Decapita
, the new work by The Otolith Group that summons a series of spectres of capital in order to convene a seance that immerses audiences within an affective evocation of contemporary economic abstraction.
SUNDAY 12 NOVEMBER
16:00-18:00 Black Quantum Futurism Workshop: "Alternative Temporalities & Quantum Event Mapping"
For reservations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (providing name, surname and mobile phone number). On a first come first served basis.
A workshop and discussion exploring notions of time, space, and the future in the history of linear versus temporal time constructs, specifically drawing attention to temporal orders used by various indigenous African traditions. Alongside sound contributions from Moor Mother, contemporary cultural movements, which embody alternative temporalities such as Afrofuturism or DIY theories like Black Quantum Futurism will be introduced and examined as practical tools for understanding reality and shaping past and future narratives. Workshop participants are invited to build future maps and quantum time capsules that shift linear modalities of cause and effect, examining the interaction between timescapes and soundscapes.
18:00-18:45 Tabita Rezaire: "Lubricate Coil Engine – Decolonial Supplication"
Lubricate coil engine
is a supplication for our times to restore our ability to connect. While eternity is on repeat, and anxiety on fleak, we keep scrolling in the void. How do we connect? How does it feel? What can we do about those feels? This litany for connection envisions the revival of ICTs to supplement our Internet diet. Water, sound, dream plants are retrieved as interfaces against manufactured amnesia. Rezaire unearths the cybernetic spaces where the organic, technologic and spiritual worlds harmonize and asks how can we use biological or esoteric systems to fuel technological process of information, sustainability and governance? Overcoming the organism/spirit/device dichotomies, Lubricate coil engine salutes spiritual channels as communication networks and imagine the possibilities of decolonial technologies.
19:00-19:45 Nkisi: "Exorcise the Language of Domination"
20:00-21:00 Abdul Qadim Haqq: Ιn conversation with Voltnoi & Quetempo
Abdul Qadim Haqq, also known as the Ancient, is a visual artist born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Haqq’s artwork is seen all over the world on classic records by Detroit Techno artists and labels like Juan Atkins, Metroplex, Derrick May, Transmat, Underground Resistance, Kevin Saunderson, Carl Craig.
What are the main themes that Haqq’s artwork explores? What was his inspiration? What kind of discussions did Haqq have with all the techno legends mentioned above before creating those artworks? How is it to live and work in a city like Detroit? These are some of the topics that curators Voltnoi and Quetempo will discuss with Abdul Qadim Haqq.
read moreVoltnoi Brege
is a multimedia artist, founding member of the audiovisual groups drog_A_tek and The Erasers, the cultural centre BIOS and the DETACH art collective. Currently he works as an independent curator. drogatek.com
Makis Kentepozidis, known as Quetempo
, is a member of drog_A_tek and DETACH working on sound text desire of everyday life critique. drogatek.com
Black Quantum Futurism
(or BQF) is a new approach to living and experiencing reality by way of the manipulation of space-time in order to see into possible futures. This vision and practice derives its facets, tenets, and qualities from quantum physics, futurist traditions, and Black/African cultural traditions of consciousness, time, and space. Within the space where these three traditions intersect exists a creative plane that allows for the ability of African-descended people to see "into", choose, or create the impending future. Featuring visions by Rasheedah Phillips, Moor Mother Goddess, Warren C. Longmire, Almah Lavon, Joy Kmt, Thomas Stanley and Nikitah Okembe-RA Imani.
is a writer and scholar whose work ranges widely in and around the literary, political and cultural phenomena of the African Diaspora. Scholarly work includes the award winning, The Last Darky: Bert Williams, Black on Black Minstrelsy and the African Diaspora (Duke University Press, 2006), The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (Wesleyan University Press, 2016) and the forthcoming, Dr. Satan’s Echo Chamber and Other Essays (Wesleyan University Press). Also imminent is a memoir with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that traces his intellectual development across multiple nations and distinct Black cultures. Chude-Sokei is the Editor in Chief of The Black Scholar, one of the oldest journals of Black Studies, which was this year ranked by Princeton Journal reviews as the #1 journal of Black Studies in the United States. bu.edu/afam/faculty/louis-chude-sokei
Dr. Reynaldo Anderson
currently serves as an Associate Professor of Communications and Chair of the Humanities department at Harris-Stowe State University in Saint Louis, Missouri. Reynaldo publishes extensively in the area of Afrofuturism, communications studies, and the African diaspora experience. Reynaldo is currently the executive director and co-founder of the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM), a network of artists, curators, intellectuals and activists. Finally, he is the co-editor of the book Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness published by Lexington books, co-editor of forthcoming volume The Black Speculative Art Movement: Black Futurity, Art+Design to be released in 2017, and the co-editor of “Black Lives, Black Politics, Black Futures,” a forthcoming special issue of TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies. twitter.com/Hardcore888
Gerald Simpson, better known as A Guy Called Gerald
, is a British DJ, record producer and musician. He was an early member of 808 State, and later achieved success as a solo artist. He is best known for his early work in the Manchester acid house scene in the late 80s and the track "Voodoo Ray". His style developed during the early 90s, and his 1995 album Black Secret Technology would become a "much-touted candidate for 'best jungle album ever.' guycalledgerald.com
(a.k.a. Konstantinos Νikiforakis) is co-producing and co-presenting a weekly music show for the Athenian 9.84 FM municipal radio station. Over the years the show has featured content, interviews and exclusives by artists such as Jeru The Damaja, Mark Pritchard, Daedelus, Gaslamp Killer, Addison Groove, Floating Points, AUX88, FaltyDL, Krystal Klear and many more. Also, he is producing and presenting a feature entitled '2nd Generation' focusing on second generation immigrant youth culture in Athens, Greece. soundcloud.com/blackathena
The Otolith Group
was founded in 2002 and consists of Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun who live and work in London. During their longstanding collaboration The Group have drawn from a wide range of resources and materials. They explore the moving image, the archive, the sonic and the aural within the gallery context. The work is research based and in particular has focused on the essay film as a form that seeks to look at conditions, events and histories in their most expanded form. otolithgroup.org/
is an internet warrior. A French – of Guyanese and Danish descent – video artist, health-tech-politix practitioner, and Kemetic/ Kundalini Yoga teacher based in Johannesburg. Tabita’s practices unearth the possibilities of decolonial healing through the politics of technology. Navigating architectures of power – online and offline – her work tackles the pervasive matrix of coloniality and its affects on technology, sexuality, health and spirituality. Through screen interfaces and energy streams, her digital healing activism offers substitute readings to dominant narratives decentering occidental authority and preaches to dismantle our oppressive white-supremacist-patriarchal-cis-hetero-globalized world screen. tabitarezaire.com
is the alias of Melika Ngombe Kolongo, an artist raised in Belgium and now living in London. She's a producer, DJ and co-founder of NON Records, a collective of African artists and of the diaspora, using sound as their primary media, to articulate the visible and invisible structures that create binaries in society, and in turn distribute power. She's also a regular at the Endless club night, playing an exciting mix of fast-paced music that draws from many influences (from central and west African club tracks to gabber and doomcore. While producing her own tracks, she goes for a heavily layered, relentless sound, often playing with collective memory. non.com.co
Abdul Qadim Haqq
is the founder of Third Earth Visual Arts. For over 20 years they have provided visual conceptual imagery to the electronic music community, working with all major Detroit Techno musicians and labels, such as Derrick May/Transmat, Carl Craig/Planet E, UR, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Eddie Fowlkes, Rick Wade and many more. thirdearthvisualarts.com