Friday, 4 March 2016

The -ism Series (26): Afrofuturism

"Afrofuturism is a literary and cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of people of color, but also to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past." (via)

In 1992, Mark Dery coined the term "Afrofuturism" to describe a certain kind of passion for technology, innovation and mysticism in black culture, i.e. in art, film, music, and literature. Afrofuturism pioneers such as Sun Ra and Octavia Butler had not come into touch with the label (via).
According to Ytasha L. Womack, Afrofuturism is an intersectional, non-linear, fluid and feminist way of looking at alternate realities through a black cultural lens blending the future, the past and the present, exploring "race as a technology". It allows "black people to see our lives more fully than the present allows – emotionally, technologically, temporally and politically." (via)
"To me, a tenent of Afrofuturism deals with black people being told they must adhere to divisions which don’t exist, and only accept a limited number of stories about ourselves, such that we have an extremely limited concept of what material reality can be. Racism can give black Americans the impression that in the past we were only slaves who did not rebel; that in the present, we are a passive people beaten by police who cannot fight back; and that in the future, we simply do not exist." Steven W. Thrasher
A few minutes of "Space is the Place": WATCH

images of Sun Ra via and via