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After the Apocalypse: Afrofuturism 2.0 and the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM)

With Reynaldo Anderson, Quentin VerCetty, Florence Ifeoma Okoye, David Kirkmann

Part of "THE COMET – 150 years W.E.B. Du Bois"

The term Afrofuturism first turned up at the beginning of the 1990s as a way to account for the contemporary interface of race, technology and art. Over the last decade a new wave of Afrofuturism has emerged, which has been described as the “twenty-first century technogenesis of Black identity”. What this means in particular and how the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM) emerged from it will be the topic of the keynote by Prof. Dr. Reynaldo Anderson, co-founder and director of BSAM.

As a project of decolonization, Afrofuturism 2.0 goes well beyond literature and aesthetics, pointing in a direction that allows us to imagine counter-histories and to fill in the gaps in our knowledge. For Afrofuturism 2.0 can no longer be understood outside of a politics of resistance, but calls the supposed authority of Eurocentric ways of viewing the world into question, arguing that Black people should be the primary interpreters of Black lives and a Black future. How Black people whose lives are centred in Germany can join the movement will be investigated by Natasha A. Kelly in a conversation afterwards with the BSAM director and the international BSAM members Quentin VerCetty (Canada) and Florence Okoye (UK).

To conclude the evening we will watch the German premiere of the Afrofuturist short film “Static”. The filmmaker David Kirkman will be present.

When his father runs for mayor of the city, Virgil Hawkins has a hard time coming to terms with his newly discovered superpowers. Everything turns dangerous when it is discovered that some of the gang activities in the city are directly linked with the powers that be. Change is never easy, so the young hero has to be ready for the fight of his life.

Running time: 40 minutes / English

Trailer
Reynaldo Anderson is currently Associate Professor of Communication and director of the Humanities Faculty at Harris Stowe State University in Saint Louis, USA. At the same time he is executive director and co-founder of the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM), a global network of artists, intellectuals, and activists committed to Afrofuturism. Anderson is co-editor of “Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness” (Lexington), co-editor of “Cosmic Underground: A Grimoire of Black Speculative Discontent” (Cedar Grove Publishing), and co-editor of “Black Lives, Black Politics, Black Futures”, a special issue of TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies.

Quentin VerCetty is an award-winning “Visual Griot” (storyteller) and an arts educator from Montréal, Canada. His digital Afro-technological and photographic imaginings of Afro-techno-fossils and carnival parades emerge in an Afrotopia, creating a dialogue that sets up a contrast between the ideal society for Black people and existing societies. Quentin is currently working on a book entitled “Outside in the Republic”, and hopes that his Master in Art Education will help him achieve a more sustained positive public representation of people of African descent worldwide.

Florence Okoye is a User Experience Designer who works at the interface of critical design and technological and social justice, with a deep interest in everything having to do with open access, computer modelling and the philosophy of technology. Since 2015 she has been curating events for AfroFutures_UK, researching Afrofuturism and the intersection of race and technology, with a particular focus on how technology can influence the redefinition of Black identity.

David Kirkman grew up in Ferguson, where he very quickly became an icon after being widely celebrated at the tender age of 23 at sold-out screenings of his award-winning work. Recently he won the Gentlemen Jacks Reel to Real Short Film Award for his work and was featured in various media outlets.
Past dates
November 2018
English with German simultaneous translation
A project by Natasha A. Kelly in collaboration with HAU Hebbel am Ufer. Funded by: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University.