Monday, December 18, 2017

Afrofuturism > Black Speculative Arts > Hip-Hop - More "Arts" Weaponization?



vice |  VICE: What exactly is the Black Speculative Arts Movement 
Dr. Reynaldo Anderson: BSAM is an umbrella term that looks at several different positions [like] magical realism, Afrofuturism, black science fiction, black quantum futurism, Afro-surrealism, ethnography—different perspectives related to this movement. It's a collection of artists, intellectuals, and activists that we have in these conventions.

How did it start? 
BSAM emerged out of the Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination project that I co-curated with John Jennings at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. It was during that exhibition that I wrote the manifesto for the movement, which is posted online for people to look at.

Later, while brainstorming with John, he connected me to Maia "Crown" Williams, the founder of MECCAcon, the Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts [who] operates a film festival and is a founding member of Ava DuVernay's ARRAY out of Detroit. With her expertise in film and comic conventions, she was very valuable as a co-founder to forming an ongoing convention aspect of the movement.

How long ago did you start thinking about this movement?
We are in the second wave of Afrofuturism, and it's also sociopolitical. When you think about science fiction and what we are doing with Nightlife, a lot of these people who are addicted to drugs have similar behaviors to those of zombies. There is a connection there as a literary or critical theorist. The way I think about science fiction and speculative philosophy happens in real life when people are using all these chemicals and drugs on their body and how it impacts their behavior, as they react like some of these people that we read about in novels. I think it's because society is changing so quickly the only reference we have to understand what happens to us is science fiction or horror. Things that we read in science fiction books used to be unthinkable. Now, they are a reality.

Let's talk about your book, Afrofuturism 2.0. How did you come to be involved in that project?
The book was the result of several years of thinking about the term "Afrofuturism." Many people preceded me in its conceptual development, like Mark DeryAlondra NelsonKodwo Eshun, and others. I first heard of the term in the 90s as a graduate student when I was working on my PhD focusing on the Black Panther Party. The 2.0 project came out of a couple of things. One, I thought about Afrofuturism being different than it was when it was formulated in the 90s.

Afrofuturism 2.0 is the era that we're in now, this era of social media, technological acceleration, globalization, and environmental stress that we are dealing with. I put together a call for papers to put a book around the ideas that really mattered to Afrofuturism from 2005 to now. The other difference is that Afrofuturism is now a transdisciplinary pan-African techno cultural movement. It's global. It's not just American. It takes place in Africa, Latin America—all over the world people are doing it. It was the spirit of those spiritual and intellectual currents going on that led to the book being developed that I co-edited with Charles Jones.