« All I really remember is the pain, the unspeakable pain […]. Yes, it does indeed mean something ― something unspeakable ― to be born, in a white country, an Anglo-Teutonic, antisexual country, black. You very soon, without knowing it, give up all hope of communion. Black people, mainly, look down or look up but do not look at each other, not at you, and white people, mainly, look away. And the universe is simply a sounding drum ; there is no way whatever, so it seemed then and has sometimes seemed since, to get through a life, to love your wife and children, or your friends, or your mother and father, or to be loved. »
SF and other fantasy genres are no longer counter-cultures, as they lost their alternative and sometimes subversive nature. However, sustainable development brings the future closer and urges us to change the present, the here and now. Knowledge & practices also expend, as well as styles & references that changed the notion of margins (dematerialized spaces, virtual communities etc.). AFROFUTURISM thus engages in a global, creative change full of actions. From the point of view of people who were outcast for centuries and have incarnated alterity, afrofuturism more than ever addresses the whole world. Inclusive and frentic, heterogeneous and free, trans (meaning « going through »), it invites us to perform the world.
Afrofuturism’s relation to fiction and even sometimes science-fiction helped it come forward. It is more than a way to esape, as it offers alternatives to a present that we have no grasp on and that can deprive us from our existence. It is the advent of using new imaginaries as critical tools to question the world in order to come up with new narrations of History. Afrofuturism is full of authors who present new — more or less radical but always new — representations of the world in order to think of, imagine and concretize another version of the world. Beyond dreams, Afrofuturism becomes a prospective methodology.
Afrofuturism is first a matter of individual paths. Between personal fantacies, provocation and leadership, it comes from strong and free-minded characters, and its mission is to give everyone enough courage to free themselves and to define themselves. Afrofuturism plays with common or imposed laws and habits, it writes its own mythology and manifesto. Musicians have benefitted from the popularity of « black music » to broadcast their eclectic, impossible and dense message. Afrofuturism is then an original and auto-determined way of life : it is the strength of the myth.
Let’s take a big leap into « The Color Line » — a Musée du Quai Branly / Jacques Chirac exhibition — : The first « Before » of the season is featuring Blacks to the Future ! Explore the African- American culture thanks to a varied program, mixing traditions and contemporary creations, in one evening.
« Week-ends » are a new rendez-vous allowing you to discover exhibitions from an exclusive point of view !
Musicians, dancers, plasticians, story tellers and lecturers settle in the museum to make you live a unique moment around the exhibition « The Color Line – African-American Artists and Segregation » and explore no less than 150 years of history of African-American art. Free activities, free access or access with ticket to the museum.
Mukhtara Yusuf is a cultural activist of Nigerian Yoruba origin who explores identity making in a post-colonial context through Afrofuturist art. Her media of choice include printwork and collage, but she is especially committed to fashion and jewelry design. To her, dress articulates the unfinished business of self-making as a “3rd culture kid” of the diaspora.
A man and woman dance to the hypnotic rhythm of synthesized drums and distorted singing, their stomping feet raising clouds of dust from barren earth, their upper limbs drawing elliptic figures against a backdrop of nebulous galaxies. In this depthless void where stars pulsate from the exposed heart of colored clusters, the lone dancers twist under the invisible pressure of the hammering sound. In gravity-defying gymnastics they move under a fluorescent ray of blue light that beams down from the eye of a nebula. They are being summoned. A ladder appears leading somewhere, nowhere. Is this dystopia or utopia? The scene gives no hint as to its history, whether the characters are welcoming or resisting the call.
The Black lives Matters movement, term used for the first time in 2013, is an activist movement developped, on the other side of the Atlantic ocean, as a reslut of polician’s violence and blunders among the afro-american community. “Black lives matter” is the motto of the mobilisation, wich is presented not only in the United States or in Canada but also in Africa, especially in Ghana.
An article by Laura Havlin that appeared in AnOther Magazine back in September is a good source to get acquainted with the afrofuturist aesthetic and to point to its influence on afrosartorial trends. (N.D.L.R. : This article first appeared on “Afrosartorialism”, Enrica Picarelli’s research blog, on 29 December 2015)