On the Core Idea of Afrofuturism


Your Brief And Far-Out Guide To Afrofuturism

“Time is this really fluid thing. Now is now, but the past is now and the future too.” 

This is how curator and anthropologist Niama Safia Sandy describes the core idea of Afrofuturism, a cultural aesthetic combining elements of science fiction, magical realism and African history.

The artistic, musical and literary movement is often traced back to jazz composer and cosmic philosopher Sun Ra, who, in college in the 1930s, had a hallucinatory experience in which he was abducted, brought to planet Saturn and shown a prophetic future.

But the actual term Afrofuturism was first used by critic Mark Dery in his 1994 essay “Black to the Future,” which examined why there were so few black science fiction writers at the time, given the genre’s inextricable links to the other and life on the margins.

“Can a community whose past has been deliberately rubbed out, and whose energies have subsequently been consumed by the search for legible traces of its history, imagine possible futures?” Dery asks in the text. “Furthermore, isn’t the unreal estate of the future already owned by the technocrats, futurologists, streamliners, and set designers — white to a man — who have engineered our collective fantasies?”

Afrofuturism is often regarded as a cultural genre or style, a re-imagining of African tradition that projects techno-futuristic possibilities. But for Sandy, the movement is more than a literary genre — it’s real life. “It’s not just an ideological thing, it’s how people live,” Sandy explained to The Huffington Post. “Magical realism is used to talk about literature of the other, literature from pretty much everywhere except the West. But I feel like it isn’t just a literary genre, it’s how we understand the earth — an ambulatory cosmology, how we move through the world.”

Read further @ Huffington Post

~ by eneryvibes on 1,May 24, 2016.

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