An Interactive Afrofuturist Experience
In the Sound of Space workshop I led creative collaborations between students of color that combined their voices with audio sampled from Afrofuturist artists like Octavia Butler and Sun Ra. The aim of this workshop was to explore a new form of academic discourse that avoids the colonialist hegemony in top-down analytic frameworks. Students mixed audio samples from Afrofuturist musicians with their own voice in something called an Intellectual Mixtape, expressing their experiences with social oppression. In doing so, they were asked to not only analyze but embody the work of past Afrofuturist practitioners, reconceptualizing what their “space” might be within academic discourse and the future of our planet.
This project culminated in an immersive experience that utilized quadrophonic surround sound, a 360 projection screen (known as a cyclorama), and interactive displays with Africana artifacts. Each corner of the black box theatre had a different theme derived from Afrofuturist music: Flow, Transport, Testimony, and Funk. Hundreds of members of the Southwest Virginia community attended the installation on opening.