Conceived by Reynaldo Anderson and Stacey Robinson of the Black Speculative Arts Movement and guest-curated by Tiffany E. Barber, this two-part exhibition brings together an international cadre of artists whose work responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-black violence, climate change, poor governance, trans-humanism, and an accelerating, technologically driven economic system on the verge of collapse.
THE GLITCH | Short Animation Film (2020-01) by Muniyra DouglasNew York Live Arts
This short, independent film follows a young woman named Kiama as she grieves from a traumatic loss, while her mental and emotional afflictions manifest as a physical glitch. Just as Kiama's state appears to worsen, a spiritual ancestor pays her a visit. The film was selected for the 2020 Toronto Short Film Festival.
It Ends Here (2020) by Chloe HarrisonNew York Live Arts
Last of the Light (2020) by Chloe HarrisonNew York Live Arts
Chloe Harrison’s works reflect the desire to remain isolated and make work that is conceptual. Yet her practice also grapples with the tension between making work that has no meaning, necessarily, and closing out her college career as she faces an unforeseen future within a pandemic.
Study for a Damned Queen (homage to Grace Jones and Keith Haring) (2020) by Patrick Earl HammieNew York Live Arts
Patrick Earl Hammie's work examines personal and shared black diasporic experiences. Through portraits and allegories, Hammie explores the complexities of identity, emotion, and family by layering existing histories with new narratives, navigating the tensions between feeling and knowledge, power and violence, vulnerability and tenderness.
Range Rover (2019) by Jessi JumanjiNew York Live Arts
Here, Jessi Jumani's Range Rover is paired with Ingrid LaFleur's sound essay, Traveling to Turiya--a meditation on the ways in which travel across time and space inflect how we see and experience the world.
Detroit-born artist Alice Coltrane's jazz composition Galaxy in Turiya inspired this sound essay. Commissioned by the Arcus Center for Social Justice at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, the piece was first exhibited in 2017 along with an installation of multiple sculptures made from healing crystals. Since then the essay has been presented in a number of venues around the world. The essay includes samples from speeches and literary passages by Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, Sun Ra and the Arkestra, and Eartha Kitt.
The Perpetual Motion Machine of Our Time Traveling Love (2015) by Walidah ImarishaNew York Live Arts
Magnitude (2019) by Jessi JumanjiNew York Live Arts
JES'GREW (2020) by John JenningsNew York Live Arts
Survivor (2017) by Zeal HarrisNew York Live Arts
FireWriter (2017) by Nettrice GaskinsNew York Live Arts
FireWriter commemorates events that took place during the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri. To create this work, Nettrice Gaskins collaborated with Deep Dream, an online tool that uses machine learning to generate images. Gaskins employs this process, also referred to as deep neural image style transfer, to showcase in her work the capabilities and internal representations of new and emerging technology.
Parable of the Sower, pg257 (2020) by Motherboxx StudiosNew York Live Arts
This and the next digital illustration are pages from the forthcoming graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower.
Parable of the Sower (2020) by Motherboxx StudiosNew York Live Arts
UNADJUSTEDNOWRAW (2019) by BLACKMAUNew York Live Arts
BLACKMAU is the art moniker of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Art + Design Professor Stacey “Blackstar” Robinson and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Clinical Services Counselor (DJ) Kamau “KamauMau” Grantham. The duo deploys strategies of appropriation and what they call "unperfected experimentation." This collaboratively-made image conjures Black dystopian survival via photographic fragments, deep house music, and Afrofuturism.
After the Rain, pg26 (2020) by Motherboxx StudiosNew York Live Arts
This and the next digital illustration are pages from Nnedi Okorafor's forthcoming novel, After the Rain. Okorafor is a Nigerian-American author of Africanfuturism and Africanjujuism for children and adults.
After the Rain, pg72 (2020) by Motherboxx StudiosNew York Live Arts
Red Gas (2019) by La'Nora BororNew York Live Arts
Life-altering (2020) by La'Nora BororNew York Live Arts
Created during a live virtual event on Instagram, this mixed media image considers the new 'normal' of wearing masks and the conditions of looking this new normal might produce.
People Never Change (2019) by William FalbyNew York Live Arts
Ottawa-based artist William Falby crafts his images using software designed to manipulate the extremes of light, color, shape, and everything in between. Through electronic imaging, Falby explores issues of identity, migration, and language, and his compositions often take the forms of masks.
Krank Shaft (2017) by Charles E. MasonNew York Live Arts
Krank Shaft is a space marine and steampunk alternative weapons engineer, a character that the artist created and introduced at the Steampunk World's Fair in New York in 2017.
Spin Me Around (2019) by William FalbyNew York Live Arts
Dr. Tesla (2017) by Charles E. MasonNew York Live Arts
This portrait combines steampunk and comic book culture. An homage to Serbian-American inventor, Nikola Tesla, the artist replicates and transforms the mask that the Hellboy character wears to evoke the divide between the supernatural and the human.
Conceived by Reynaldo Anderson and Stacey Robinson of the Black Speculative Arts Movement and guest-curated by Tiffany E. Barber, this two-part exhibition brings together an international cadre of artists whose work responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-black violence, climate change, poor governance, trans-humanism, and an accelerating, technologically driven economic system on the verge of collapse. The animated shorts, collages, photographs, poems, and sound pieces herein are otherworldly and fantastic. From spaces of isolation and enclosure, the featured artists crafted worlds as infinite as the quarantine’s impositions, worlds inspired by speculative fiction, Black girlhood, Sankofa, Manga, cosplay, artificial intelligence, time travel, pleasure, and the new normal of masks and virtual socializing. Masks, a recurring motif, double as protective gear and prosthetics for performing and concealing identity as a means for survival. These visions of survival, however, are not necessarily desirable. They span the utopian and dystopian; they are hopeful yet also dark and pessimistic.
Special thanks to all of the artists for their contributions and to our partners: Afroflux, Afro_Futures UK, The Afrofuturist Affair, Black Kirby, NubiaMancy, Kaos Network, Blerd City, Octavia Butler Legacy Network, Zion Network, and New York Live Arts. For more artworks, visit www.bsam-art.com and @bsamstl on Instagram.