Curating the End of the World, Part II

By New York Live Arts

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.

Throne of the Stars, from AfroSamurai Cyclops series (2019) by ZiggZaggerZ the Bastard (cosplay), tobias c. van Veen (photographer)New York Live Arts

Untitled, from Homing Beacon series (2020) by Clinton R. Fluker, PhDNew York Live Arts

Arrival (2019) by ZiggZaggerZ the Bastard (cosplay), tobias c. van Veen (photographer)New York Live Arts

Untitled, from Homing Beacon series (2020) by Clinton R. Fluker, PhDNew York Live Arts

ALIENATIONS (LOST ALIEN CUT 03) (2020) by ZiggZaggerZ the BastardNew York Live Arts

Blending documentary techniques with surrealist and silent filmmaking, Alienations (Lost Alien Cut 03) captures the Afrofuturist cosplay of ZiggZaggerZ the Bastard. Alienations reflects upon the emptiness of being lost, whether in the crowd of pale humanity or within the supposed natural environment of an unfamiliar planet. Directed and scored by tobias c. van Veen, this excerpt is cut from the full short, LOST ALIEN.

Untitled (2020) by Kimberly Marie AshbyNew York Live Arts

Kimberly Marie Ashby is a Black and Native American, queer woman artist and activist who creates hand-cut collages through an Afrofuturist lens. She uses found materials to reflect marginalized people's ability to make marvels out of the scraps they are given.

She Who Holds Up The Sky (2015) by Walidah ImarishaNew York Live Arts

Earthseed (2019) by Kimberly Marie AshbyNew York Live Arts

Parable of the Seed (2017) by Walidah ImarishaNew York Live Arts

Black Woman's Ecstasy (2019) by Kimberly Marie AshbyNew York Live Arts

Untitled (2020) by lovenloopsNew York Live Arts

when our worlds change, we change also
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Sampling through sound is one way lovenloops bridges the Black past with the present and future. It is also a way of building a relationship with old and new archives of Black girlhood and feminist poetic knowledge and practices. "when our worlds change, we change also" was made after listening to a 1979 interview between Audre Lorde and Judy Simmons. From the artist: "Lorde mentions that there are so many distractions that turn us away from the deepness of feeling...and that her art is not separate from her living. During this time...as we also are approaching, living through, and curating the end of the world, I reflect on how we can continue to merge our art and our living, to continue the change as our world changes, to continue to be in coalition with the world."

NGL SNKF (2020) by Sherese FrancisNew York Live Arts

Inspired by the Black Audio Film Collective's experimental documentary, The Last Angel of History (1996), this piece constructs a visual, textual code using Sankofa, a Ghanaian symbol that translates to "go back and get it" in the Twi language. Sankofa organizes much of black diasporic thought, and artists of African descent have used the symbol to connect the black past to the black present. Departing from the symbol's Ghanain origins and reaching back to the roles and scrolls of debtera magician-healers in early Ethiopia, Sherese Francis sought to create a talismanic art piece that could be transported across the diasporic mind.

. U . S . (2019) by ReVerse BulletsNew York Live Arts

Juxtaposed against the syncopated chants and poetry of Amiri Baraka, this short-film-cum-music-video uses images from the 1930s silent film A Study in Negro Artists and other found footage to evoke the cyclical tradition of transmutation in diasporic artforms. The track appears on ReVerse Bullets' 2019 music release, "Stockholm Syndrome." ReVerse Bullets is a rotating lineup of filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists founded by filmmaker Jon-Carlos Evans in New York City in 2009.

Lean on Me (2020) by Shawanna DavisNew York Live Arts

“Lean on me” is commercial brand and influencer Shawanna Davis’s celebration of sisterhood. Borne from Black women centering self care, this image and the virtual space the artist cultivates during regular, live Instagram events provides comfort and community during quarantine.

Contraband (2017) by Zeal HarrisNew York Live Arts

A Prayer to Breksta (2020) by Sheree Renée ThomasNew York Live Arts

Land of the Wolves (2016) by Jordan JacksonNew York Live Arts

An animator and illustrator, Jordan Jackson creates work focused on Black spiritualism and confronting capitalism through the genre of science fiction. In this short animation set in a post-apocalyptic future, Anya, a young shaman, must battle a vicious clan of wolves in order to escape the Guarded Blood Forest.

Morning Mugshots I (2020) by Delita MartinNew York Live Arts

These “Morning Mugshots” relief prints are promotional ads for multimedia artist Delita Martin’s new IG TV program, virtual conversations with artists that take place over a mug of their favorite drinks. A sneak peek into select artists' personal and professional lives in isolation, the program and these placeholders reflect Delita's desire to celebrate artists during quarantine.

Morning Mugshots II (2020) by Delita MartinNew York Live Arts

Lovely Day (2020) by Edreys WajedNew York Live Arts

Edreys Wajed created this painting during a live virtual demonstration simultaneously hosted on Facebook and Instagram. Lovely Day is a tribute to the incomparable Bill Withers. In looking forward to us eventually making it out of the darkness, the painting echoes some of the eponymous lyrics: “Just one look at you, and I know it’s gonna be, a lovely day.”

Reality Scanner TM for Brown Bodies (2020) by Stefani CoxNew York Live Arts

"CT3" (2017) by Stacey RobinsonNew York Live Arts

Pain is an Illusion (2020) by Kinnara : Desi LaNew York Live Arts

This sound and video work was made solely using artificial intelligence technology. Instead of a mass of data, a limited amount of data was used and reused to create different sonic results despite deriving from the same data source.

Credits: Story

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. 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. The animated shorts, collages, photographs, poems, and sound pieces herein are otherworldly and fantastic. These visions, 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.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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