Location: Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery
Just Futures: Black Quantum Futurism, Arthur Jafa, and Martine Syms
Against the present’s seemingly endless backdrop of deep political unrest, environmental emergency, and racialized injustice, Just Futures highlights poignant creative experiments in futurity and justice, directed at emancipatory worlds-to-come. With artworks by Black Quantum Futurism, Arthur Jafa, and Martine Syms, Just Futures considers how time itself is a site of struggle and a horizon of liberation. Far from homogenous, inherently progressive, or equitable, dominant time expresses the 24/7 chronologies of capital, long synchronized to racialized, gendered violence and oppression. The seemingly endless meter of production encloses people in temporal holds, defuturing communities, and imposing time-traps of debt and deadlines.
The artworks included in Just Futures powerfully reveal and challenge such temporality, including its seeming fixity and policed regimentation. In doing so, they build on the critical resources of Afrofuturisms of decades past—experiments in sonic and visual futurity that draw together Afro-diasporic cultures of creativity and the chronopolitics of coming liberation. Expanding horizons of the possible, the artists presented in Just Futures reveal new singular experiments in time travel. They cultivate space agency that dismantle the “Master's Clock[work Universe]” (Black Quantum Futurism); present a stunning cinematic exploration of African-American image archives opposing police brutality with scenes of freedom dreams and anti-racist struggle (Arthur Jafa); and offer a “Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto” contesting the entire edifice of racial capitalism (Martine Syms). Each inclusion provokes compelling and urgent recalibrations of justice and futurity.