Artist Kameelah Rasheed and I had a conversation about our artistic process. For the most part, it was about the emancipatory potential of science fiction and haunting.
Over the course of several weeks, we exchanged email fragments, excerpts and other process notes. We talked about a time-traveling Harriet Tubman, redaction, productive haunting, chopping and screwing time, the archive as a site of power, and the possibilities of science fiction for marginalized communities.
I’ve been exploring science fiction and Afrofuturism as a way to reconcile some of my work around archiving, impossible futures/maps to imagined places, staged photographs, and site-specific installations. Mark Dery is always a go-to text. He writes,
“Hack this: Why do so few African-Americans write science fiction, a genre whose close encounters with the Other—the stranger in a strange land—would seem uniquely suited to the concerns of African-American novelists? Yet, to this writer’s knowledge, only Samuel R. Delany, Octavia Butler, Steve Barnes, and Charles Saunders have chosen to write within the genre conventions of SF. This is especially perplexing in light of the fact that African-Americans are, in a very real sense, the descendants of alien abductees. They inhabit a sci-fi nightmare in which unseen but no less impassable force fields of intolerance frustrate their movements; official histories undo what has been done to them; and technology, be it branding, forced sterilization, the Tuskegee experiment, or tasers, is too often brought to bear on black bodies.”
–Mark Dery, “Black to the Future: Interviews with Samuel R. Delany, Greg Tate, and Tricia Rose” (from Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture, 1994)
For more, read here