All posts by Aker

Owner of Futuristically Ancient. Literary Director at Queens Book Festival. Writer. Poet. Afrofuturistic Mythologist. Afro-Caribbean in Queens. Life Explorer. Contact me: futureancientblog [at] gmail [dot] com

The M(N)STRY: The Arkive


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Thoth and His wife Seshat, a fellow scribe and The Mistress of the House of Books (aka the Patroness of Libraries/All Writing and Architects)

The Arch. The Ark. The Archive. The Arcane. The Archon. The Architect. The Archangel. The ArchAndroid.

The Chief Holder of a Culture’s Knowledge for Future Recollection.

The Cybernetic Helms(wo)man of the Ship Sailing to a New Horizon.

Last weekend, I attended Summoning the Archive at NYU. Attending it inspired me to think of the “archive” in relation to communities of color and Afrofuturism. A few archivists/librarians/curators of color have existed in speculative fiction. For example, remember the bluesman Peter Wheatstraw from Ellison’s Invisible Man who carried discarded blueprints in his cart? How about Akomfrah’s data thief in the Last Angel of History? Or the Puerto-Rican librarian at Columbia University, Nydia Ochoa, who helps Sierra (breaking the rules of the institution as Sierra is not a student) find out more about her cultural heritage in Daniel Jose Older’s Shadowshaper? Or Wanuri Kahiu’s Pumzi, which follows a museum curator who braves the outside world because of her dreams that life can exist out there?

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M.G. Recap: BSAM Futurismo 2017!


So as you know a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be part of the Black Speculative Arts Movement Conference, #BSAMFuturismo2017, at the Bronx Museum of Arts! Well, let me share with you some of the highlights from the day!

*Aesthetics and Actions in Afrofuturism/Black Speculative Thought:

Before I get to the above topic, I wanted to share this film that I had the chance to see — Òrun Aiyê, which was directed by Jamile Coelho and written by Cintia Maria. It is  a stop-motion animated film  that tells a candomble version of the Yoruba creation story.

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Astro-Caribbean: Zak Ove


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Nubian Return by Zak Ove (Source: Arc Magazine)

Since tomorrow I will be moderating the Astro-Caribbean panel, Midnight Robber Chronicles, which was inspired by Nalo Hopkinson’s speculative novel Midnight Robber, I thought I’d share an a British artist whose work centers on exploring the significance of Caribbean carnival.

 

According to Trinidadian/Irish- British artist Zak Ove, Caribbean carnival, especially those in Trinidad, started as a mockery of European colonialists, but then became a declaration of “we can be anything” and “not just what we’ve been duped” into believing we are by these colonialists. It became an investigation through transfigurement and costume into all kinds of mythologies and into a sense of Africanism that had been subdued and suppressed through slavery.

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M.G. Spotlight: Genius Is Common


I was reading Albert Camus’s famous lecture, “Create Dangerously,” when I came across this sentence: “A man’s obedience to his own genius,” Emerson says magnificently, “is faith in its purest form.”

Bruce George, originally of Def Poetry Jam, has led the way for a new movement called Genius Is Common.

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The M(N)STRY: Black Girls and Fugitivity


Remember this song from Ludacris and Mary J. Blige? “Runaway Love” came to my mind last week when the stories of the Missing DC girls started to spread throughout media. One particular story highlighted a young girl who ran away because she felt mistreated in foster family.

Much too often the mistreatment of young black girls are ignored and neglected. Black girls stories go untold. Society, including black culture does not see them as being as much in harm’s way as young black boys. But young black girls are in danger too, including suffering from the risk of sexual assault committed by grown men, boys and even authority figures, abusive and neglectful families, and also receiving higher rates of suspension, expulsion and harsher punishment from schools and police than their white counterparts. For example, this story of Ashlynn Avery, who was attacked by her suspension supervisor for falling asleep in class and then violently arrested.

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Moving on the Wires: BSAM in the Bronx


 

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Art by Will Focus

I am happy to announce that I will be moderating a panel Black Speculative Arts Movements conference on April 22nd at the Bronx Museum of Arts. The panel is the first in the Astro-Caribbean series.

According to the founders of BSAM, “Black Speculative Arts Movement, aka BsaM, is an annual Afrofuturism, black comics, and arts convention held at multiple colleges and universities throughout the United States. BSAM encompasses different positions or basis of inquiry: Afrofuturism, Astro Blackness, Afro-Surrealism, Ethno Gothic, Black Digital Humanities, Black (Afro-future female or African Centered) Science Fiction, The Black Fantastic, Magical Realism, and The Esoteric.

Our annual conventions, co-founded by associate professor and chair of the Humanities department at Harris-Stowe State University, Reynaldo Anderson, and founder of Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts – MECCA, Maia Crown Williams, will include vending from a vast amount of comics, art, and artisan creators and vendors, live performances, a full international film festival via MECCAcon, afrofuturism, social activism, and comic centered seminars, classes, hand on workshops, plays, and much more. Students are also welcome to submit proposals to participate as well. We also heavily encourage schools to attend in groups.”

This conference is named #BSAMfuturismo2017 and you can buy tickets here. Read below the panel description and the panelists who will be joining me!

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The M(N)STRY: Butler’s Kindred — Possession, Objectification and Whose Gaze Controls Black Futurity


51svc6qifblRecently I received a copy of Octavia Butler’s Kindred graphic novel, which was adapted by Damien Duffy and John Jennings. Reading the story in graphic novel form gave me a chance to see aspects of the book that I didn’t pay as much attention to as before. One was the mechanism by which Dana traveled back in time. On her second trip back to the past, Rufus mentions to Dana that he had seen her in the water right before she came traveled back to the past to rescue him. Rufus tells Dana that he saw her with his eyes closed and that he had stepped into a “hole” in the river where he saw her in a room full of books. He also heard both Dana and Kevin before the second time Dana came back. Rufus, although problematic, has inklings of visionary insight, but does he because of his connection to his future legacy in Dana (Rufus only has black descendants as he only had children with Alice) or because he was at the edge of imagining a different society but the slaveholding, racist, sexist, generally oppressive society around him impeded that?

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