Sat, Sep 29 at noon | 90 minutes
Black to the Future: An Afrofuturism Seminar at OlioHouse
with Makeba Lavan
Recently, Afrofuturism, science/speculative fiction that centers people from the African Diaspora, has become a serious focus for popular inquiry. Since cultural critic Mark Dery coined the term in his seminal text Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture, the genre has exploded in popularity with writers and critics. This OlioHouse seminar will pair texts from Sheree R. Thomas’s anthology Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora with a wide range of musical selections and a screening of Marvel’s Black Panther in order to excavate and examine the origins and foundational framework of Afrofuturism (U.S.). In one of Dark Matter’s critical essays, "Why Blacks Should Read (and Write) Science Fiction", Charles R. Saunders writes that “the human imagination manifests itself in stories. These stories become legends, myths, the defining elements of a culture”. How do African American artists use their art to imagine and help create better futures? Afrofuturism allows African diasporic writers to imagine new and alternate cultural elements in hopes that these will take root in the collective consciousness and shift the cultural paradigm towards true citizenship and equity.
Reclaiming our Role: Ecology and Medicinal Plants
with Antonia Perez
Through the study of plants in the territories we live in we can further understand the geological and peoples history of the landscape, furthermore we must also acknowledge colonial history in order to understand our present. We will engage in this history and Afrofuturism through a hands-on experience with the plants near the Taconic Mountains. We will be learning to identify "native" and "non-native" plants of the Northeast and their medicinal properties. Each of these plants will help us to weave together a story of the past, present and future. How can plants help us to learn more about our own histories, understand the role we play in the ecology, and become more autonomous over our health?
A rough sketch of the day
12:00pm: Communal Lunch + Welcome to OlioHouse.
1:00pm - 3:00pm: Intro to Afrofuturism and a writing workshop with Makeba Lavan
3:30pm - 5:00pm: Plant identification hike with Antonia Perez
5:00pm - 6:45pm: Drinks & cooking of communal dinner
7:00pm - 9:45pm: Makeba will teach "Imagination and the Afrofuture Paradigm Shift" an intro to viewing Black Panther critically. Those staying until 10:15 will watch the movie and get a ride back to the train station.
If you choose not to stay the night, the two last trains back to the city leave at 8:15 & 10:15. If you do stay the night your rsvp includes Black Panther at night and yoga / meditation, breakfast, and a visit to the Wassaic Project art studios + gallery on Sunday.