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(Extra)Terrestrial Currents: Ayesha Hameed, Black Atlantis: Plantationocene

Obsid­i­an Coast presents an online screen­ing of Ayesha Hameed’s Black Atlantis: Plan­ta­tionocene as part of (Extra)Terrestrial Currents.

20/07/20 – 02/08/20
Black Atlantis is a multi-part, live audio-visual essay that looks at possible afterlives of the Black Atlantic: in contemporary illegalized migration at sea, in oceanic environments, through Afrofuturistic dancefloors and soundsystems, and in outer space.

Black Atlantis combines two conversations - afrofuturism and the anthropocene. It takes as point of departure Drexciya, the late 20th century electronic music duo from Detroit, and their creation of a sonic, fictional world. Through liner notes and track titles, Drexciya take the Black Atlantic below the water with their imaginary of an Atlantis comprised of former slaves who have adapted to living underwater. This wetness brings to the table a sense of the haptic, the sensory, the bodily, and the epidermal. What below-the-water, and Atlantis brings back is the bottom of the sea, the volume of the water, the materiality of the space of the ocean, and other protagonists that inhabit the sea. Black Atlantis: the Plantationocene is the documentation of a live audio visual essay, or live powerpoint cinema. It asks: what is the relationship between climate change and plantation economies, and how might we begin to think of a watery plantationocene? It revolves around two islands: a former plantation in St George’s Parish in Barbados, and the port city of Port of Spain in Trinidad: visiting the heartland of one of the three stops of the triangular trade, and taking seriously Donna Haraway’s and Anna Tsing’s use of the term ‘plantationocene’ which connects the development of a plantation form of production to the beginning of the current geological era that we are in.

Ayesha Hameed lives in London, UK. Since 2014 Hameed’s multi-chapter project 'Black Atlantis' has looked at the Black Atlantic and its afterlives in contemporary illegalized migration at sea, in oceanic environments, through Afrofuturistic dancefloors and soundsystems and in outer space. Through videos, audio essays and performance lectures, she examines how to think through sound, image, water, violence and history as elements of an active archive; and time travel as an historical method. Recent exhibitions include Liverpool Biennale (2020), Gothenburg Biennale (2019), Lubumbashi Biennale (2019) and Dakar Biennale (2018). She is co-editor of 'Futures and Fictions' (Repeater 2017) and co-author of 'Visual Cultures as… Time Travel' (Sternberg forthcoming 2020). She is currently Co-Programme Leader of the PhD in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths University of London.


(Extra)Terrestrial Currents is an online programme of artist moving image, sound and text, presenting a screening programme with artists Thirza Cuthand, Ayesha Hameed, Evan Ifekoya and Himali Singh Soin, a commission by artist and composer Hannah Catherine Jones and a reading list by scholar Kathryn Yusoff.

(Extra)Terrestrial Currents thinks through a spectrum of human connection to land and bodies of water, the localities of which may hold within them histories of devastation as well as the potential for envisioning futures of care, recovery and liberation. While the violent effects of the European colonial project and capitalist extraction continue to unfold, in these visions stolen and polluted land is reclaimed and resuscitated, revolutionary love letters are transmitted along the ocean floor, the healing energy of the earth embraces the body, and spaces free from colonisation are discovered in tune with cosmic frequencies.

This programme is made possible by the Arts Council England COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
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