June 8, 2021
Event, Exhibition Programming
This presentation considers the possibilities for what Brown calls an Afro-Speculative method, a way of thinking outside the realm of what we call ‘reality.’ Afro-Speculation is a fair response to the apocalypse of the everyday, the fantastical obscenity of this world for black people, which, if looked at directly and/or experienced for too long, can easily appear as hallucination. This method requires a complete break with time as we know it, an entirely new paradigm. But rather than postponing to a ‘then and there,’ Brown argues for a spatial/temporal fold within the here and now. Drawing from her recent book, Black Utopias: Speculative Life and the Music of Other Worlds, and a selection of science fictionally cadenced art, Brown suggests that we see and feel our way into an altogether different space and time, not discoverable along a human timeline.
Jayna Brown is professor in the Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt Institute. She earned her PhD in American Studies at Yale University. As well as numerous essays, Brown is the author of two books, both published by Duke University Press: Babylon Girls: Black Women Performers and the Shaping of the Modern and her most recent, Black Utopias: Speculative Life and the Music of Other Worlds. Brown is co-editor of the journal Social Text and has also been a contributing journalist for NPR’s music programming. Her areas of research and specialization include, music, speculative fictions, black expressive cultures, black queer and feminist studies, and our changing media landscape.