Black Quantum Futurism, Black Space Agency, 2018
By creating temporal complications and anachronistic episodes that disturb the linear time of progress, [Black futurist imaginaries] adjust the temporal logistics that condemned Black subjects to prehistory.
– Kodwo Eshun (The Otolith Group), CR: The New Centennial Review, 2003
Writing on Black futurist imaginaries and the relationship between politics and time, Rasheedah Phillips (Black Quantum Futurism) argues that to change the linear fatalistic future to which Black people have been told they do not belong, Black people have forcefully had to fight for space on the collective timeline. Phillips writes that simultaneous to the advancements in technology, science and economics that would come to forge our present-day notions of linear time and the future, one can trace the significant events on the timeline of colonisation of the African continent, the TransAtlantic slave trade, slavery in the North and South Americas and beyond, and the continuing aftermath of systemic racism and structural inequities.
Discussing their artistic practices and Black futurist imaginaries, artists Black Quantum Futurism and The Otolith Group explore how civil rights and Black liberation movements have always needed to reappropriate notions of time and temporality that hacked dominant Western linear time. In this discussion, the artists explore the need to fundamentally revolutionise the way we approach time so as to fully part with its colonial linearity.
The Otolith Group was founded in 2002 and consists of Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun who live and work in London. During their longstanding collaboration, Sagar and Eshun have drawn from a wide range of resources and materials. Their work is research-based and spans the moving image, audio, performance, installation and curation, incorporating filmmaking and post-lens-based essayistic aesthetics that explore the temporal anomalies, anthropic inversions and synthetic alienation of the posthuman, the inhuman, the non-human and the complexity of the environmental conditions of life we all face. The Otolith Group has exhibited internationally and currently has a solo show at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. In 2010, The Otolith Group was nominated for the Turner Prize.