Black Radical Imagination invokes a futurist aesthetic where artists identify themselves and reclaim their own unique stories. The visual pieces delve into the worlds of video art, experimental film, and narrative shorts. The program features seven films and the artists contribute their own vision of a free-changing world in a post-modern society through focused observations that explore the state of black culture.

Afronauts by Cristina De Middel (Spain, 2012, 5 min.). In 1964, still living the dream of recently gained independence, Zambia started a space program that would put the first African on the moon catching up to the USA and the Soviet Union in the space race. This ambitious program was the brainchild of schoolteacher Edward Makuka, who was also responsible for getting the necessary funding. Only a few optimists supported the project, and financial aid never came; the United Nations declined their support, and one of the astronauts, a 16 year-old girl, got pregnant and had to quit.

Reifying Desire 2 by Jacolby Satterwhite (US, 2012, 9 min.). The second installment in a six-part series, Reifying Desire 2 is a surrealist creation myth that stems from Satterwhite’s ongoing collaboration with his mother. He writes: “Reifying Desire 1-6 will use 230 3-D modeled versions of my mother’s drawings, my body, and animated figures. The intersection of the disparate disciplines including dance performance, drawing, and digital media acts as an exquisite corpse strategy for guiding the storyline.”

Mae’s Journal by Amir George (US, 2012, 12 min.). Mae’s Journal is a chronicle of the historic space mission of Mae Jemison in 1992. Through six fictional journal entries Mae’s journey is recreated through live action reenactments and actual footage of the STS-47 voyage.

Split Ends, I Feel Wonderful by Akosua Adoma Owusu (US, 2012, 5 min.). Eccentric hairstyles reveal the roots of Afro hair in which activist Angela Davis becomes involved. Manipulating and re-positioning found footage as subject matter, the film observes the latest fad in hairstyles of the 1970s among African Americans in New York City. It takes us to the time of “Black is Beautiful” and to a symbol of African pride.

The Changing Same by Cauleen Smith (US, 2001, 9 min.). An alien is sent to earth to investigate the “incubators.” She discovers that she is replacing a rogue agent and starts to question her mission as relationships become intimate.

Quiescence Interrupted… Adumbrate by Anansi Knowbody (US, 2013, 6 min.). Buddah is a regular guy with very irregular dreams that some might perceive as nightmares… The intent is to play on the ideas of distraction, disruption, fear, and premonition… the relativity of dream. The hope is to generate interest through technique and mystery.

Golden Chain by Adebukola Bodunrin & Ezra Clayton Daniels (US, 2013, 6 min.). The African Woman: mother of civilization, yet a historically overlooked member of contemporary global society. She finds herself now in a distant, not-impossible future. A Nigerian space station in a remote nook of the solar system orbits a pinpoint of matter so dense it cannot exist on Earth. It is a recreation of the birth of the universe itself, contained for the purpose of study, and overseen by Yetunde, chief science engineer on the space station Eko. Blending afro-futurist motifs with hard science fiction, the film creates a world at once fantastical, yet entirely plausible, in order to ask the question: “Where will we go, given where we came from?”

Discussion with curators Erin Christovale & Amir George, SMFA student Ximena Izquierdo Ugaz, and filmmaker Adebukola Bodunrin follows screening. Co-presented by the American Studies program at Tufts University.