‘Superpower: Africa in Science Fiction’ at Bristol’s Arnolfini

An exhibit at the Arnolfini in Bristol has been exploring how Africa is expressed in science fiction with films, photography, visual art, and other media.  The exhibit’s stated aim is to explore the “recent tendency for artists and filmmakers to apply the forms and concerns of science fiction to narratives situated in the African continent.”

Since being tipped off by Africa Is A Country’s great coverage, I’ve been working on schemes to get to the southwest of England, where the exhibit is running until July the 4th.  My schemes have not panned out, so I’ve scrounged up what I can on the internet about the exhibit.

For everyone else not in Bristol, here’s a bit of what there is to share about the exhibit.  The individual parts of the exhibit (like Kiluanji Kia Henda’s photos from Icarus 13, pictured above) are referenced in the content of the following pieces:

  • Notes From the Sun: Representations of Africa in Science Fiction, the exhibition book put together by Nav Haq and Al Cameron. The phrase ‘future as disruption,’ invoked by Haq & Cameron to explore how science fiction causes an examination of the present, has been floating around in my head since reading their essay.
  • Curating Superpower: Africa in Science Fiction, a great interview with curators Nav Haq and Al Cameron in the aforementioned blog Africa Is A Country.  I enjoyed the section plotting the similarities and divergences of African Science Fiction and Afro-Futurism.
  • Africa as Science Fiction, also in AIAC, that works through some of the exhibit’s pieces, including this 1976 conversation (testing out early U.S. Department of Defense instant messaging technology (?!)) with Steven Biko, Samir Amin, Francis Fukuyama, and Minoru Yamasaki about the Soweto Riots.
  • Luis Dourado’s  maps, who’s cut/put back together maps of Africa are part of the exhibit.
  • And here’s the trailer for Wanuri Kahui’s Pumzi – a great short science fiction film, and part of Focus Feature’s Africa First project:

About BFC/A

The Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University was established in 1981 as the first archival repository dedicated to collecting, preserving, and making available historically and culturally significant films by and about black people. The BFC/A's primary objectives are to promote scholarship on black film and to serve as an open resource for scholars, researchers, students, and the general public; to encourage creative film activity by independent black filmmakers; and to undertake and support research on the history, impact, theory, and aesthetics of black film traditions. View all posts by BFC/A

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