Episode 5: Our Futures Past
Can we imagine different, more caring futures?
In this episode, we explore collective imaginations of the past and future, and different cultural understandings of time. Connecting our heritage, actions and legacies, how can we create a caring world for generations to come?
The guests are Afrofuturist writer, filmmaker, dancer and thinker Ytasha Womack in conversation with public philosopher Roman Krznaric; artist, writer, curator, researcher and pleasure activist Ama Josephine Budge; and Māori musician, artist and practitioner Jerome Kavanagh.
Join Afrofuturist writer, filmmaker, dancer and thinker Ytasha Womack, author of Afro-futurism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture, in conversation with public philosopher Roman Krznaric, author of The Good Ancestor: How to think long term in a short-term world, to consider what it means to be a good ancestor, whether our brains are built for long-term thinking and the importance of re-examining the past to imagine different and better futures.
Artist, writer, curator, researcher and pleasure activist Ama Josephine Budge shares extracts from No Home Left Behind, a piece of speculative fiction about a sentient home standing over swelling waters. The work imagines futures of care in the midst of a climate crisis, drawing on erased pasts, archives and embodied memories.
Māori musician, artist and practitioner Jerome Kavanagh from Aotearoa New Zealand, shares a sound healing experience, using Taonga pūoro instruments that reflect the sound of the natural environment from the mountains to the sea as tools to heal and promote a healthy body, mind and spirit. Taonga Puro holds the vibration of the natural world and when played this vibration resonates within us and helps to trace our genealogy through our matriarchal line and reconnect to the intelligence and power of nature.
A BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Wellcome Collection collaboration. Presented by Nwando Ebizie. Music by Nkisi. Sound by Axel Kacoutié. A Reduced Listening Production, produced by Georgia Moodie and exec produced by Alannah Chance.
Afro-futurism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture by Ytasha Womack is published by Lawrence Hill Books.
The Good Ancestor: How to think long term in a short-term world by Roman Krznaric is published by WH Allen.
No Home Left Behind by Ama Josephine Budge, was commissioned by The Architectural Review, and you’ll find a link to the full story on their website.
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Episode 5 Show Notes
Join writer Emma Dabiri for the BBC Radio 4 programme Journeys Into Afrofuturism which explores Afrofuturism in the arts and music and asks whether Afrofuturism has found a particular home among black British musicians, talking to artists such as Gaika, DJ, musician and producer A Guy Called Gerald and filmmaker Jenn Nkiru.
For the Aymara people living in the Andes, the past lies ahead and the future lies behind. Laura Spinney looks at how different languages reflect, and shape, our conception of time here How time flies | Science
Consider easy ways that we can expand our time horizon at The Good Ancestor which includes cartoons, graphics and other resources on long-term thinking.
Our descendants own the future, but the decisions and actions we make now will tremendously impact generations to come. Roman Krznaric discusses How to Be a Good Ancestor and joining a movement redefining lifespans, pursuing intergenerational justice and practicing deep love for the planet.
During a time of many social, political and environmental apocalypses, could we read enough to shape a new future? Apocalypse Reading Room is an on-site library curated by Ama Josephine Budge: ‘a world of talking stories in the face of environmental and social collapse, a gathering of all the books we might need to change the end of the world’.
Explore the work of our host Nwando Ebizie, a constellation point for a spectrum of multidisciplinary works that call for RADICAL change. She challenges her audience to question their perceived realities through art personas, experimental theatre, neuroscience, music and African diasporic ritualistic dance. Carving out her own particular strand of Afrofuturism, she combines research into the neuroscience of perception (inspired by her own neurodiversity) and an obsession with science fiction with a ritualistic live art practice.
Ytasha L. Womack is a critically acclaimed author, filmmaker, dancer and independent scholar, and tours the world championing Afrofuturism, humanity and the imagination. Her book Afro-futurism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture (2013) is the leading primer on the exciting subject which bridges science fiction, futurisms, and culture. She has published widely, including the Rayla 2212 and Eartha 2198 book series’, Rayla 2213 (2016), Post Black: How a New Generation is Refining African American Identity (2010), and Beats, Rhymes and Life: What We Love & Hate About Hip Hop (2007). She has published essays in the anthologies Black Quantum Futurism: Space Time Collapse, Artists Against Police Brutality and the short Afrofuturist Prince ode For Digital Girls Who Drink Tonic Water When Purple Rain isn't Enough. Her films include A Love Letter to the Ancestors From Chicago (2017), an Afrofuturist dance film, and Bar Star City (www.barstarcity.com), currently in development. Other films include the romantic comedy Couples Night (2018/screenwriter), The Engagement (Director), and Love Shorts (Producer/Writer). She was co-producer for the documentary Tupac: Before I Wake and appeared on E True Hollywood Story: Rappers Wives documentary as a guest commentator. Former editor-at-large for Upscale Magazine and former reporter/columnist for the Chicago Defender, she guest edits for NV Magazine and her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Ebony, Essence, VIBE, and more. Womack also leads youth dance programs and cultivated an Afrofuturism dance therapy program for teens and adults. She teaches the program each summer through After School Matters in Chicago.
Roman Krznaric is a public philosopher who writes about the power of ideas to change society. His latest book is The Good Ancestor: How to Think Long Term in a Short Term World (the book is currently being translated into Japanese by the Buddhist monk and author Shoukei Matsumoto.) His previous international bestselling books, including Empathy, The Wonderbox and Carpe Diem Regained, have been published in more than 20 languages. After growing up in Sydney and Hong Kong, Roman studied at the universities of Oxford, London and Essex, where he gained his PhD in political sociology. He later taught sociology and politics at Cambridge University and City University, London. He is founder of the world’s first Empathy Museum and is currently a Research Fellow of the Long Now Foundation. Roman has been named by The Observer as one of Britain’s leading popular philosophers. His writings have been widely influential amongst political and ecological campaigners, education reformers, social entrepreneurs and designers. An acclaimed public speaker, his talks and workshops have taken him from a London prison to the TED global stage.
Ama Josephine Budge is a Speculative Writer, Artist, Curator and Pleasure Activist whose praxis navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology and feminism, working to activate movements that catalyse human rights, environmental evolutions and troublesomely queered identities. Ama’s fiction has been published internationally including by Anathema Spec from the Margins, The Architectural Review, The Feminist Review, Consented Magazine and more. She is working on her first book: a speculative duology. Ama is the recipient of the 2020 Local, International and Planetary Fictions Fellowship with Curatorial Frame (Helsinki) and EVA International (Limerick). Her research for this fellowship: Pleasurable Ecologies – Formations of Care: Curation as Future-building is an in-depth exploration of decolonial and intersectional curatorial care practices. She is also the current Keith Haring Fellow in Art and Activism at Bard College in Upstate New York. Ama is a member of Queer Ecologies Collective and initiator of the Apocalypse Reading Room project.
Jerome Kavanagh (Poutama) is a Grammy award winning featured soloist and Maori musical instrument specialist hailing from the Mokai Patea, Maniapoto, Kahungunu tribes (Maori) and the Caomhanach clan (Irish). He was first introduced to the sound of Taonga Puoro at age 16 by one of his aunties. A family owned Koauau (Maori cross blown flute) was the first instrument he recalls learning to play. Maintaining his strong roots, Jerome has become part of a movement introducing Maori music, art and culture to the world. Over his career he has performed/recorded with artists from a variety of different genres which range from Hip Hop to Classical. His collaborations include The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (UK), Moana and the Tribe, Daniel Beddingfield, Hayley Westenra, Joler Gaan, Kevin Mark Trail "The Streets", and two times Grammy award winning composer Christopher Tin. He is a featured solo artist and lyricist on two time Grammy award winning album Calling All Dawns (2011) in Kia Hora te Marino (May peace be widespread). He has performed at Carnegie Hall, The Lincoln Center, Sydney Opera house with his band HuiA, The British Museum, Te Papa Tongarewa National Museum, as guest artist at Pasifika festival (2016) and was a selected member of the New Zealand Art Delegation at the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in the Solomon Islands. He is a band member of International Indigenous music collective Small Island Big Song and is a composer and recording artist for The Deadland series. Jerome is one of New Zealand’s most active Taonga Puoro workshop providers and tours his interactive live show globally. He shares his ORO ATUA Puoro Maori sound healing events and clinics worldwide reviving the practises of healing through traditional Maori musical instruments.