INTERACTIVE PERFORMANCE - HYDE PARK ART CENTER - AFRO-FUTURISM COURSE
Audience-interactive performance by students of Spring 2010 inaugural course "Afro-Futurism: Pathways to Black Liberation" through Hyde Park Art Center's first- and second-floor galleries with guest alien flutist Nicole Mitchell
Inspired by District 9 and Dr. Seuss' "The Sneetches", students presented a multi-media sound, performance, costumed extravaganza investigating concepts of colonialism, power, what constitutes "alien" and "human", and black aesthetic concepts of performativity and interactivity rooted in the Black Arts Movement. Audience members were each given a star or blank circular sticker at the entrance; stars provided access to the overpass overlooking the enchanted forest setting, policed by militaristic, marching, tentacled "Overseers" who speak in an unintelligible noise like the aliens of District 9, their title a nod to the Overseer character who Sun Ra battles in Space Is The Place. Black-clad aliens in tire rubber headdresses--reminscent of Signourney Weaver's slimy nemesis--scamper about the space, darting behind trees before the Overseers' laser pointers can locate them. Upstairs, a baby alien and mother clad in a Wild Seed (Octavia Butler) headdress and blue alien (The Fifth Element) adire indigo tentacles.
Many thanks to Crystal Stephens at the Hyde Park Art Center, Nicole Mitchell, David Boykin for videography, Krista Franklin and Stephen Flemister for photos. Huge thanks to all of the amazing Spring 2010 students who traveled this first pathway into Afro-Futurism and liberation.