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Everything You Need To Know About Black Quantum Futurism

Black Quantum Futurism is an interdisciplinary creative practice founded by Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips in 2014. It articulates quantum physics, afrofuturism, and cyberfeminism in order to invent practical ways to escape western temporal loops, and the hegemonic digital matrix.
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ShadowGrams 1, 2018 Courtesy of Black Quantum Futurism

To the extent that Einstein and his theory of relativity coupled time with space and created spacetime, Black Quantum Futurism is seeking to explore that coupling and decoupling through that same exploration. White men have conquered both time and space and then said they were the same thing, and what that has meant for Black people is a colonization of the temporal space of the future and the future of man in the universe. Black Quantum Futurism reappropriates clocks and maps to deconstruct hegemonic western spacetimes and dismantle the master’s clocks. We create maps that embrace the inherent tensions between space and time and that provide opportunities for the reconfiguration of the same.

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Our practice includes quantum event maps, housing journey maps, sonic mapping, and communal memory mapping. The quantum event map mimics African and Asian diasporic cultural practices and perspectives on time and space, bringing together the micro (or quantum) events that like to “happen in time together” to construct future moments/events or re-examine past moments/events as individuals or as groups and communities. Through this method of mapping, event memory (both future and past memory) is not attached to a specific calendar date or clock time, and memories are not formed in regard to a specific date or time. Rather, time and date are made a part of the memory, so it is embedded or weaved in and controllable in future memory. The date or time of your choosing is embedded in the map as a part of your memory, which means you can forecast or backcast events. Time becomes something remembered, not something that defines and predates the memory. The quantum event map- maker becomes the active agent in the synchronicity/focal point, instead of time being the active agent defining the synchronicity.

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Left: The Telescoping Effect Pt 1 (2017) by Black Quantum Futurism. Right: Red Summer 1919 Cosmogram (2017) by Black Quantum Futurism 2019. Photo by D1L0 DeMille

In our workshops, we have groups creating communal quantum event maps that allow them to struggle through the ways in which a community constructs communal time around a past, future, or present event, composed of diverse and intersecting temporal rhythms and other event textures and features. Personal quantum event maps help mapmakers revisit personal pasts to encounter new features of a past event, plan and create personal futures, or explore and recontextualize personal “nows.”

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The Temporal Disruptors Digital Collage (2018) by Black Quantum Futurism

Extract from ‘Placing Time, Timing Space: Dismantling the Master’s Map and Clock’ by Rasheedah Phillips, first published in The Funambulist

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