Patrick Henderson, School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies, gives this lecture on ‘Underground resistance – afrofuturism and the technonarrative of blackness’.
This lecture will explore the utilisation of the aesthetic of Afrofuturism within the visual, aural, and literary culture of Detroit Techno group Underground Resistance.
Coining the term in 1994, Mark Dery defined Afrofuturism as “speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of twentieth-century technoculture.” Essentially, the aesthetic seeks to reformulate the traditional hegemonic dichotomy between ‘primitive’ blackness and ‘progressive’ whiteness. In a similar way, Underground Resistance created a mythology that places blackness within contemporary technonarratives. For instance, the mythology of the subaquatic duo Drexciya, mutant offspring of stillborn slave children thrown overboard during the Middle Passage, relocate slavery as a potential source of empowerment for African Americans within a futuristic framework.
This lecture will argue that in reforming the past, Underground Resistance are able to transform the present and future for the black diaspora. It will explore how the group, rather than disavow the importance of race in identity formation, reformulate it in radical new frameworks.
As a musical genre that has not received much academic exposure, it is important to explore the ways in which Underground Resistance approach issues of race and identity formation within the black diaspora.
Admission free, all welcome.
Art by Adam Roush