Future Perfect?


Reflections External installation in Second Life. Many of these textures are animated.

Afrofuturism is about knowledge. The simplicity of knowing truly, what love is.

Yesterday I woke up thinking about my vision for the future, more specifically what Utopia looks like and nothing specific came to mind except the color blue, a color that is rare in nature.  Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.  Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body.  Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness.  According to the Yoruba if you are one who is aware you are said to possess Itutu, which is almost impossible to translate it into English, but is similar to the concept of cool. It’s a mystical coolness. The color which is associated with Itutu is always blue.

Yoruba head

12th century Yoruba head.

Robert Farris Thompson of Yale asserts that Itutu is the origin of American cool. His 1973 article An Aesthetic of the Cool traces Itutu from the Yoruba to several other African civilizations and finally to the Americas, where the descendants of Africans perpetuate the importance of being cool.

Itutu is part of my Utopia where many of the past and present infrastructures, or social constructs have been destroyed, or have fallen into ruins. The prisons of our present have gone and what is left is vast amounts possibility…for ALL people. Whereas blue signifies consciousness (blackness) or ancestral inheritance I can imagine specific futuristic scenarios in perceptually immersive 3D space and I decided to exploring these ideas via Second Life, a virtual 3D world.

Alternate Futures: Afrofuturist Multiverses and Beyond is a collection of virtual 3D visions that presupposes a sustained black culture — past, present, and future.  It contains fragments of imagery and sounds that are cosmic, utopian, and dystopian.


Another view of Reflections External.

Twentieth-century identities no longer presuppose continuous cultures or traditions. Everywhere individuals and groups improvise local performances from (re)collected pasts, drawing on foreign media, symbols, and languages. This existence among fragments has often been portrayed as a process of ruin and cultural decay (Clifford 1988: 14). re: The Cosmic-Myth Equations of Sun Ra


One fragment is an artist's rendering of Sirius which is where the Dogon people say they come from.

What visitors will see in my Second Life installation, Reflections External, are static and moving fragments from African art, science/technology, history & mythology. From Ndebele-inspired art to binary numbers & cosmic imagery, this installation calls upon a vast collection of images & ideas (knowledge). Each of these elements are not discrete, but are related to many of the other elements from the Afrofuturist aesthetic. It’s not a perfect future but a more inclusive one, indeed.

One part of an equation

Is a blueprint/declaration of the other part


Yet differentially not. . .

It is nothing

If it is all

Still there are different alls

The end is all

But all is everything

Yet if everything is all/the end

It denies the other side of the end

For some ends

Have many points leading to their respective selves

And there are/is each/their many points

Leading out from their

Respective selves

(Sun Ra 1985).

Note: Alternate Futures will officially open to the public this week on the IBM-sponsored exhibition simulation in Second Life.  Stay tuned!

One Response to “Future Perfect?”

  1. November 4th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Put a Square on Another Square, Then Rotate It | Renegade Futurism says:

    […] I once wrote, Afrofuturism is about knowledge. The simplicity of knowing truly, what love is. Reflections External in Second Life consisted of static and moving fragments from African art, science/technology, […]

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