Occupy Space taps into other-worldly imaginaries to address the social reality of Canadian diversity. The creators of the works featured in this exhibition move in from the margins to occupy speculative realms of popular culture – where the politics of inclusion remain contested.
The exhibition is grounded in Afrofuturism, which began in the ‘60s as a musical and literary genre that merges modern technology, African roots and futuristic imagery. By allegorically linking space travel with the forced migration of Africans slaves, Afrofuturism provides a platform to imagine alternative narratives of black identity that are empowered and self-determined.
A constellation of ethnically diverse and Indigenous futurisms have recently emerged to address similar themes of cultural alienation and reclamation. These narratives reject the idea of a compulsory black, Indigenous, or ethnic identity relegated to a historical past. By using visionary fiction as a blueprint for cosmic liberation, these futurisms are revolutionary acts of resistance to the whitewashing of western media. The impulse is no different from the current widespread use of Occupy Movement’s imperative to “take up space” on sites of tension to demand change.