The Centre for Afrofuturist Studies considers the futurity of black art

Based in Iowa City, the newly founded Centre for Afrofuturist Studies is a two-year artists-in-residency programme that examines blackness, art and technology.

Founded by poet and performance artist Anaïs Duplan, The Centre for Afrofuturist Studies (CAS) is a two-year programme that seeks to create workspaces for black artists to re-imagine new futures for marginalised people. The centre seeks to map the changes that technology will have on black futures, race and art.

During its first two-years, the centre will bring together various artists who work in future-focused black art. The two-year plan is not an indication that Duplan believes that the centre has a short lifespan; the current centre currently exists in its “prototypical form”. “After those two years are up, we’ll only expand further,” she told Little Village Mag.

CAS’ mission includes community engagement in the form of lectures, workshops, and exhibitions. According to their Kickstarter page the community program “seeks to engage both local Iowans and people across the world in a building conversation about the intersections of race, technology and the diaspora”.

The residency brings together artists who are interested in renegotiating singular notions of blackness that have developed over time, to present a more complex identity.

Kameelah Janan Rasheed, an archivist-cum-artist, Louis Chude-Sokei the author of The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics and Yulan Grant, a New York based multi-disciplinary artist are among the first artists creating at CAS.

“My hope for the future of the centre is that we would reach a certain level of 'normalcy' around discussing black lives and their futurity,” explains Duplan. “I want to create the space that makes it possible for people to talk about blackness(es) together, safely but adventurously.”