To convene a space and a time for verbalising the letter and the spirit of Octavia Butler’s dangerous visions. The aspiration to hold open a time and a space to think with Octavia Butler is what animates the idea of DXG: Dept. of Xenogenesis. Think of DXG as a space-time for taking the time and the space to think with the idea of xenogenesis formulated by Octavia Butler in 1987 that runs throughout her oeuvre from Patternmaster in 1971, Kindred, 1979, Wild Seed 1980, the short story Bloodchild, 1984, the Xenogenesis Trilogy of Dawn 1987, Adulthood Rites, 1988, and Imago, 1989 to Parable of the Sower, 1993, Parable of the Talents, 1998 and Fledgling, in 2005.
Think of DXG as a time-space convened by Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar of the Otolith Collective to register the forms of epistemic shock specific to the science fictions of Octavia Butler. A way of hosting a space-time for co-creating a consciousness of the methods developed by Octavia Butler for suspending disbelief in the worlds that she built. Butler’s speculative fictions provide us with thought experiments for thinking otherwise. Experiments in thinking otherwise that continue to draw generations of cultural workers, musicians, artists, theorists and activists to her novels.
On 13 March 2022, DXG convenes a conversation around the writing of Octavia Butler with academic, theorist and artist Denise Ferreira da Silva. A conversation that thinks with Ferreira da Silva’s ongoing engagement with Octavia Butler’s fictions.
In Towards a Black Feminist Poethics: The Quest(ion) of Blackness Towards the End of the World in 2014 and Accumulation, Dispossession, and Debt: The Racial Logic of Global Capitalism - An Introduction, with Paula Chakravartty in 2012, the figures of Dana in Kindred, 1979, Anyanwu in Wild Seed, 1980, and Lauren Olamina in Parable of the Sower, 1993, serve Ferreira da Silva as ‘guides for our ‘imaging of political existence’.
Join us to discuss the ways in which Butler’s science fiction enables Denise Ferreira da Silva to imagine the philosophy, the poetry and the ethics of black feminist poethics.
Denise Ferreira da Silva is a Professor and Director of the Social Justice Institute-GRSJ at the University of British Columbia. Her books include Toward a Global Idea of Race (2007), A Dívida Impagavel (2019), Unpayable Debt (2022) and co-editor (with Paula Chakravartty) of Race, Empire, and the Crisis of the Subprime (2013). Her several articles have been published in leading interdisciplinary journals, such as Social Text, Theory, Culture & Society, PhiloSOPHIA, Griffith Law Review, Theory & Event, The Black Scholar, to name a few. Her artistic works includes the films Serpent Rain (2016), 4Waters-Deep Implicancy (2018), Soot Breath/Corpus Infinitum (2020), in collaboration with Arjuna Neuman; and the relational art practices Poethical Readings and Sensing Salon, in collaboration with Valentina Desideri.
The Otolith Collective
Since 2002, Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar of The Otolith Collective have engaged in the conception, creation and convening of platforms that make public the research that informs their artistic, theoretical and curatorial practice. Throughout this practice runs a precoccupation with shifting the decolonial form of the essayistic towards an idea of science fiction conceived as a method for investigating the present. From this aesthetico-political process emerges a practice of platforming, a practice of platform-making that draws attention to the urgency of the present in all of its provincial, provisional, prospective and planetary dimensions. It is the urgency of the Now that animates the Collective’s platforming of the work of Chris Marker, Harun Farocki, Anand Patwardhan, Etel Adnan, Fred Moten, Eyal Sivan, Black Audio Film Collective, Peter Watkins, Sue Clayton, Mark Fisher and Justin Barton, Silvia Maglioni & Graeme Thomson, Lamia Joreige, Naeem Mohaiemen, Chimurenga Library, Emma Wolukau-Wanamba, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Lungiswa Gqunta, Tony Cokes, Rania Stephan, Ayo Akingbade, Rehana Zaman and Onyeka Igwe throughout and beyond the UK. What unites the Collective’s pratice of platforming is the necessity to bring viewers face to face with the threat of images and the unnameability of sounds so as to create the conditions for intervention in the colonised times and racialised spaces of our catastrophic present.