In collaboration with LUX Online
To take Octavia Butler’s fiction seriously requires us to devote time and space to dwell on the images of thought advanced throughout her novels. 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. An idea that runs throughout her oeuvre from Patternmaster in 1971 to Fledglingin 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.
On 13 February 2022, DXG convenes a conversation around the writing of Octavia Butler with academic, poet and theorist Fred Moten. A conversation that spirals around the following sentence from consent not to be a single being: Stolen Life in 2018:
The generative breaks into the normative discourses that it found(ed). They weren’t there until it got there, as some changes made to previous insistence, which means first things aren’t first: Zo just wants to travel, to cities. Do you want some? Can I have some? (Octavia Butler might have called it the oncological difference; she sounds disposession as our xenogenetic gift; migrating out from the outside, always leaving without origin.)
Fred Moten works in the Departments of Performance Studies and Comparative Literature at New York University. His latest book, written with Stefano Harney, is All Incomplete (Minor Compositions/Autonomedia, 2021).
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.