2017 ~ Sunday April 23: ROAMING ASSEMBLY #13 ~ THE NAVIGATION PRINCIPLE: ‘Black Atlantis: The Plantationocene’ ~ by Ayesha Hameed
Black Atlantis: The Plantationocene
To begin with, Black Atlantis is a long-term investigation. Its several iterations take the form of a live audio-visual essay that looks at possible afterlives of the Black Atlantic: in illegal migration at sea today, in oceanic environments, through Afrofuturistic dance floors and sound systems, and in outer space. Black Atlantis combines two discourses: Afrofuturism and the Anthropocene. As a point of departure, it explores Drexciya, the late twentieth-century electronic music duo from Detroit, and their creation of a sonic, fictional world. Through liner notes and track titles, they take the Black Atlantic below the water with their imaginary of an Atlantis comprised of former slaves who have adapted to living underwater. This wetness brings a sense of the haptic, the sensory, the bodily, and the epidermal back to the table. What this ‘below-the-water’ and Atlantis bring back are the bottom of the sea, the volume of the water, the materiality of the space of the ocean, and the other protagonists that inhabit it. This contribution for the Navigation Principle session will present the beginnings of the fourth chapter of the ongoing performance / live audio-visual essay Black Atlantis. We will be visiting the heartland of one of the three stops of the triangular trade, and taking seriously Donna Haraway’s and Anna Tsing’s use of the term ‘plantationocene’ which connects the development of a plantation form of production to the beginning of the current geological era that we are in.