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Just Futures: Black Quantum Futurism, Arthur Jafa, and Martine Syms

Tuesday, February 1, 2022 - 12:00am to Saturday, March 19, 2022 - 12:00am
Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery
Presented by: 
Institute of the Arts and Sciences
Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery

A video exhibition of work by Black Quantum FuturismArthur Jafa, and Martine Syms. Curated by Rebele Chair and History of Art and Visual Culture Professor TJ Demos.

Against the present’s seemingly endless backdrop of deep political unrest, environmental emergency, and racialized injustice, Just Futures highlights poignant creative experiments in futurity and justice. With artworks by Black Quantum Futurism, Arthur Jafa, and Martine Syms, Just Futures considers how contemporary artists engage with time as both a site of struggle and a horizon of liberation. The images and sounds of the video works and installations are resoundingly out of synch with the dominant production of time expressed in the 24/7 chronologies of capital, long synchronized to racialized, gendered violence and oppression—and enclosing people in temporal holds, defuturing communities, imposing time-traps of debt and deadlines. Building on the critical resources of Afrofuturisms of decades past, the artworks instead creatively serve as timekeepers of emancipatory worlds-to-come.

Presented in collaboration with the Institute of the Arts and Sciences.

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Free and open to the public.
Attend in person.
Exhibition: February 1–March 19, 2022
Reception: March 2, 2022 (more info here)

All attendees must wear an approved face covering, while inside the venue, for the duration of the event, and be prepared to show the following documentation.
Visitors: complete and be prepared to present proof of the UCSC Symptom Check (complete online, on the day of the event, prior to coming to campus)
UCSC students: Show green clearance badge
UCSC employees: Show Symptom Check clearance email

Tuesday—Saturday, 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 12:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.

The closest parking lots to the Gallery are #124 and #125 at Porter College.
​Additional parking can be found at the #126 Performing Arts lot.
Permits are required 7 days a week in campus lots. 
See Transportation & Parking Services (TAPS) for visitor parking information, ParkMobile instructions, and a campus parking map.

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The exhibition forms part of “Beyond the End of the World,” which comprises a year-long research and exhibition project and public lecture series, directed by Professor TJ Demos of the Center for Creative Ecologies, bringing leading international thinkers and cultural practitioners to UC Santa Cruz to discuss what lies beyond dystopian catastrophism, and how we can cultivate radical futures of social justice and ecological flourishing. The project is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Culture, and administered by UCSC's Humanities Institute. For more information visit

Black Quantum Futurism Collective is a multidisciplinary collaboration between Camae Ayewa (Rockers!; Moor Mother) and Rasheedah Phillips (The AfroFuturist Affair; Metropolarity) exploring the intersections of futurism, creative media, DIY-aesthetics, and activism in marginalized communities through an alternative temporal lens.

Arthur Jafa is an artist, filmmaker and cinematographer. Across three decades, Jafa has developed a dynamic practice comprising films, artifacts and happenings that reference and question the universal and specific articulations of black being.

Martine Syms has earned wide recognition for a practice that combines conceptual grit, humor, and social commentary. Using a combination of video, installation and performance, often interwoven with explorations into technique and narrative, Syms examines representations of blackness and its relationship to vernacular, feminist thought, and radical traditions.

image credit:  still photo from Love Is The Message, The Message is Death, Arthur Jafa (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.