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The Ruby is a catalyst for creativity and a home for making art at Duke.
Date & Time
September 23, 2018 at 7:00 pm
Free; no reservations required
Film Theater at the Rubenstein Arts Center
2020 Campus Drive
Durham, NC 27705

Aural Futures Series:

The Last Angel of History
(John Akomfrah, 1996, 45 min, UK, English, Color, Digital)

A truly masterful film essay about Black aesthetics that traces the deployments of science fiction within pan-African culture. Akomfrah begins by comparing and contrasting three musicians of eccentric genius – Sun Ra, George Clinton and Lee Scratch Perry – and their use of the images of the spaceship and the alien, and then moves on to Black science fiction writers Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany. Suggesting that the spaceship and the alien have obvious resonances with the diasporic condition of exile and displacement, Akomfrah ultimately widens his net to include everything from Walter Benjamin to DJ Spooky while tracing an itinerary through Black music and science fiction on the way to a revealing look at modernity as it enters the digital age. (Notes from the Harvard Film Archive)

“A 45-minute meditation on black consciousness whose dense, almost chaotic weave of images and ideas offers space travel and science fiction as metaphors for the experience of the African diaspora.” – Fred Camper, Chicago Reader

Screening with:

Black Star: Rebirth is Necessary
(Jenn Nkiru, 2017, 10 min, UK, English, Color, Digital)
British-Nigerian filmmaker Jenn Nkiru pieces together dreamlike portraits with stunning archival footage that includes Afrofuturism pioneer Sun Ra and revolutionary organization the Black Panther Party.

Invocation for José Antonio Aponte: Lámina 26
(Nina Angela Mercer and Toshi Sakai, 2017, 8 min, Digital)

About the Aural Futures Series:

Curated by Ingrid LaFleur from AFROTOPIA & Negar Mottahedeh at Duke University

Often music is the first introduction to the cultural movement Afrofuturism. The Aural Futures series looks at how electronic music created a foundation in the development of Afrofuturism, explores the history of certain music movements like Afropunk that have introduced Afrofuturism to a larger audience, and how the Afrofuturist aesthetic is used to visually express the music and provide a narrative.

To complete the music ecosystem, we have curated a selection of storytellers and performers from Detroit and Durham to create an Afrofuturist evening of musical vibes and visions (Oct 26, 9pm in Duke Coffee House). Hearing the music, watching the performance and the organic movement that it calls forth is an integral part of the Afrofuturist experience.

This event is a part of Visionary Aponte: Art & Black Freedom, a nine-week art exhibit and accompanying series of conversations, screenings, performances, residencies, and workshops at Duke University organized by the Power Plant Gallery and the Forum for Scholars and Publics. The exhibit is curated by Édouard Duval-Carrié and Ada Ferrer and is based on a digital humanities project called Digital Aponte. More information online at

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Sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI), the Forum for Scholars & Publics (FSP), the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image (AMI), the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts—Duke Arts, the Program in Literature, the Department of Cultural Anthropology, the Department of African & African-American Studies, Duke Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies, and Duke Performances.

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