INVISIBLE UNIVERSE

#blackscifidoc

In the past, we dreamed of this future…
In the future, we dreamed of this past…

    

MEDIA
THE DOCUMENTARY
At the start of the new millennium, an increasing number of Black writers, artists and filmmakers began to alter the landscape of speculative fiction (SF) media by creating works that effectively challenged the traditionally, homogenous industry. However, while these Black creators were imagining better futures for Black people within their fictional worlds of SF, the everyday experiences of Black people in the U.S. - e.g., capitalist exploitation, mass incarceration, anti-Black state violence - stood in stark contrast to their speculation. In 2003, independent filmmaker, M. Asli Dukan began to research and document this informal network with the intent on making a project about the history of Black SF creators. And as she continued her research and production, she realized that the emergence of Black speculation had been historically connected to movements of Black struggle and that what she had been documenting was actually the third cultural shift around Black SF, as it grew into a movement of Black speculative fiction creators. Invisible Universe explores the idea that in a world of neoliberal economic policies with severe racialized consequences, a contemporary and self-aware generation of Black creators, academics and fans of SF, building on the foundation of previous generations, have been using the genres as an artistic tool to imagine better futures towards Black liberation and independence.

This documentary includes interviews with Black writers of SF like Samuel R. Delany, the late Octavia E. Butler, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, Nnedi Okorafor, Brandon Massey and N.K. Jemisin, actors like Nichelle Nichols and Wesley Snipes, cultural organizers like Yumy Odom and Rasheedah Phillips, scholars like Moya Bailey and Ayana Jamieson, academics/artists like John Jennings and Nettrice Gaskins, social justice workers/artists like adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha, as well as numerous other filmmakers, artists, academics, archivists, fans - a virtual who’s who in Black speculative fiction. In addition, it also includes documentation of the past twelve years of academic, community and arts events dedicated to the critical analysis of Black SF, as well as to building connections between the creators, thinkers, organizers and fans.
THE FILMMAKERS

M. ASLI DUKAN

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/WRITER

MS. DUKAN is an independent producer, director, and writer. She graduated from The City University of New York with an MFA in 1999, where she received the best editing award for her thesis film, Sleeping on a train in Motion. Her speculative fiction (SF) short films have screened at several film festivals around the country including in Dallas, Austin, Atlanta, Seattle and in New York City. She has been awarded several media grants including most recently the Leeway Art and Change grant in 2016. In 2000, she founded Mizan Media Productions where she has produced and directed several music videos, including Boot for Tamar-kali and Do You Mind for Hanifah Walidah, which debuted on LOGO TV in 2008. In addition to Invisible Universe, she is also in post on Songs for Nina, a music and travel documentary, set in France and in collaboration with the Black Rock Coalition. Her next project is the feature length anthology horror film, Skin Folk, based on the book by the award winning SF writer, Nalo Hopkinson. She also hosts The Invisible Universe Vlog Series on Youtube, which is dedicated to topics related to the history of Black SF.

"I have been a fan of speculative fiction for as long as I could remember. SF gave me a way to escape the harsh realities of life and allowed me to envision a better future for myself. However, my adoration for SF, especially fantasy, horror and science fiction was always bittersweet, because I never really felt part of these universes. It wasn’t until I came across the work of Octavia E. Butler, that I felt a fuller connection to the genres. Her work also made me curious about what other Black writers of SF used the genres to tell their own stories. I knew if I could find them, that I wouldn’t think I was invisible and I would feel a part of something larger than myself."

"The Invisible Universe documentary has been a long time in the making. It has been my appreciation for the genres and respect for all of the Black creators that I have interviewed and documented along the way that have kept me focused on my goal - to create a pivotal work that explores our history in SF. My sincere hope is that young people will see it and it will inspire them to imagine and create better futures for themselves."

PRESS


MIRA STEINZOR

VIDEOGRAPHER (PRIMARY)

RAMON THOMPSON

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

TERENCE TAYLOR

EDITOR

THE JOURNEY

A selection of some of the earliest and most recent events focused on "Black Speculation" that have been documented by the Invisible Universe documentary.

THE UNIVERSE

The journey has been long and full of amazing encounters. Here are some of them…

SUPPORT!

Support the Invisible Universe documentary by making a tax-deductible donation to us through our fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas.
Help us complete the project in 2016!
Click the link below!


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Thank you to all of our 2014 Indiegogo campaign supporters!

INVISIBLE UNIVERSE STORE
INVISIBLEc_324x500 11x17 BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION WRITER POSTER PRINT
Drawn by designer, illustrator, writer, lecturer and artist – John Jennings.
A limited edition, collector’s item, signed by the artist!
CLICK THE POSTER TO GO TO PURCHASE PAGE!
IU_BSF_lit_2015_500
Check out the Invisible Universe Black Speculative Fiction literature infographic!
This infographic was made possible with funding awarded to M. Asli Dukan
via the Art and Change grant from the Leeway Foundation in 2014.
Designed by Ramon Thompson.
CLICK THE POSTER TO GO TO A LARGER VERSION!
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