Blackbox: An Afrofuturist Opus
Performers, composers, directors, and writers of color, have historically been left out of the cannon of opera, being typecast or overlooked in favor of those who outwardly exemplify the predominantly white European narratives. As a means to illuminate the current fight for racial equality and for the social, political, and artistic advancement of the operatic medium, this thesis project seeks to explore the modalities of Afrofuturism and Afrosurrealism by means of an discursive exhibition process.Blackbox: An Afrofuturist Opus, an exhibition and discursive platform that took place from April 28, 2017- May 17, 2017 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, explored and made visible the multidimensional ways that contemporary artists are engaging with strategies of Afrofuturism. Participating artists contributed works across medium, constructing a landscape that evoked the sonic, visual, and literary expressions of Afrofuturism. Observed within this paper are the strategies observed and researched in preparation for the exhibition and the foundational pathway for a forthcoming multi-year project: the development of an original Afrofuturist inspired opera.