Octavia Butler’s speculative novel Kindred tells the story of Dana, a Black woman living in 1970’s California who slips through time and ends up in the antebellum South, where she is called upon to save her young, white, slave-owning ancestor. This novel turns the idea of the Grandfather Paradox on its head and uses the personal history and memory of Dana to challenge the distortion of collective memory of slavery crafted by history books and politics.
Using Kindred to frame the discussion, this interactive workshop revolves around time travel in some of its most practical applications; through forms of time travel that do not require a machine, an advanced degree, or other privileges. The theories behind the workshop propose that time travel, defined as the re-examination of our pasts and active creation of our futures, is accessible to every person, every day. Using Afrofuturism and science fiction as lenses, the lecture will explore how one can time travel with everyday tools such as memory, dream, imagination, manipulation of language and perception, music.
The workshop will discuss and introduce participants to ancient African notions of time, space, and technology, and their modern-day Western manifestations and misappropriations in the sciences. One component of the workshop has participants create a group “quantum time capsule.” Based on the principles of quantum physics, the quantum time capsule allows us to send messages and objects to any point in the past or future, and to communicate both with ancestors and future generations.