Invisible Universe Demo Explores History of Blackness in Speculative Fiction
Featuring interviews with the late Octavia E. Butler, Nichelle Nichols, and more
Trigger Warning: Images of violence.
M. Asli Dukan’s documentary Invisible Universe: A History of Blackness in Speculative Fiction has been in the works for more than a decade, and now it feels closer than ever. The project, sponsored by non-profit Fractured Atlas, deconstructs the history of Black representation and the history of Black creators in the speculative fiction genre. Dukan, in the “fundraising demo” above, talks about how the “collective expression of resistance and yearning for survival” within these works. The documentary “ultimately reveals how Black creators have been consciously creating their own universe.”
Included in Invisible Universe are interviews with a wide range of creators and critics. From the clip, there’s Sheree Renée Thomas, Samuel R Delany, Octavia E. Butler, Nichelle Nichols, Wesley Snipes, Brandon Massey, Maurice Waters, L.A. Banks, Steven Barnes, Walidah Imarisha, John Jennings, Adrienne Maree Brown, and Moya Bailey.
“There was a conflict of imagination between those wielding the authority of the capitalist state and those creators of speculative fiction who were wielding their pens,” Dukan narrates. The portion of the video where Dukan puts images of police brutality next to black artists talking about feeling invisible and creating worlds to challenge and transform is especially powerful and demonstrates how unfortunately timely and relevant this documentary is.
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