Ras Cutlass, M. Téllez and Rasheedah Phillips of our beloved METROPOLARITY crew were invited to do a show on PhillyCAM (Community Access Media) in Philadelphia.
Join Metropolarity for an intimate night of prophecying, sh*t talking, and secret spilling.
Your anxieties about the future sent via email/text/social media will be answered on air in between doses of wisdom about how to live with the increasingly absurd, dangerous, and exciting[?] future present!
“…an unprecedentedly rich source for…current and relevant” science fiction
METROPOLARITY is a DIY sci-fi collective based, bred, and tested in the colliding future-present of Philadelphia. This Style of Attack Report contains select work from Metropolarity’s four founding members, who contribute theory, practice, and experience of home grown speculative visioning for both historical documentation as well as personal and collective survival. The collection serves as a model and a record of how Black, brown, queer, low-resource, working, ill and in-recovery people can project themselves into the future, conjuring resources, technology, and magic that aid us in the present.
Also this sci-fi is FIRE cuz the crew don’t play.
4.25″ x 7″
METROPOLARITY: The manifestation of contrasting principles, tendencies, or lifestyles in an urban system and any reactions resulting from encounters between these forces.
The Apiary crew is busy distributing stacks and stacks of the free magazine all across the city – you can see where in almost real-time via their Instagram here.
Meanwhile, we’re shipping out a copy with any t-shirt purchase from our webshop.
In this issue our authors interrogate fear. They recode the technologies of terror and depravity into a language of bravery, beauty, and tenderness. APIARY 8 asks: How do we live freely? How do we prevail against violence? How do we, also, resolve the injustice in our own hearts?
We don’t pretend to have the answers. Instead, we’re letting the visions, poems, stories, and artwork of local Philadelphians speak to our city.
WHO WERE AWARDED A FELLOWSHIP AND WERE RECENTLY ABLE TO OPEN UP
COMMUNITY FUTURES LAB
at 2204 Ridge Avenue in North…
“Community Futurisms: Time & Memory in North Philly” is a social practice, collaborative art, and ethnographic research project exploring oral histories, memories, alternative temporalities, and futures within the North Philadelphia neighborhood known as Sharswood/Blumberg. The area is currently undergoing a major redevelopment project after years of deep poverty, educational inequality, and high crime. “Community Futurisms” will document the redevelopment of Sharswood/Blumberg, through an multidisciplinary community art project that explores the intersections of futurism, literature, visual remixing, sound, and activism as art.
The goal of the Community Futures Lab is to collect, preserve, and share the Sharswood-Blumberg community’s memories and stories for future generations. We are looking for anyone who has ever lived in the neighborhood, and people who still live in the neighborhood and surrounding areas.
A project of The AfroFuturist Affair/Black Quantum Futurism Collective, supported in large part by A Blade of Grass http://www.abladeofgrass.org/fellow/black-quantum-futurism/
BQF Collective is inspired by afrofuturism, quantum physics, and african traditions of spatial-temporal consciousness. They weave science fiction realities with african concepts of time, ritual and sound to present innovative works that offer practical ways to escape time loops, oppression vortexes and the digital matrix.
This project is not affiliated with the Philadelphia Housing Authority or the City of Philadelphia
For more info, please contact:
Black Quantum Futurism (BQF), along with the AfroFuturist Affair, both activist-oriented collectives celebrating and disseminating black science fiction culture, has opened a community resource space envisioned as a “time capsule” in Sharswood/Blumberg. The North Philly neighborhood has seen much socioeconomic strife over the years and is now undergoing a $526 million dollar redevelopment project that cleared thousands of residential units via eminent domain. The Community Futures Lab was created in response to this reality and is also asking the neighborhood what potential needs the lab can fulfill, from organizing housing resources workshops and skill-sharing panels to zine brunches and yoga classes. Located next to Temple University, the blocks around the lab are tempting land grabs for thirsty real estate developers — in this case, the Philadelphia Housing Authority — who want to wipe the slate clean of the poverty and inequality that have long plagued the area. But the city neglects to consider the chaos that the displacement of human beings and communities causes to the residents who are uprooted. Personal stakes are ignored and buried under the rubble in the name of profitability.
Black Quantum Futurism encompasses the work of the lawyer-activist-writer Rasheedah Phillips and musician-designer-photographer Camae Ayewa, as well as the efforts of others who have collaborated with the two artists. Phillips is the founder of the AfroFuturist Affair and published the Black Quantum Futurism manifesto, which proposes a creative and critical vision that values and rewrites black diasporic history through an Afrofuturist lens. She has participated in The Shadows Took Shape, the group exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem that explored Afrofuturist aesthetics, as well as the yearlong Octavia Butler celebration at Clockshop in Los Angeles. Ayewa performs and tours as Moor Mother, a solo music project creating memorial soundscapes and what she calls “slaveship punk,” and cofounded Rockers! Philly, a festival devoted to marginalized artists.
In addition to her artistic practice, Phillips is the managing attorney for the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, which ties her intimately to the concerns of locals who are left helpless in the state of the current housing crisis. She also attended Temple University for both her BA and JD, and has lived about 10 blocks from Community Futures Lab for the last six years. Phillips says, “utilize me,” and wants her neighbors to know that she has a stake in Sharswood/Blumsberg and intends to facilitate change through civic engagement.
CFL has only been open a couple months and has already hosted mulllltiple events and received as many press write-ups. We’ll try to crosspost CFL events here, but the best way to keep up with what’s going on at the Lab is to follow them:::::
So yeah yo, follow @communityfutureslab on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and if you want to stay abreast of Rasheedah’s many projects, events, and appearances in general, we definitely recommend subscribing to her FUTURE LIGHT CONE newsletter here.
back: METROPOLARITY (mirror reverse) SCIENCE FICTION THE SURVIVAL MEMOIR IN THE REALITY OF THE
POST-APOCALYPSE UNSTOPPABLE TECHNIQUE LIVE FROM THE 215 QUANTUM AND ALIEN AND SHAMAN AND CYBORG THE HEAT DEATH OF WESTERN HUMAN ARROGANCE WORLD TOUR
(1) #SOFTTARGETS WAS A DAY OF WRITING CRITIQUES + WORKSHOPS + PERFORMANCES ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON AT THE PHILADELPHIA FREE LIBRARY CENTRAL BRANCH.
This was an day-long event held in preparation for the submission deadline to APIARY Magazine’s 8th issue and collaboration with our collective, themed SOFT TARGETS. APIARY is a volunteer-run, freely distributed literary magazine based in and featuring Philadelphia writers. Before METROPOLARITY got started, Ras was one of the fiction editors for the mag. APIARY’s staff has always supported us, and we’ve been meaning to do some sort of collaborative effort ever since. So the SOFT TARGETS issue is a sci-fi one collaboratively edited by us at METROPOLARITY, along with the standing editors at APIARY.
THE DAY CONCLUDED WITH METROPOLARITY SQUAD READING IN THE MAIN BRANCH’S FAMOUS AUDITORIUM. IF YOU MISSED IT, THANK THE COSMOS FOR A LIVESTREAM, M I RITE???? AUDIO IS PROVIDED BY NYFOLT & MOOR MOTHER GODDESS/BLACK QUANTUM FUTURISM CREW
Eighteen says: It was sooooooooooo nice to be at the central branch of the library for this event, and super starry to perform in the famed auditorium. Like a lot of Philadelphians out there, I spent a looot of time in the library growing up (Olney & East Oak Lane branches whut up). Really grateful to APIARY staff and Adam from the Library for making things possible, and very appreciative of everyone who came out to the writing critique session and workshop, and all those who stayed for the performances.
(2) THE LASER LIFE QUEER SCI-FI READING SERIES MARCH EDITION WAS FIRE
THE LASER LIFE AT LAVA ZONE
HASHTAG QUEER SCI-FI HASHTAG FUCK GOD HASHTAG FUCK LANDOWNERS HASHTAG UP THE HERETICS
THANKS TO ALL WHO CAME. THANKS TO JOYCE HATTON FOR THE MOST EXCELLENT DEBUT, MOOR MOTHER GODDESS FOR THE STORM, CHASKA FOR THE PERFECT AUDIO/VISUAL ATMOSPHERE & EVERYONE WHO CAME OUT <3 <3 <3 <3
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN READING/PERFORMING AT THE NEXT LASER LIFE, CONTACT THEYAREBIRDS AT GEEEEEMAIL.
What nobody seems to have pics of is the powerful trailer for M. Asli Dukan‘s INVISIBLE UNIVERSE documentary on black speculative fiction… but check this out:
In 2003, independent filmmaker, M. Asli Dukan, set out to make a documentary about the 150 year history of Black creators in speculative fiction (SF) books and movies. What she didn’t realize at the time was that she was about to document a major movement in the history of speculative fiction. A movement where a growing number of Black creators were becoming an effective force, creating works that had increasing influence on the traditionally, straight, white, cis-male dominated SF industry. However, while these Black creators imagined better futures for Black people within their fictional works of SF, in reality, the everyday, lived experiences of Black people in the United States – e.g., the rise of massive inequality, the prison industrial complex, and police brutality – stood in stark contrast. She began to wonder if these phenomena were related.
Told through the ever-present lens and off-screen narrator voice of the filmmaker, Invisible Universe will explore this question by examining the work of Black creators of SF through the ideology of the emerging Black Lives Matter movement, which addresses the systematic oppression of Black lives. Since she began the documentary, the filmmaker has compiled an extensive interviewee list of Black writers, artists and filmmakers of SF who have been creating works where Black people not only exist in the future, but are powerful shapers of their own realities, whether in magical lands, dystopian settings, or on distant worlds. In addition, she has documented an ever-increasing number of academic, community and arts events dedicated to the work and critical analysis of Black SF, as well as building connections between the creators, thinkers, organizers and fans. In the past decade, the filmmaker has documented the cultural shift around Black SF and its explicit connections to Black liberation. This documentary explores the idea that in a world of capitalist exploitation, anti-Black oppression and state violence, Black creators are speculating about better worlds as a means of resistance and survival.
The documentary will also consider how “Black Speculation” is rooted in the history of “Black Struggle” in the United States by exploring two previous eras of Black creators speculating about Black lives through the genres of SF. The first era occurred during the nadir of African American history in late 19th and early 20th centuries, when slavery, war, lynchings, race riots, disfranchisement and segregation inspired Black writers to pen narratives about international slave rebellions, secret, Black governments and powerful, long lost, African kingdoms. The second era occurred during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, when the work of Black writers of SF seemed to extrapolate on the possible futures that would occur as a result of the successes or failures of the Civil Rights or Black Power struggles. This documentary will explore how this current moment, which the filmmaker considers the third era of Black Speculation, compares and contrasts with the earlier two eras.
This timely documentary includes interviews with Black writers of SF like Samuel R. Delany, the late Octavia E. Butler, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson and Nnedi Okorafor, actors like Nichelle Nichols and Wesley Snipes, cultural organizers like Rasheedah Phillips and her AfroFuturist Affair, 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, and fans. This one-of-a-kind project is essentially an archive of a “Who’s Who” of Black speculative fiction.
Mark C. Jerng really went in with their review of Stories for Chip, a tribute anthology to Samuel R. Delany, featuring a story by our own Alex Smith. Jerng’s review does what feels rare to us as “marginalized” sf writers and that’s go to the trouble of talking about the influence of Delany’s work (and the work within the anthology itself) outside of binary categories of capitalist empire. Our neighbors were saying this is one hell of a good review. Delany fans, dig in.
#selfcare is remembering that you are a part of a #continuum that stretches beyond yourself, that #ancestors have decreed you a part of the #myth , that you are not just changing the world, not just envisioning the world made better, you are that change, that vision. you’ve done it, but you’re not done. #rise #scifiart #scifi #afrofuturism #storiesforchip #blackquantumfuturism #zines #metropolarity – Alex on Instagram
Ask your local library to carry Stories for Chip or buy a copy here.
Space-Time Collapse is a new experimental writing and image series applying Black Quantum Futurism practices and theory to various space-time collapse phenomenon. This inaugural collection explores possible space-time narratives and temporal perspectives of enslaved Black African ancestors, pre- and post-liberation. The slave ships and plantations themselves are traversed by the visionaries as chronotopes containing layers of different times, imprinted by the experiences of the people held captive therein. The featured writers and visionaries attempt to visualize, hear, understand, and feel the experience of time overwritten — the rewriting of conceptions of the past, present, and future to a people displaced by the transatlantic slave trade. The works also examine perceptions of time and space in relation to Black memory, historical and societal change, systems and institutions, and technological development, and how these perceptions are sifted through or persist into the present. Some propose ways and tools for shifting the dominant linear progress narrative with alternative concepts and shapes of time.
Featuring new visions from Rasheedah Phillips, Joy KMT, Thomas Stanley, PhD, Ytasha Womack, Camae Ayewa, Dominique Matti, Theo Paijmans, Alex Smith, and Femi Matti, with a foreword by Alicia J. Lochard.
WE’RE SO BUSY IT SEEMS WE CAN BARELY DO ANYTHING BUT TWEET ANYMORE N THIS RECAP JAWN MISSING ALEX’S INPUT BUT CHECK BACK N MAYBE … STAYING W/UR RENT PAID N UR CAREER ON COURSE IS REAL SHIT YO
2015 was an intense year of collaborations, opportunities, and firsts, all with the support and love of my woadies at METROPOLARITY and in Philadelphia. The following is a rundown of life giving moments from last year:
Debuting an homage to bae and Philadelphia, “THROWED THE FUCK OFF AS THE SUN SETS AND THE RATS COME OUT IN THE CITY THAT FED ME AND FEEDS ME,” at NOWTOPIA multimedia event with Grey Nebraska and Martin Peeves at Drexel’s Leonard Pearlstein Gallery. Being surrounded by black plexiglass and polyurethane stalagmites and ponds and all the Philly neighbors was like my personal utopian swampland fête.
Joining Rasheedah, Moor Mother Goddess, Nyfolt, Theo Paijmans and Bryan Green at the Afrofuturism NOW Festival at WORM Rotterdam, Netherlands. My first time in Europe, discovering all the Caribbeans in the Netherlands, giving workshops about insanity, and imbibing probably the best chai tea I’ve ever experienced.
Receiving Kiese Laymon’s Long Division and Marlon James’s A History of Seven Killings for Christmas. Also, acquiring The Spook Who Sat at the Door by Sam Greenlee.
Debuted audiovisual-literary collaboration with Joann of Nyfolt at this year’s Afrofuturist Affair. InsemNation and our adventures with The Grub gained some senses.
I’m looking forward to another year of art and action, workshops, collabos, hard truths, introspections, and revolutions [big and little].
2015 sped by as an uncanny, almost detached span of time, where I placed the majority of my daily resources and energy towards deep introspection & healing in several areas of domestic abuse, sexual trauma, and generational violence. When I think about what Metropolarity did this year, I am impressed and also surprised, like how did we pull all this off? As a group that supports each other. That’s how.
In the interest of lol classwar and encouraging open discussion of money flow & access to affluence, I would characterize 2015 as the year Metropolarity started getting paid. We were invited to read and perform at a number of art and educational institutions, which paid us modestly (around $100 or under), often handsomely ($300 or more), for our time and presence. We had to fill out W-9 forms beforehand, and would receive checks in the mail weeks later. (This means we will be taxed for this money in 2016.) This extra income, for all of us I think and definitely for myself, helped me to pay my rent, my one loan with my momma’s name on it, get ahead on bills, and allowed me to put some of my regular work income into savings. I wish more artists getting paid in this manner would talk about it, because before this year, it was not obvious to me that any money was involved at all for artists gaining notoriety in the established physical spaces of universities, museums, and galleries. I suppose this notion came from my own experiences pouring my creative/skilled/critical labor into DIY scenes and academic endeavors during college, where you do a monumental amount of work with little to no expectation of, or even negative income. The lesson here to me is that when you begin to produce critical work outside of an institutional affiliation, which can be seen by those institutions and is attractive to them as a means to stay relevant to their constituents, they will inevitably invite you into their towers with the very real lure of money. Several times this year, Metropolarity discussed how to conduct ourselves in these institutions, to protect ourselves against cultural vampirism and other exploitative possibilities. Protect your neck.
With that said, here is what I remember out of the fog of my 2015:
Being a part of ERASURE, Anthony Romero’s curatorial fellowship with PEW, where he arranged for us to have a feature night of reading & Q/A at Vox Populi Gallery’s AUX space. For this I wrote and read a very personal piece mixing dystopian surveillance and my own multiracial background. This was in January and it made me wonder if it would be the pinnacle of our existence, it felt almost too special and focused on just us. Now I feel like it was the signal of what was to follow.
Tabling as featured guests at Rhode Island’s Independent Publishing Expo in March. RIPExpo organizers & fest attendees made us feel super grateful, allowing us a panel and setting up an after-hours reading event that had some of the best sound & epic lighting we got to experience. wauw.
Being invited as a featured reader at the June 2015 Trans Literary Salon, which felt like a huge honor but also made me value Metropolarity that much more as a sci-fi specific crew. I couldn’t help feeling out of place as the only person reading long-form fiction amongst a bevy of seasoned poets.
Getting a b-day wish fulfillment from DJ Haram, who let me do a dramatic reading (with ambient soundscape!) of my favorite Robin Hood story about clowning authority, robbing priests, and wrecking a wedding at this show.
Mobbing on that Geekadelphia future of Philly Sci-Fi & Fantasy panel
Reading live on the fucking radio!!! Thanks to Penn’s Kelly Writer’s House inviting us for an hour of FM airtime. That was a dream come true and I hope we get to keep doing shit like that in the coming seasons.
Selling a $26 short story that comes with this free Desire Hope Despair tee, which you can still buy here.
The deep satisfaction, sense of urgency in, and feeling of gratitude reading Otros Valles and Incomplete Short Stories and Essays by Jamie Berrout, a queer Mexican trans woman. Necessary reading.
Getting a letter saying I won the Leeway Transformation Award. Reading the panelists’ comments on my work MADE ME CRY. Now I have all this award money that is blowing my working class mind but also making me scared that the debt collectors are gonna come for me any minute.
For 2016, I need to figure out how to use my increasing access to resources in smart, replenishable ways that help out me, my squad, and those who come after us.
OCT — Co-Curated and presented at AFROFUTURISM NOW! Festival in Rotterdam, NL, feat King Britt, Islam Chipsy, Moor Mother Goddess, Mutamassick, , Metropolarity, film festival, art by Charl Landvreugh, Dogon Krigga and more… Performances and Programs here.
The artist Sondra Perry hit us up one day with a collab idea: We write/record a critical writing component to go along with her project, #MyTwilightZoneThing, taking place at Recess Art in New York. A couple weeks later…
We had the great fortune to commission the critical writing for #MyTwilightZoneThing to METROPOLARITY, a collective of speculative fiction writers/artists/activists based/raised in Philadelphia. Their contribution “YOU HAVE 4 MESSAGES” includes 4 texts [and 3 audio pieces] written by RAS MASHRAMANI (@anti_gyal), Alex Smith (@theyarebirds), M. EIGHTEEN (@cyborgmemoirs), and Rasheedah Phillips (@afrofuturistaffair).
My Twilight Zone Thing builds upon the artist’s belief that the original show dismantles whiteness through the lens of science fiction. Although each episode of The Twilight Zone opens with the narrator (series creator Rod Serling) describing the mostly male, primarily white characters, these individuals go on to enter an alternate plane—a move that complicates the viewer’s ingrained ways of seeing and coding the characters’ physical realities.
Perry posits that the way in which the show scrambles assumptions around the characters’ bodies gives rise to multiple new possibilities for seeing and understanding their personhood. Perry will work with the collaborators to experiment with this dissolution of identity as they insert themselves into these narrated scenes. With only the original script remaining as a point of reference to the source material, the actors will have the opportunity to assume, mimic, or defy the externally prescribed characteristics, thereby taking advantage of the rift between representative structures and real bodies.
–>TODDLERS ON TOUCHSCREENS CAUSE THEIR FINGERS WAS BORN WITH IT — DRONE SURVEILLANCE OVER ALL YR BODEGAS — SUPERBACTERIA TALKIN BOUT FUCK YR PENICILLIN — SCI FI IS NO LONGER ONLY FOR THE FUTURE — SCI FI IS HERE ON YOUR FRONT PORCH — WE WANT YOUR FUTURE PRESENT — YOUR SCI FI REALITIES — THE FUTURE IS NOW <--
COLLAB ZINE W/ WORK FROM::::::::::
+ IT IS OKAY by Laura Pollard
+ SPONSORED MESSAGES from grey nebraska
+ comments from Azeem Hill, Fred Pinguel, n Carolyn Lazard
+ BATTLEFIELD REPLICA SYMMETRY RETROSPECTA by Moor Mother Goddess
+ THE 40TH ST. CON by Skribbly LaCroix
+ CONSTANTEMIEDOCONSTANTE by Natis
+ DISTRICTS by Aja Beech
+ FLYBOYS by Billie Blazer
+ G.P.S. by Althea Baird
+ LIFE ONLINE WORKSHEET by Eighteen & Ras
+ PORTRAIT OF THE ACTIVIST AS A YOUNG SUPER-HERO by Alex Smith
+ BLACK QUANTUM FUTURISM by Rasheedah Phillips
+ A YOUNG THUG CONFRONTS HIS OWN FUTURE by Ras Mashramani
Released in October of 2014 with work from Philly-based and Philly-born residents.
The print format of this zine is an 11″ x 17″ dimension printed on 8.5″ x 11″ size paper and trimmed by 0.5″ on the edges. Print for your own pleasure but we request that anyone looking to distribute this zine contact us to ask & discuss first. Email metropolarity @ gmail dot com.
Well the squad went in and now we’ve got new pins, cute stickers, info cards, and our favorite, SCIENCE FICTION LITERATURE IN PRINT & AUDIO FORMAT ❤️. Order stuff from our distro and get some of the aforementioned goods, or pick them up at our events (check out calendar in the nav above). There’s more coming, too. >=} Click the images in the post for direct links to anything you see therein.
This month also sees the opening of Rasheedah’s HOUSE OF FUTURE SCIENCES press online, a centralized place to get her Nonlocality Zines, Recurrence Plot novel and matching soundtrack (!), AfroFuturist Affair pins, posters, and the newest hottest book BLACK QUANTUM FUTURISM. Details below. We’re stoked.
Black Quantum Futurism (or BQF) is a new approach to living and experiencing reality by way of the manipulation of space-time in order to see into possible futures, and/or collapse space-time into a desired future in order to bring about that future’s reality. This vision and practice derives its facets, tenets, and qualities from quantum physics, futurist traditions, and Black/African cultural traditions of consciousness, time, and space. Inside of the space where these three traditions intersect exists a creative plane that allows for the ability of African-descended people to see “into,” choose, or create the impending future.
Featuring visions by Rasheedah Phillips, Moor Mother Goddess, Warren C. Longmire, Almah Lavon, Joy Kmt, Thomas Stanley, PhD, and Nikitah Okembe-RA Imani, PhD.
84 pages. Matte cover.
Cover art and design by Dezz Archie
Compiled and edited by Rasheedah Phillips
The interweaving stories in Recurrence Plot and Other Time Travel Tales present characters whose stories challenge the notion that time flows in only one direction. If you want to understand what is happening at any given point in time, you cannot only look to the past for clues. You must consider the future.
A journalist races against time itself to expose the entity preying on young male teens in Philadelphia. A crystal, memory-storing bracelet transports a young mother back to the day of her own mother’s traumatic death. An unknown force of nature causes time to start flowing backwards. . .
Using quantum physics as an imaginative landscape, Phillips’ debut speculative collection Recurrence Plot attempts to walk the fine line between fiction and reality, fate and free will, and past, present, and future.
Maggie Eighteen’s PINS 4 CYBORGS reference Ghost in the Shell, Donna Haraway, and their own post-binary dystopian universe, All That’s Left. Get them in pairs, or buy one of their zines and get one on the house.
New new new Metropolarity pins come with every Metropolarity order in our lil shop or at our events.