Black Quantum Futurism: CPT Reversal
Camae Ayewa & Rasheedah Phillips
November 6, 2021 - March 5, 2022
Black Quantum Futurism is an interdisciplinary creative practice between Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips, weaving quantum physics with Afrodiasporic concepts of time, ritual, text, and sound. Their work creates counter-chronologies and grandmother paradoxes and envisions Black quantum womanist futures that rupture exclusionary versions of history and future. This practice spans writing, music, film, visual art, and creative research with a focus on recovering, collecting, and preserving communal memories, histories, and stories. Through its work and alongside collaborators, Black Quantum Futurism aims to develop and enact a new spatiotemporal consciousness.
The series of work created for this exhibition examines time and temporality at various scales and dimensions—personal, interpersonal, communal, global, and cosmic—and their connections and reverberations. The title of the exhibition comes from the acronym commonly understood as “Colored People’s Time,” oftentimes a stereotype of Black people as chronically late, but also a cultural understanding that events and experiences do not adhere to strict schedules and linear time. In physics, the same three letters stand for “charge, parity, and time reversal,” a fundamental symmetry of laws that holds for all physical phenomena. CP Timeline (2021) illustrates the usage of both terms in books, magazines, and other media. Black Quantum Futurism considers these incidences as interconnected rather than accidental.
Their pathways diverge and come back together along the timeline in contrast to the directly flowing water in River of Time (2021). Presented here as the three-channel film at the center of the timeline, Write No History (2021) features The Temporal Disruptors, members of an ancient secret society of Black scientists, healers, and writers transporting a “quantum time capsule” between the future, past, and present. The assortment of clocks from the series Dismantling the Master’s Clocks (2015-21) take measure of movements and time, further challenging traditional notions of temporal linearity. Black Hole Viewfinder (2021) offers visitors a glimpse into another dimension of layered imagery from the artists. Throughout the exhibition, Black Quantum Futurism aims to make visible the temporal meridians that connect, distort, and mirror each other, depending on one’s arrival or location on the timeline.
CPT Reversal is part of the longer-term research project CPT Symmetry and Violations with the Collide Residency at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). This exhibition includes a new soundscape by the artists that incorporates discussions about time with scientists in Spain and Switzerland during their residency.