Black Atlantis: the Plantationocene

Black Atlantis: The Plantationocene
Ayesha Hameed

Black Atlantis is a multi-part, live audio-visual essay that looks at possible afterlives of the Black Atlantic: in contemporary illegalized migration at sea, in oceanic environments, through Afrofuturistic dancefloors and soundsystems, and in outer space.

Black Atlantis combines two conversations - afrofuturism and the anthropocene. It takes as point of departure Drexciya, the late 20 th century electronic music duo from Detroit, and their creation of a sonic, fictional world. Through liner notes and track titles, Drexciya take the Black Atlantic below the water with their imaginary of an Atlantis comprised of former slaves who have adapted to living underwater. This wetness brings to the table a sense of the haptic, the sensory, the bodily, and the epidermal. What below-the-water, and Atlantis brings back is the bottom of the sea, the volume of the water, the materiality of the space of the ocean, and other protagonists that inhabit the sea.

Black Atlantis: the Plantationocene is the documentation of a live audio visual essay, or live powerpoint cinema. It asks: what is the relationship between climate change and plantation economies, and how might we begin to think of a watery plantationocene? It revolves around two islands: a former plantation in St George’s Parish in Barbados, and the port city of Port of Spain in Trinidad: visiting the heartland of one of the three stops of the triangular trade, and taking seriously Donna Haraway’s and Anna Tsing’s use of the term ‘plantationocene’ which connects the development of a plantation form of production to the beginning of the current geological era that we are in.

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The video was produced for L'Internationale Online's ePub Austerity and Utopia.