Radicalfilm 3

MAH Film Night: Radical Futurisms Part III

Artboard 1

Wednesday, April 15, 2020,
7pm - 9pm

Online via Zoom


Gather 'round your home screen and watch a series of films from a diverse group of visionaries.

Guest curator TJ Demos will be introducing the series of films that offer points of light in a dark world. How are visual artists imagining radical futures? How can the traditions of oppressed peoples become the foundation of the future? How can social justice and ecosystems flourish going forward? How can we escape our current climate of catastrophe and anxiety and instead transform the present into a radical future by asking what is “not-yet”?


Shown in conjunction with our exhibition Beyond the World’s End, this three-part film series is part of a year-long research and exhibition project and public lecture series. Directed by T. J. Demos of the Center for Creative Ecologies, and including the collaboration of UCSC PhD Mellon fellows Isabelle Carbonell and Chessa Adsit-Morris, it brings leading international thinkers and cultural practitioners to UC Santa Cruz to discuss what lies beyond dystopian catastrophism, and how we can cultivate radical futures of social justice and ecological flourishing. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Culture. For more information visit BEYOND.UCSC.EDU

RSVP for the Zoom Link
The link to join the screening will be sent out at 2pm on April 1st.


6:30pm – Screening opens. Space is limited to the first 100 users.
– TJ Demos gives a brief introduction to the films and the related exhibition.
– The first film will begin

The Zoom link will be sent out at 2pm to all that RSVP'd via Eventbrite. If you have any questions please email info@santacruzmah.org.

View the Exhibition

Featured Films

A Pluriverse of Polyps, 2020

Isabelle Carbonel (Belgium/Uruguay/US)

Moon jellyfish polyps are latching onto natural gas platforms in the Adriatic Sea, using the platforms as stepping stones to secure a footing in a marine environment otherwise too sandy for their proliferation. Bringing giant jellyfish blooms, these polyps are opportunistic world-builders, glimpsing a coming multispecies age inadvertently inaugurated by fossil-fuel infrastructure. Featuring a fishing port in Chioggia, Italy, a marine biology station in Piran, Slovenia, and the vast sea in between, the film offers a non-linguistic experiment in sensory attunement to developing more-than-human submarine regions, approximating an Anthropocene surrealism. By following polyps, the film opens portals linking not just underwater geographies, but also a pluriverse of times, spaces, and potential futures.

Songs for Earth and Folks, 2013

Cauleen Smith (US)

Cauleen Smith’s “Song for Earth and Folk” is a found footage film structured like a blues song with a live-improvised electro-organic soundtrack created by Chicago-based band The Eternals. With reference to African-American sci- fi/fantasy writer NK Jemison, Smith says, “Song for Earth and Folk is very direct about attempting to describe our dysfunctional relationship with our planet, our willful ignorance, our psychotic cruelty to living things and ecosystems. For me it’s urgent in terms of having a sense of place on the planet. What ground can I claim, where on earth would I, an alien, a being born out of circumstances unprecedented in human history, be welcomed?”

Message Of the Forest, 2019

The Otolith Group (UK)

London-based collective the Otolith Group’s Message of the Forest can be heard as an ode to the Sal Forests of West Bengal, or a song for the weathering of parent rocks, or an incantation inspired by Rabindranath Tagore’s vision of a world campus that would become the holistic cultural hub of Visva-Bharati University in Santineketan in West Bengal in 1921.

The Great Silence, 2014

Allora and Calzadilla (Puerto Rico)

In the spirit of a fable, the subtitled story presents the bird’s observations on humans’s search for life outside this planet, while using the concept of vocal learning—something that both parrots and humans, and few other species have in common—as a source of reflection upon acousmatic voices, ventriloquisms, and the vibrations that form the basis of speech and the universe itself.

Destinies Manifest, 2017

John Jota Leaños (US)

Destinies Manifest animates John Gast’s “American Progress,” an 1872 painting that depicts emboldened settlers bringing knowledge, religion and technology to an uncivilized West. This installation reimagines Manifest Destiny from indigenous and mestiz@ perspectives in an attempt to locate the specters of an erased past and reveal unresolved racial and social violence that continues to haunt the American colonial project.

Reclamation, 2018

Thirza Jean Cuthand (Plains Cree and Scots descent)

Reclamation is a documentary-style imagining of a post-dystopic future in Canada after massive climate change, wars, pollution, and the after effects of the large scale colonial project have destroyed the land. When Indigenous peoples are left behind after a massive exodus by White settlers who have moved to Mars, the original inhabitants of this land cope by trying to restore and rehabilitate the beautiful country they feel they belong to. Complicated by the need to look after southern climate refugees, this post-dystopic society struggles to reinvent itself as a more healthy community, with opportunities for healing from shared trauma, and using traditional Indigenous scientific knowledge to reclaim Canada environmentally.

Into the Future, 2019

Woodbine (US)

A short doc by and about Woodbine, the experimental hub and commons in Ridgewood, Queens, New York City, which is actively developing the skills, practices, and tools needed to build autonomy in the future. “We want lives worth living, and worlds worth inhabiting.”

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