Talk Recording: T.J. Demos

T.J. Demos – Radical Futurisms: Insurgent Universality, Solidarity and Worlds-to-Come
A talk programmed by NEPN held on Zoom on 24 June 2021.

 

 

T.J. Demos Talk, 24 June 2021. Programmed by NEPN from NEPN on Vimeo.

With reference to three international examples of contemporary art—those of Thirza Jean Cuthand, The Otolith Group, and Black Quantum Futurism—this short talk discusses current modelings of radical futurisms and worlds-to-come that refuse surrender to capitalist realism. Where radical imagination meets radical praxis is in the material forces of solidarity, the political form of belonging, more than ever necessary today in the collective battle against international fascisms and global neoliberalisms. While acknowledging the bankruptcy of Eurocentric universalisms, this presentation defends approaches to insurgent political formations beyond identitarian fragmentation, including a political aesthetics of abolition—ultimately of racial and colonial capitalism.

T.J. Demos is the Patricia and Rowland Rebele Endowed Chair in Art History in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, at University of California, Santa Cruz, and founding Director of its Center for Creative Ecologies. Demos is the author of numerous books, including Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today (Sternberg Press, 2017); Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (Sternberg Press, 2016); The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary During Global Crisis (Duke University Press, 2013) – winner of the College Art Association’s 2014 Frank Jewett Mather Award – and Return to the Postcolony: Spectres of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (Sternberg Press, 2013). Demos co-curated Rights of Nature: Art and Ecology in the Americas, at Nottingham Contemporary in January 2015, and organized Specters: A Ciné-Politics of Haunting, at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid in 2014. During 2019–21, with the Center for Creative Ecologies, and as a Getty research institute scholar, he’s working on a Mellon-funded research project, art exhibition, and book project dedicated to the questions: what comes after the end of the world, and how can we cultivate futures of social justice within capitalist ruins? His new book, Beyond the World’s End: Arts of Living at the Crossing was recently released by Duke University Press.

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