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Black Quantum Futurism ends its artistic residency at the Hangar in Barcelona

12 January 2022

Art and science. The Collide 2020 Award-winning collective will return to CERN this year to complete its residency in Geneva and boost the “CPT Symmetry and Violations” project.

Last December, the Hangar, Visual Arts Production and Research Center of Barcelona, hosted the Philadelphia (USA) Black Quantum Futurism art collective, winner of the Collide 2020 Award given by CERN in partnership with the Barcelona City Council. During their one-month stay, their members, Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips, have been able to get in touch with people and groups from the scientific, artistic and cultural fields of Barcelona in order to advance their project, which brings together art, science and technology, “CPT Symmetry and Violations”. Earlier, the duo began their residency at CERN in Geneva, which due to the COVID-19 was divided into two stages, the second of which will take place in 2022.

The international residency program Collide was created by CERN in 2012 as a framework between the center and cities committed to science. Since 2019, Barcelona has hosted the Collide Award as a result of CERN’s alliance with the City Council, within the framework of the Barcelona Science Plan. This award offers artists the possibility of a combined residency of three months, two of which take place at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN in Geneva), and another month in a creation factory in Barcelona, which in the case of Black Quantum Futurism has been Hangar.

As explained by Lluís Nacenta, director of Hangar during the residency, the collective has had the opportunity to carry out a process of artistic production, in dialogue with local creative groups, and has had the assistance of specialized technicians, prepared to accompany the production process in all its stages, from the approach and budget to the effective realization. In addition, Hangar has accompanied the Collide team in the dialogue Black Quantum Futurism with leading research centers, such as the Institute of High Energy Physics (IFAE) and the Institute of Cosmos Sciences at the University of Barcelona (ICCUB), as well as other agents and artistic groups in the city questioned by the artists’ research. “Hangar has helped to facilitate the development of the project in Barcelona in a situated and contextual way”, sums up Nacenta.

From his point of view, the residency has allowed Black Quantum Futurism to come into contact with the local creative and research context, understood not only as separate research contexts (that of art and that of science) but as connected and interdependent contexts. At the same time, the scientific and artistic groups that have interacted with the resident artists have gained new knowledge by becoming directly involved in an international reference research in the field of art-science hybridizations. All in all, the assessment they make from Hangar is very positive.

As a result of their stay, on December 14th Black Quantum Futurism performed and presented their project “CPT Symmetry and Violations” at the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), in a session open to all citizens. On the occasion of the presentation, the morning of the same day was used to organize a workshop about the interactions of art, science and technology at the MACBA with the participation of scientific, artistic and cultural agents of Barcelona.


Residence at CERN

Prior to their stay in Barcelona, Black Quantum Futurism spent the first part of the residency at CERN. This allowed the artists to give a first push to their project by entering into conversations with professionals in physics, engineering and computing, in order to delve into fields such as the perception of time and find new sources of inspiration in aspects. Such as the visual expression of science or the experiments that are done at the center. “Interweaving quantum physics, ancient African cultural traditions about time and afrofuturism, artists want to develop a new experience of time that alters their linear understanding,” explains Ana Prendes of Arts at CERN in this article on the residence.

The stay at CERN allowed the group to explore major experiments being carried out on the Large Hadron Collider, which revealed the existence of the Higgs boson a decade ago. Black Quantum Futurism was also able to visit the facilities of the Antimatter Factory and had access to the CERN library to expand their knowledge.

The duo covers a wide range of artistic disciplines, including visual arts, film, music and writing. They also use a lot of tools and supports for their creations. As a result of their background and close relationship with the CERN scientific community, after this first stage they created two works that are part of an exhibition in Los Angeles: CP Timeline and a soundscape that incorporates a conversation about time with CERN scientist Wolfgang Lerche. Now, in 2022, Black Quantum Futurism will return to CERN to complete the residency.