Staying Power – Black Quantum Futurism, Reclamation: Space-Times

Black Quantum Futurism (Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips)

(Based in Philadelphia)

Interdisciplinary artists

Camae Ayewa: she/her and Rasheedah Phillips: she/they

Instagram: @blackquantumfuturism Twitter: @afrofuturaffair 


Reclamation: Space-Times

Wood, electronic interface, directional speakers, vinyl wrap, and artist collages


Black Quantum Futurism is a world-renowned artist duo whose projects are meaningfully rooted in North Philadelphia. Led by Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips, Black Quantum Futurism brings together “quantum physics, afrofuturism, and Afro-diasporic concepts of time, ritual, text, and sound.” For Staying Power, they proposed a multi-part sound sculpture and installation that builds on their ongoing Community Futures Lab and other related projects that bring together the past, present, and future of the neighborhood into new or reconfigured non-linear relationships. Their project, Reclamation: Space-Times, includes a monumental-sized “Oral Futures Booth” in the shape and form of a Black Grandmother Clock that also serves as an audio recorder that collects and holds memories and future visions  from residents and passersby, alongside nearby “Sonic Shades” accessible through directional speakers that radiate as listeners move toward the “Tree of Life” mosaic within The Village of Arts and Humanities’ Mediation Park.

Prompted by a brief questionnaire, visitors are invited to record their own visions for the futures of housing, land and public space in the community. At the same time, the booth offers memories of housing and land that may have been erased or are at risk of being erased from public and communal memory. Throughout the exhibition, Black Quantum Futurism is collecting  sounds and recordings through the Oral Futures Booth prototype monument and incorporate them into an evolving soundscape, merging archival sounds of the Village and former Ile Ife Humanitarian Center, song snippets, and voices of the neighborhood that plays from the Sonic Shades. Black Quantum Futurism aims “to create an outdoor installation for residents to participate in the reclaiming of space and time (i.e. histories, presents, and futures) within their own neighborhood through the marking, mapping, voicing, and storage of space and time that can continue to be  reclaimed by later residents.” Each sound sculpture is wrapped with collages designed by Black Quantum Futurism, incorporating and interpreting archival images from the Ile Ife Humanitarian Center, the predecessor to The Village at this site. The installation also includes a version of the “Kindred Temporal Library” featuring books, zines, and Housing Futures toolkits. In addition to their installation and accompanying materials, Black Quantum Futurism is also staging  a performance event as a part of the Staying Power performance festival on June 12, 2021.

Artist Statement

Reclamation is defined as the process of claiming something back or of reasserting a right. As the neighborhood surrounding The Village of Arts and Humanities undergoes rapid change over the next several years, Reclamation Time explores the process by which current and former residents can reclaim land, space, time and memory in the neighborhood.   

Through this vision and theme we created an outdoor installation for residents to participate in the space-time reclamations (i.e. histories, presents, and futures) within their own neighborhood through the marking, mapping, and storage of space and time that can later be reclaimed by residents. These spaces and times are both personal and communal, global and universal. The outdoor installation will be an interactive and open space that gives voice to various temporalities (experiences of time), spatialities (experiences of space and place), and identities.

The methodology and lens of the project draws from speculative fiction, oral histories and futures, and BQF theory and practice as tools and language to shape and share past and future narratives, and as tools for community activism and empowerment. Through the context of speculation and Black Quantum Futurism imaginaries, the outdoor installation will be activated by residents as a safe space for visioning and testing of technologies for community sustainability, housing justice, resilience, and resistance.

–Black Quantum Futurism

Artist Bio

Black Quantum Futurism (based in Philadelphia, PA) is an interdisciplinary creative practice between Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips  that weaves quantum physics, afrofuturism, and Afrodiasporic concepts of time, ritual, text, and sound and creating counterhistories and Black quantum womanist futures that challenge exclusionary, mainstream versions of history and future.. Black Quantum Futurism has created a number of community-based projects, performances, experimental music projects, installations, workshops, books, short films, zines, including the award-winning Community Futures Lab and the Black Woman Temporal Portal. BQF Collective is a 2021 CERN Artist Residents, 2021 Knight Art + Tech Fellows, 2018 Velocity Fund Grantee, 2018 Solitude x ZKM Web Resident, 2017 Center for Emerging Visual Artists Fellow, 2017 Pew Fellow, 2016 A Blade of Grass Fellow, and a 2015 artist-in-residence at West Philadelphia Neighborhood Time Exchange. The Collective has presented, exhibited, and performed at Red Bull Arts NY, Chicago Architecture Biennial, Manifesta 13 Biennial, ApexArt NYC, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Vox Populi Gallery, Painted Bride Arts Gallery, Open Engagement, MoMA PS1, ICA London, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more.  


Artwork, concept, and collages: Black Quantum Futurism
Design: William Roy Hodgson, guided by the vision of Black Quantum Futurism
Printing: ASI
Fabrication and installation: John Greig, Stephen Smeltzer, and Justin Geller
Soundscape suggestions: Village Staff and Staying Power Neighborhood Curatorial Fellows

Photo credit: Naomieh Jovin