15 May 2013, London. Kosmica x Astroculture


I’ll be at the Leiden University Workshop on Space Cooperation next Wednesday night, the 15th of May 2013–and thus will miss Kosmica’s event in London. Too many great things going on! Ah well, still well worth promoting–the concept of Astrofuturism is of particular interest to me. (I am reminded that I need to make public mine and Stephanie Carvin’s co-authored piece on gender and science fiction. Hmmm…)

Creative Commons image added by Jill Stuart
Creative Commons image added by Jill Stuart

(Text below copied from the website here)

Kosmica at The Arts Catalyst, programmed by Nahum Mantra

KOSMICA x Astroculture

Kapwani Kiwanga, Dr Nick Campion

The Arts Catalyst
50-54 Clerkenwell Road
London EC1M 5PS

6.30pm doors, 7-10pm


Our monthly series of social galactic gatherings bringing together those interested in sharing cultural ideas about space, returns to London.

KOSMICA x Astroculture – A night of performance and conversations with Kapwani Kiwanga and Dr Nick Campion

Alexander CT Geppert describes Astroculture as a cultural history of outer space and extra-terrestrial life in the twentieth-century imagination. KOSMICA x Astroculture takes this as a point of departure, focusing on artistic practice centred on the cultural understanding of outer space. This research area brings together space enthusiasts who have wide-ranging interests that include performance, cosmology, Afrofuturism, science fiction literature, mythology and philosophy.

Afrofuturism is a phrase coined in 1995 by cultural critic Mark Dery in his essay Black to the Future, where he links the African American use of science and technology to an examination of space, time, race and culture. He defines Afrofuturism as: “Speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of 20th century technoculture – and, more generally, African American signification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future…”.  As a movement, Afrofuturism began in earnest in the mid-1950s with musician Sun-Ra, whose music blended science fiction, mysticism, African culture (with a particular focus on Egypt) and jazz fusion, all of which coalesced in his 1972 film, Space is the Place.

On Wednesday 15 May, KOSMICA x Astroculture’s performance based lecture, short film screening followed by a conversation with artist Kapwani Kiwangs and Dr Nick Campion will further contextualise practice and cultural cosmology theories around Astroculture.

Kapwani Kiwanga’s films and performance lectures speaks of “transcendent powers, beings and realms,” which she conceive in a scientific way. Her performance will be accompanied by a talk placing her artistic practice within wider debates around Astroculture, Afrofuturism, Magic and Space cultural theory.  Kapwani Kiwanga, a Canadian-born artist based in Paris, works primarily with video, sound and performance. Kiwanga studied Anthropology and Comparative Religions at McGill University, Canada. Her work has won a number of awards, and has been shown widely at film festivals, art institutions, and on international television. She has been an artist in residence at L’école nationale supérieure des Beaux-arts, Le Fresnoy: Studio national des arts contemporains and most recently at MU Foundation in the Netherlands.

Dr Nick Campion is the director of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.  His research interests include the nature of belief, the history and contemporary culture of astrology and astronomy, magic, pagan and New Age beliefs and practices, millenarian and apocalyptic ideas, and the sociology of new religious movements. Before joining Lampeter University in 2007, he was Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religions and Senior Lecturer in History at Bath Spa University. He is on the editorial boards of Correlation, the Journal of Research in Astrology and Archaeoastronomy, and the Journal of Astronomy in Culture. He speaks widely on the nature of belief, magic and cosmology and describes a recent space flight as an externalisation of the internal, imaginal journey to the stars undertaken in esoteric traditions.


6.30 Doors and bar opens and audience takes seat for performance

7pm Kapwani Kiwanga’s performance commences without introduction

7.45pm Introduction

8pm Screening of Sun Ra Repatriation film (excerpt 15 mins)

8.15 – 8.45pm A conversation between Kapwani Kiwanga and Nick Campion

8.45 – 10pm Drinks and music playlist featuring galactic, space age influenced music

This KOSMICA event is guest curated by Jareh Das.

The event will be held on the first floor and there is no lift; please contact The Arts Catalyst to discuss any specific access needs.

The KOSMICA series is curated by Nahum Mantra and The Arts Catalyst, and is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation’s Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space.

Speakers’ websites

Kapwani Kiwanga 

Dr Nick Campion and Trinity St David

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Dr Jill Stuart is an academic based at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is an expert in the politics, ethics and law of outer space exploration and exploitation. She is a frequent presence in the global media (print, radio, television, documentary) and regularly gives lectures around the world. From 2013-2017 she was Editor in Chief of the Elsevier journal Space Policy where she remains on the Editorial Board. She is also on the Board of Advisors of METI International, conducting scientific research into messaging potential extraterrestrial intelligence. She is one of an elite number of people to be endorsed by the UK Home Office as an Exceptional Talent Migrant/ World Leader in her Field. In 2015 she was awarded the prestigious Margaret Mead Award Lecture by the British Science Association in recognition of her cutting edge research. She is trained in both domestic and international mediation and has done consultancy work for the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. She has a sub-specialism in women, peace and security and gender based violence. She is a Trustee of Luton All Women’s Centre.


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