The Lake Before the Sun Was Born: Archive and Spacetime

The Lake Before the Sun Was Born: Archive and Spacetime

Chaired by artist and researcher Onyeka Igwe, David Aruquipa Pérez and Grace Dillon discussed oral history traditions and the roles of the archive and spacetimes in knowledge preservation and advocating for minorities. Speaking on their practices as authors, archivists and activists, participants expanded on research on pre- and post-colonial queerness in Bolivia and beyond, and placemaking for and recording of ethnic minorities in the Western and diasporic context. They expanded on strands of speculative fiction emerging from the exhibition Amaru’s Tongue: Daughter, and touched on world endings both as possible futures and already past events, as well as the importance of science fiction to Indigenous understandings of spacetime and the possibilities of imagining otherwise. 

Programmed by Ignota Books and Auto Italia in cooperation with NTS Radio and held 2-4 November 2021. This programme was made possible with the support of Goethe Institut London and Canada House. All profits from tickets were donated to Land In Our Names, a grassroots Black-led collective committed to reparations in Britain by connecting land and climate justice with racial justice.

David Aruquipa Pérez is a human rights activist, member of queer activist collective Familia Galán, current president of the LGBT Collective of Bolivia, and president of the Board of Directors of Comunidad Diversidad. Aruquipa Perez is also author of several books, including La China Morena: Memoria Hístorica Travesti, and co-authored Memorias Colectivas: Miradas a la historia del Movimiento TLGB en Bolivia [Collective Memories: A Look at the History of the LGBT Movement in Bolivia], with Paula Estenssoro Velaochaga, and Pablo C. Vargas. He is an archivist of photographs documenting queer historical and contemporary presence in Indigenous nations and Bolivia, with a particular focus on ‘fiestas populares’ (carnivals) and the popular costume of La China Morena. Aruquipa Pérez argues that this costume, which has gained wide popularity among carnival-goers, was created by trans people. He and other Bolivian activists have focused on bringing visibility to sexual and gender diversity in Bolivia, hoping this visibility will lead to increased social acceptance and political representation.

Grace L. Dillon (Anishinaabe with family, friends, and relatives from Bay Mills Nation and Garden River Nation with Aunties and Uncles also from the Saulteaux Nation) is a Professor in the Indigenous Nations Studies Department in the School of Gender, Race, and Nations and Affiliated Professor at English and Women, Gender, and Sexualities Departments at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches courses on a range of interests including Indigenous Futurisms, Queer Indigenous Studies, Gender, Race, and Nations Theories and Methodologies courses, Climate and Environmental Justice(s) from Indigenous Perspectives, Reparations Justice, Resurgence Justice, Science Fiction, Indigenous Cinema, Popular Culture, Race and Social Justice, and early modern literature. She is the Senior editor of the upcoming Routledge Handbook of (Alternative) Futurisms including areas such as Afrofuturism, African Futurisms, Indigenous Futurisms, Latinx Futurisms, Asian Futurisms, Gulf Futurisms and BIPOC Queer and (Dis) ability Futurisms, (forthcoming 2021). She is the editor of Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction (University of Arizona Press, 2012) and Hive of Dreams: Contemporary Science Fiction from the Pacific Northwest (Oregon State University Press, 2003). Her work appears in diverse journals including The Journal of Science Fiction Film and Television; Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction; Extrapolation; The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts; The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television; Paradoxa, issues Africa SF (2013) and SF Now (2014); Science Fiction Studies; and Renaissance Papers. (2001-2021 ongoing).

Onyeka Igwe is an artist and researcher working between cinema and installation. Through her work, Onyeka is animated by the question – how do we live together? – with particular interest in the ways the sensorial, spatial and non-canonical ways of knowing can provide answers to this question. Her first solo exhibition, THE REAL STORY IS WHAT'S IN THAT ROOM, opens at Mercer Union in Toronto this November. Onyeka’s video works have been screened at Artists’ Film Club: Black Radical Imagination, ICA, London, 2017; Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh, 2020, and at film festivals internationally including the London Film Festival, 2015 and 2020; Rotterdam International, Netherlands, 2018, 2019 and 2020; Edinburgh Artist Moving Image, 2016; Images Festival, Canada, 2019, and the Smithsonian African American film festival, USA, 2018. Solo projects include Corrections, with Aliya Pabani, Trinity Square Video, Toronto, Canada, 2018, and There Were Two Brothers, Jerwood Arts, 2019. Recent group projects include KW Production Series, Berlin, Germany, 2020, New Labor Movements, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco, USA, [POST] Colonial Bodies II, CC Matienzo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2019, there’s something in the conversation that is more interesting than the finality of (a title), The Showroom, London, UK, 2018; and World Cup!, articule, Montreal, Canada, 2018.

The programme has been made possible with the support of Goethe Institut London and Canada House.

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