Abstract

Abstract:

This article builds on the critical scholarship that interrogates the racialized logics surrounding hybridity. Temporal framings (recuperating the past, celebrating the present, and idealizing the future) form the basis of this article, which brings together the nexus of hope and despair to analyze the oeuvre of contemporary mixed race artist Saya Woolfalk. In three multiyear, multimedia, and temporally overlapping projects, Woolfalk has created the world of the Empathics, a hybrid race of women able to alter their genetic makeup to fuse with plants. Woolfalk integrates feminist ethnography and Afrofuturism into mediums of video, dance, and textile to bear on the utopian potentials of hybridity. I draw on Kadji Amin’s heuristic of “deidealization” to reveal how the additional ideals of utopia, empathy, and shared ancestry emerge and collapse in the Empathics’ world, arguing that feminist utopian performance necessitates an indelible reckoning with dystopia.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1536-0334
Print ISSN
0160-9009
Pages
pp. 147-177
Launched on MUSE
2021-02-05
Open Access
No
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