Tuning into the Quantum: A Vibrational Exchange Between Karen Barad and Black Quantum Futurism

Tuning into the Quantum: A Vibrational Exchange Between Karen Barad and Black Quantum Futurism

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

6:30pm - Doors
7:00pm - Program Starts

View our FAQ page for more info, or contact us at [email protected] with any accommodation requests.

Seated program
All ages

N95 masks are required
For the safety of our immunocompromised attendees and artists, we require all participants to wear N95 masks for this event, unless actively drinking.

Join renowned interdisciplinary theorist Prof. Karen Barad and visionary artists, Rasheedah Phillips and Camae Ayewa of Black Quantum Futurism, for an evening of conversation and sound exploring material quantum temporalities.

Through the lens of their practice and in celebration of shared points of convergence, Rasheedah and Karen reclaim the radical potential contained within quantum physics. In doing so they trouble the dominant narratives and violence shaping the present, from the next iteration of quantum technologies to Black experience and life more broadly. Accompanied by sound created by Camae, Karen and Rasheedah will highlight the im/possibility for erasure and how the past and future can be redeemed within the present.

This event is curated by Lucy Rose Sollitt and commissioned by the Goethe-Institut in San Francisco, Ireland (Dublin), London and Beijing. It takes place with the generous partnership of Gray Area. Tuning into the Quantum is the last event of the Living in a Quantum State programme which this year transitioned into “Studio Quantum” - A new international events and artist-in-residence programme from the Goethe-Institut, exploring emerging quantum technologies through the lens of art.


Prof. Karen Barad

Karen Barad is Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies, Philosophy, and History of Consciousness at the University of California at Santa Cruz. They are also an affiliate in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. Barad’s Ph.D. is in theoretical particle physics and quantum field theory. They held a tenured appointment in a physics department before moving into more interdisciplinary spaces. Barad’s research focuses on the relationship between science and questions of justice.They are the author of Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Duke University Press, 2007) and numerous other works in the fields of physics, philosophy, political theory, science studies, decolonial studies, and feminist, queer, and trans theory. Their research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. Barad is a co-founder of the UCSC Science & Justice Research Center and the Science & Justice Graduate Training Program.

Black Quantum Futurism (Rasheedah Philips and Camae Ayewa)

Black Quantum Futurism (BQF) is an interdisciplinary practice founded by Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips that synthesizes quantum physics with Afrodiasporic principles and ontologies of time, space, ritual, text, and sound, yielding an innovative framework for the creation of counterhistories and alternate futures. Rooted in a commitment to challenge mainstream narratives, BQF actively confronts exclusionary perspectives of history and the future, offering critical alternatives that uplift Black experiences and possibilities. The collective has been instrumental in the conceptualization and execution of an array of community-based projects, performances, experimental music projects, immersive installations, educational workshops, published books, short films, and a diverse range of zines. Two seminal initiatives by Black Quantum Futurism include the award-winning Community Futures Lab, which serves as an interactive platform for communal storytelling and speculative planning, and the Black Women Temporal Portal, aimed at amplifying the often-overlooked narratives of Black women through a variety of media. Black Quantum Futurism's art, writing, and music have been nationally and internationally recognized. They were honored as 2022 Creative Capital Fellows, while also receiving the distinction of being 2020 CERN Artist Residents. Additional fellowships and grants include the 2021 Knight Art + Tech Fellowship, the 2018 Velocity Fund Grant, and the 2017 Center for Emerging Visual Artists Fellowship, among others. BQF was further acknowledged as a 2017 Pew Fellow, reflecting their sustained impact in the artistic community. The reach of BQF's work extends to prestigious global platforms where they have presented, exhibited, and performed. These include REDCAT, Counterpublic 2023, Red Bull Arts NY,  Chicago Architecture Biennial, Village of Arts and Humanities, ApexArt NYC, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. International showcases also feature prominently, with installations at documenta fifteen, Manifesta 13, ICA London and more.


Goethe-Institut San Francisco

The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. We promote knowledge of the German language abroad and foster international cultural cooperation. We convey a comprehensive image of Germany by providing information about cultural, social and political life in our nation. Our cultural and educational programmes encourage intercultural dialogue and enable cultural involvement. They strengthen the development of structures in civil society and foster worldwide mobility.

Studio Quantum

The Studio Quantum residency programme and accompanying event series will connect artists and audiences with partners in technology, culture, science and education to foster an open dialogue on the topic of quantum technologies and the arts. Studio Quantum builds on the success of the “Living in a Quantum State” project, which through events in Dublin, Berlin, London, Beijing and San Francisco, engaged audiences in conversations around the future impact of quantum technologies.

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