KOSMICA x Astroculture

Illustrated image of an astronaut floating in space.
Kosmica at The Arts Catalyst, programmed by Nahum Mantra

Each KOSMICA session is unique: bringing together the cosmically curious and culturally quirky space community for a social mix of art–space programmes - a film screening, performance or live concert with a short presentation, talk and debate about alternative and cultural uses of space.

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

7pm Kapwani Kiwanga’s performance commences without introduction

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

8.15pm A conversation between Kapwani Kiwanga and Nick Campion


This KOSMICA event is guest curated by Jareh Das.

The KOSMICA series was conceived by Nahum Mantra and 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