2021-22: Surge: Explorations in Afrofuturism

Hesterian Musicism, tinypistol, and Pamela Z
Hesterian Musicism, tinypistol, and Pamela Z

Surge is a multidimensional and transcultural 2021/2022 initiative on Afrofuturism spearheaded by composer/performer Karlton Hester, choreographer Gerald Casel, and artist Aaron Samuel Mulenga. Utilizing the arts, science, and technology to imagine—and create— a world where African-descended peoples and cultures can live and flourish, the concept of Afrofuturism has gripped the imaginary of creatives from around the globe, from the sonic space travel of cosmic philosopher and jazz giant Sun Ra to Mukuka Nkoloso’s training of “Afronauts” at the Zambia National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy. With the pandemic and social unrest surging across the United States and across the globe, this extended program of music and dance performances, film screenings, and discussions, brings together artists and thinkers to creatively engage and foster the growing Afrofuturist movement for liberation and the restructuring of society free of racism.

Surge is made possible by generous support from the Nion McEvoy Family Trust, the National Endowment from the Arts, UCHRI, UCSC Academic Senate, Rowland and Pat Rebele, Porter College, and annual donors to the Institute of the Arts and Sciences.


May 6, 2022, 7-9 pm: Music Performance
Hesterian Musicism with special guests
Digital Arts Research Center 108

May 8, 2022, 2-3:30 pm: Dance Performance
Not About Race Dance Performance by GERALDCASELDANCE
Digital Arts Research Center 108

May 9, 2022, 10-11:30 am: Panel Discussion
FESTAC '77 & Liberation w/ Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi & Ntone Edjabe
Online Event: REGISTER 

May 9, 2022, 7-9 pm: Music Performance
Nishat Khan and David Murray in Concert
Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz

May 14, 2022, 7-9 pm: Music Performance
Pamela Z in Concert
Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz

NEW DATE: May 16, 2022, 12-1:30 pm: Panel Discussion
Freedom and the Afronauts w/ Larry Achiampong, Nuotama Frances Bodomo, & Aaron Samuel Mulenga
Online Event: REGISTER

May 22, 2022: 2-3:30 pm: Dance Performance and Film Screening
Raissa Simpson and Maurya Kerr/ tinypistol 
Digital Arts Research Center 108

May 28, 2022: 7-8:30 pm:  Multimedia Performance
OYSTERKNIFE: Gabriele Christian and Chibueze Crouch  
Digital Arts Research Center 108

Past Event Archives

October 14, 2021, 4-5:30 pm: Online Event
Afrofuturism Then and Now w/ India Cooke, Mandjou Kone, Emmanuel Etolo, Charles Tolliver, and Nelson Harrison (Moderated by Aaron Samuel Mulenga)

November 2, 2021, 7-9 pm: Film Screening
Sun Ra, Space Is the Place and Janelle Monae, Dirty Computer
Porter College Quad, UC Santa Cruz

December 4, 2021, 7:30-9 pm: Concert
Africa/ Brass at 60 w/ Charles Tolliver
Mainstage, UCSC Theater Arts Center 

Thursday, October 14, 2021 to Saturday, May 28, 2022