Butler, a native of Pasadena, left an indelible mark on the world of Science Fiction, and continues to serve as inspiration, 10 years after her untimely death. The work of Butler, a Hugo and Nebula award winner and a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Grant, is considered one of the many foundations for the formation of the genre and movement of Afrofuturism.
For “Radio Imagination,” the yearlong series celebrating her work and legacy, artists and writers will be given access to an archive of her work at the Huntington Library and will create works based on their research. The archives include short stories written by Butler at the age of 12, as well some of her favorite quotes. The series gets its title from Butler’s own observation that “I have the kind of imagination that hears. I think of it as radio imagination.”
Handwritten notes on inside cover of one of Octavia E. Butler’s commonplace books, 1988. Octavia E. Butler papers. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
According to a press release,
Radio Imagination celebrates the life and work of Pasadena science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006). Organized by Clockshop, the program centers on ten contemporary art and literary commissions that explore Butler’s archive at the Huntington Library. New work will premiere alongside performances, film screenings, and literary events throughout the year.
Recognition of Butler’s influence across artistic disciplines and her contribution to the Los Angeles cultural landscape is long overdue. Radio Imagination will bridge Butler’s groundbreaking fiction with contemporary conversations about the future of Los Angeles. The series will span 2016, the tenth anniversary of the writer’s death.
Radio Imagination artists and writers will conduct first-hand research in Butler’s archive at the Huntington Library and create new work based on their research. New poetry and creative nonfiction by Tisa Bryant, Lynell George, Robin Coste Lewis, and Fred Moten will premiere at a public reading event. New contemporary artworks byLaylah Ali, Courtesy the Artists (Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade), Mendi + Keith Obadike, Connie Samaras, and Cauleen Smith will be presented at an exhibition at Armory Center for the Arts (October 1, 2016–January 7, 2017).
“Radio Imagination” will begin with an opening party on February 27, for a list of events, go HERE.