Two hands with an acorn-like item in between

Speculative Futures, Present Imaginations

March 1, 2021
April 30, 2021

Speculative Futures, Present Imaginations complements the annual conference of the Octavia E. Butler Literary Society, presented online and co-sponsored by the Otte Initiative on Women's Education and the Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women at St.Catherine University, in honor of International Women’s Day. This year’s conference, The Confluence: Octavia E. Butler at theIntersection of Cultural Critique and Climate Collapse, takes place March 6-7, 2021, and recognizes the work of Butler through scholarship, discussion, community engagement and art.

Butler’s work, which falls mainly in the genre of speculative fiction, has remained startlingly relevant for decades, and even more so in recent years, as our national and global communities wrestle with issues of climate change, polarizing politics and racist violence. Today, Butler’s extraordinary imaginings of future realities appear less speculative and ever more present. The Octavia E. Butler Society explains:

“Octavia E. Butler’s work continues to be a catalyst for scholars, artists, and activists to engage contemporary issues that are shaped by our nation’s legacies of colonialism and capitalism. Offering visions of apocalypse shepherded by diverse characterizations of leadership, much of Butler’s work urges aspirational engagement with the myriad dimensions of our current cultural polarization and the devastating consequences of climate collapse. Her critical representations of the environment, sexuality, race, gender, politics, and many other topics have established her as a revolutionary thinker, and her influence cannot be contained by the traditional categories and boundaries in which knowledge is typically organized.”

To create this show, The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery announced an open call for art from artists exploring any of the following themes: Afrofuturism, anti-racism, alternate theologies and spiritualities, cyborgs and the posthuman, climate change and collapse, community organization, disability studies, Indigenous sovereignty, institutional transformation, LGBTQIA+ explorations, mapping and cartography, migration, pleasure activism, utopian and dystopian imaginings. Artists were encouraged to submit 1-3 images of their work, as well as an artist statement explaining how their work relates to the exhibition. While the show intends to be as inclusive as possible, all images were subject to technical and contextual curation by gallery director Nicole Watson.

Exhibition image courtesy of St. Catherine University student Karla Scherber, Untitled, oil on canvas, 16" x 20".

Video Gallery

In the Exhibition

Oriol Arnedo

Unknown Unknowns

audiovisual (documentary-style film)

Narrated by Richard Collins-Moore

Music by Adri Mena

Emily Gordon

Lilac Wine

video projection, salt piles, drip irrigation system, water, pond pump, canvas pillows with dirt, I Vidi Intera music by Alijah Goetting

Emily Gordon

Have Salt Within Yourselves

video projection, acrylic tray, water

Benny Olk

End of Summer 2.21.21

performance & video

Contact the artist with questions or to arrange a one-on-one or small group performance: