Revolutionary Papers

Revolutionary Papers is a transnational research collaboration exploring 20th century periodicals of Leftanti-imperial and anti-colonial critical production. Read More

Sonic Lecture: Revolutionary Records

1960 – 2000

Vinyl Set: Projecting and Shaping Black Futures Through Sound & Album Art

Since the late 1930’s, when Columbia Records art director Alex Steinweiss invented the concept of album covers and cover art, it has become a driving force in shaping popular culture, counter-culture and collective imagination. Before the popularization of television and the advent of the internet, album art was the primary visual accompaniment to sound recordings, and would often times become an inter-textual extension of the music, and the themes and ideas explored within a particular recording. It also provided the primary pre-text for engaging with the sonic. With this performance I aim to highlight and discuss the counter-cultural role of album art in conceiving of a future that is less hostile to black people than the past, and the present. It will explore and analyse album art that inscribes and projects black people into futures with new possibilities of liberation, equality and self-determination. I will draw on, and highlight the works of a multitude of popular sonic and visual artists in the African diaspora, and on the African continent who have contributed to our contemporary understanding of a future-oriented Black imaginary.

Michael Bhatch

Michael Bhatch is a PhD candidate whose scholarship focuses on African expressions of afrofuturism across various modes. He holds a BA degree (English, Linguistics and History), BA (Honours) (Cum Laude) in Linguistics and an MA degree in Socio-linguistics and Media studies. Currently, he teaches Academic Literacy, within the context of Extended Curriculum Programmes, and he […]