How Black Storytellers Are Using Xr and Afro-Futurism to Explore Ancestral Identity

How Black Storytellers Are Using Xr and Afro-Futurism to Explore Ancestral Identity
Each year, IndieWire partners with MIT’s Open Documentary Lab to offer a deeper look at Sundance’s New Frontiers work. Here, Master’s Candidate Andrea S. Kim highlights the innovative use of browser-based media by Black storytellers, which are still accessible at the links provided in the article.

While the idea of extended reality (Xr) may evoke traditions of cyberpunk dystopias, at this year’s Sundance New Frontiers, five Black storytellers were leading a shift to place cultural memory and ancestral knowledge at the center of designing collective futures. “Secret Garden” and “Traveling the Intertitium with Octavia Butler” are exemplary pieces that leverage interactive, browser-based media (WebXR) to challenge our current notions of futurity while also demonstrating the potential for Xr when led by Black creators.

“Our stories are algorithms,” artist Stephanie Dinkins suggests in the descriptive text for “Secret Garden, an interactive web experience (available here) and in-person
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