imaginaries of the future

Last Updated on April 9, 2021

Kang Seung Lee,  Untitled (Derek Jarman’s Garden) , 2018. Graphite on goatskin vellum, 5 x 7 inches. 

Kang Seung Lee, Untitled (Derek Jarman’s Garden), 2018. Graphite on goatskin vellum, 5 x 7 inches. 

How can we move beyond the territorialized and rigid formation of traditional identities to speak instead of unfolding identities engaged in multiple simultaneous processes of collective becoming? How does migration contribute to the construction of new and unfolding imaginaries of the future? How do we imagine our survival? This photography style is imperative.

Reflecting on these questions, artist Beatriz Cortez has organized a symposium to foster an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and imaginaries of possible futures. Engaging a multicultural group of philosophers, cultural critics, art historians, political theorists, and artists, conversations will unpack the future as a concept that contains potentialities for the construction of nomadic collective subjectivities across borders, cultures, space, and time. Very surreal.

This two-day event will take place at California State University, Northridge on Monday, March 12, and at Beta Main on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. 

Confirmed speakers include: An YountaeNao BustamanteAndy CampbellDouglas CarranzaBeatriz CortezKyle Bellucci Johanson, Kang Seung LeeHéctor LeyvaNancy PérezRigo 23Pablo José RamírezRicardo Roque Baldovinos, and Pavithra Prasad.

Imaginaries of the Future is made possible thanks to the support by the Department of Central American Studies and the Central American Research and Policy Institute (CARPI) at California State University, Northridge and The Main Museum in Los Angeles.


9:30 – 10:30am
Welcoming Remarks / Bienvenida
Beatriz Cortez, California State University Northridge

Captured on film.

Video / Performance:
Nao Bustamante, University of Southern California, Roski School of Art
“Silver and Gold”
“Plata y oro”

10:30 – 11:30am
Yountae An, California State University, Northridge

“Abyssal Becoming: Creolizing Future from the Archipelago”
“Devenir abismal: la Creolización futura desde el Archipiélago”

Pablo José Ramírez, Independent Curator
“A Vibrant Silence (Infrasound and Ethno-Futurability)”
“Un silencio vibrante (infrasonido y etno-futurabilidad)” Excellent photography guide.

11:30am – 12:30pm
Kang Seung Lee, Independent Artist
“Untitled (Derek Jarman’s Garden): A Reflection about Disease, Death, and Survival”
“Sin título (El jardín de Derek Jarman): Una reflección sobre la enfermedad, la muerte y la sobrevivencia”

Beatriz Cortez, California State University, Northridge
“The Memory of Plants: Genetics, Migration, and the Construction of the Future”
“La memoria de las plantas: Genética, migración y la construcción del futuro”

12:30 – 2:00pm
Break for lunch / Receso para el almuerzo

2:00 – 3:15pm
Ricardo Roque Baldovinos, Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas,” El Salvador

“Pensar la ciudad del futuro, las paradojas del proyecto urbano de la modernización autoritaria en El Salvador”
“To Imagine the City of the Future, Paradozes of the Urban Project of Authoritarian Modernization in El Salvador”

Douglas Carranza Mena, California State University, Northridge:
“Imaginaries of Space and the Construction of the Future”
“Imaginarios del espacio y la construcción del futuro”

Kyle Bellucci Johanson, Chicago Art Institute
“The Anti-Panopticon”
“El anti-ponóptico”

3:30 – 4:45pm
Andy Campbell, University of Southern California, Roski School of Art

“Trust: Probable, Public”
“La confianza: Probable, pública”

Nancy Perez, Arizona State University:
“Thinking through the Figure of the (mother’s) Body and Its Labor”
“Pensando a través de la figura del cuerpo (de la madre) y de su trabajo”

Héctor Leyva, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras
“El Arte de Adán Vallecillo: Una mirada posthumana en los mundos hiperdegradados”
“The Works of Adán Vallecillo: A Posthuman Look at the Hyperdegraded Worlds”

4:45 – 5:00pm

5:00 – 6:00pm
Pavithra Prasad, California State University, Northridge

“Notes on Terrestrial Performance of Outer Space”
“Notas sobre el Performance Terrestre en el Espacio Exterior”

Rigo23, Independent Artist
“¿Dónde vive el futuro?”
“Where Does the Future Live?”


An Yountaespecializes in religions of the Americas with a particular emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean. His research focuses on the construction of religion, race, and political identity in colonial and postcolonial Americas. His book, The Decolonial Abyss (Fordham University Press, 2016) rethinks the relation between mysticism and politics by putting neoplatonic mystical thought into conversation with continental philosophy and Afro-Caribbean philosophy. He is on the editorial board of Horizontes Decoloniales, and is currently co-editing a book on race, coloniality, and philosophy of religion. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophical Studies of Religion from Drew University, and is professor of Religious Studies and Central American Studies at California State University, Northridge where he teaches courses on world religions, religion and race, Religion and Migration, and Central American religious movements.

Nao Bustamante is an internationally known artist, residing in Los Angeles. Her work encompasses performance art, video installation, filmmaking, sculpture, and writing. Bustamante has presented in galleries, museums, universities, and underground sites all around the world. She has exhibited, among other locales, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the New York Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Sundance International Film Festival/New Frontier, El Museo del Barrio Museum of Contemporary Art, First International Performance Biennial, Deformes in Santiago, Chile and the Kiasma Museum of Helsinki. She is alum of the San Francisco Art Institute, New Genres Program, and the Skowhegen School of Painting and Sculpture. Currently she is Professor of Art and Vice-Dean of Art at the USC Roski School of Art and Design.

Andy Campbell is an Assistant Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Southern California’s Roski School of Art and Design, as well as an independent critic and curator. His work explores the identity and communitarian-based politics of sexuality, race, and feminism, addressing how these manifest in visual culture. His art criticism and academic writing has been published in exhibition catalogs as well as ArtforumPastelegramGLQ, and Aperture, among others. In 2014-2016 he was critic-in-residence at the Core Program in Houston, Texas. He holds a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Texas in Austin.

Douglas Carranza holds a Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His work explores from an interdisciplinary perspective the concepts of space, citizenship, civil society, sovereignty, and modes of governing in Central America, particularly within indigenous communities in El Salvador. His current research examines heterogeneity, connections, and temporality in the Central American diaspora in the United States. He is a member of the editorial board of Istmo: Revista Virtual de Estudios Literarios y Culturales Centroamericanos. He is the chair of the Department of Central American Studies at California State University, Northridge.

Beatriz Cortez is a Los Angeles-based artist and scholar born in El Salvador. Her work explores simultaneity, life in different temporalities and different versions of modernity, particularly in relation to memory and loss in the aftermath of war and the experience of immigration, and in exploration of possible futures. Her current research interests include nomadism, simultaneity, and multiple temporalities in the dislocated experiences of populations in movement. She has written on the aesthetics of cynicism in Central America, racism and culture, indigenous rights, and memory. She holds an MFA in Art from the California Institute of the Arts and a Ph.D. in Latin American literature from Arizona State University. She teaches in the Department of Central American Studies at California State University, Northridge.

Kyle Bellucci Johanson received his MFA from CalArts in 2016.  Currently he is a museum educator at the Art Institute of Chicago, collaborating with a cohort of public school teachers across the city to develop arts pedagogy centered on metacognition, critical discourse, and coalition building. His practice has centered on transdisciplinarity as a site for expanding critical discourse and political imaginaries through architectures of performance, pedagogy, objects, moving image, and assembly. Much of his practice is dedicated to ongoing collaborations. His work has recently been on view at Sullivan Galleries at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois), ALTES FINANZAMT (Berlin, Germany), Centro Cultual Metropolitano – MET Quito (Quito, Ecuador), The Bindery Projects (St Paul, Minnesota), and Human Resources (Los Angeles, California).

Kang Seung Lee is a multidisciplinary artist who was born in South Korea and now lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He has had solo exhibitions at Pitzer College Art Galleries in Claremont, California; ArtPACE in San Antonio, Texas; Commonwealth and Council and Los Angeles Contemporary Archive in Los Angeles; Centro Cultural Border in Mexico City, as well as group exhibitions at the Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNCG in North Carolina; SOMArts in San Francisco; LAXART in Los Angeles; Raymond Gallery at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, among others. His work has been reviewed and featured in ArtforumThe New York TimesNew York MagazineArtnet MagazineLA WeeklyHyperallergicArtillery MagazineKCET Artbound, and Glasstire. He received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and is currently Visiting Faculty at Art Center College of Design.

Héctor Leyva holds a doctorate in Latin American Literature from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. His research interests include literature, historical and cultural approaches to culture, oral literatures, and others. He is the author of Imaginarios (sub)terráneos. Estudios literarios y culturales de Honduras (Tegucigalpa, 2009). In 2006 he received an honorary mention in the Premio Andrés Bello Memoria y Pensamiento Iberoamericano for his work titled Derrumbe del mundo antiguo / nacimiento del mundo Nuevo. En torno a la oralidad de los pueblos tradicionales. In 2011-2012 he was Fulbright Visiting Scholar in Washington, D.C. He is professor of Literature at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras.

Nancy Pérez is a doctoral candidate in Justice Studies at Arizona State University. Her research interests include the experience of migration, labor, and theories on the body, pain, and transgenerational memory. She is currently completing her dissertation on Central American and Mexican domestic workers and their children in Los Angeles. She focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the complexities of domestic work, current legal processes that are reshaping cultures of resistance, the ways these conditions influence experiences of self, community, and the production of memory across borders and generations. 

Rigo 23 lives in Los Angeles and works globally. He has exhibited his work internationally for more than 20 years, placing murals, paintings, sculptures, and tile work in public situations where viewers are encouraged to examine their relationship to their community and their role as unwitting advocates of public policy. Rigo’s works live both as artworks and thoughtful public interventions and have been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) and the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles; the New Museum and Artists Space in New York City; and the Museo de Arte Contemporanea in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, among others. He received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA from Stanford University. 

Pablo José Ramírez is a curator, political theorist, and writer based in London and Guatemala. His research explores notions of translation, silence and future, engaging in conversations within postcolonial thought and different forms of memory. Ramirez looks for politically engaged practices, which tense the limits between non-rational and scientific knowledge. Between 2011 and 2014 he was the Executive Director and Curator at Ciudad de la Imaginación in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. He was co-curator of the XIX Bienal de Arte Paiz in Guatemala, and in more recent years he has been working internationally as an independent curator. His curatorial projects include: This Might Be a Place for Hummingbirds (CCS, Glasgow, UK, co-curator); The Party of Others by Terike Haapoja (CI, Guatemala); Guatemala Después (Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, PARSONS, New York, co-curator); Meeting the Universe (Tranzitdisplay, Prague), and Inquieta Imagen 2017 (Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Costa Rica). Ramirez is working on a book based on enigma and post-ethnic thought. He is also working on an online journal and platform for planetary conversations as an imaginative archive of futures. The project will be launched by the end of 2018.

Ricardo Roque Baldovinos holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Literatures from the University of Minnesota. He is the chair of the Philosophy Department at the Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas” in El Salvador, and has been visiting scholar at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, the University of California Davis, the University of Richmond, the Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala, the Universidad de Costa Rica, and the Universidad de Chile. He is the editor of Revista Realidad published by the Universidad Centroamericana in El Salvador. He is the author of the books Arte y parte (San Salvador, 2001) and Niños de un planeta extraño (San Salvador, 2012), as well as numerous papers on Central American Literature and Cultural Studies. He is co-editor of Tensiones de la modernidad (2010), the second volume of a History of Central American Literatures.

Pavithra Prasad is a performer, musician, and playwright, playing across genres ranging from science fiction theatre and performance ethnography, to folk music fusions and un-passable drag. Her research deals with the intersections of race, class, gender, and cultural identity in performances of nightlife and transnational subcultures. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to communication studies, she employs critical race theory postcolonial studies, and theories of mobility to explore how we understand and engage cultural differences across borders and aesthetic practices. She holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and is Professor of Communication Studies at California State University, Northridge.