I’m really obsessed with the essay by Fredric Jameson called Progress Versus Utopia; or, Can We Imagine the Future? Basically, he’s thinking of this idea of science fiction and how it pre-determines as a society what we end up living out. He gives examples of J.G. Ballard, Stanley Kubrick films, and how aesthetically if we keep pushing an image, we keep seeing something, then maybe that’s how we start performing ourselves, or the way we think things should be.
When I started out making work, I always had this feeling that I had the power to create reality. And not in a way where it’s like a reality in your head, like fantasy, but by making work that people view and take on. I always felt like there was a very strong power in making representation. Growing up, my images of Black actors — the Black films that I wasn’t seeing — that’s what I wanted to make. That’s what I wanted to be, like the way that Jameson [supposes that] if you write a science fiction novel that is famous enough, it will predetermine the way the future looks. I think I try to do that with my work. I think a lot of the times in my work, I’m trying to inform viewers of the kind of viewers they can be. Like if you see a work, like “David,” who is actively doing something about his missing limb, about the trauma in real time, maybe watching that will give you some sort of idea of what you can do as a viewer, or what you can reject as a viewer.