“Future Surf” origins

September 18, 2022

Future Surf Logo in white

Future Surf is a movement for black exploration and fluidity expressed through cultural programming, art, and emerging tech.

The ocean is calling all of us to realign and appreciate its abundance, its power, its peace, and its necessity in our lives.

I spent the first decade of my life in the Midwestern United States, particularly in Minnesota and Kansas along the Mississippi River. From far away the ocean and all its mystique presented itself as a portal to endless possibilities. The ocean and the way of being that it inspired became the goal.

I spent my entire adult life and the bulk of my time as an artist in Norfolk, VA. The sheer mass and might of the ocean now seemed like a giant obstacle; a reminder of how close, yet far the rest the world and all of it’s wondrous experiences really were.

For a black American born in the Midwest to a culture in which swimming was never a priority and one whom would develop a fear of drowning as a result of earlier life experiences, my detachment from water and the lessons I’d have learned from studying it have permeated throughout my life.

From participating in the artistic scene of Hampton Roads, Virginia, I’d noticed the similarities of this detachment in others. It was as if many of us had the keys to the world, but were stuck at it’s entrance.

“Why see the world, when you have the beach” – Frank Ocean

In 2019, I became enthralled with an effort to reinvigorate myself creatively and dove deeply into exploring, through reading and listening, the artistic, cultural, and political movements of past and present from black and brown creators in seasides across the globe.

It was on this path that I noticed a thread in the sand. When I began to pull on that thread, I noticed it was linking us all. From hearing the faint and sometimes apparent similarities between cultures across the globe pre-internet I was led to hone in on the many seams in what we’ve been creating in present day.

There are many reasons for these associations. The spirit of our people has been spread across the globe through globalization, modern travel, trade, the internet, and slavery. But, seeing myself and the people of my locale within the creations of artists in West Africa, Brazil, and elsewhere made me imagine the ocean as a portal once more.

Sonically, the world became much smaller. The speed at which these similarities sprung up became less and less delayed as if we were now interlinked in a way that allowed us to see similar visions of the future.

How do the intentional applications of these symphyses appear, feel, and sound?

How can we embody the spirit of the ocean in our daily experiences?

This is the thread that I needed to pull. Hence, the formation of Future Surf Labs, and it’s series of global research and curation experiments.