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“Born in Flames: Feminist Futures” is a constellation of imagined world-scapes projected by fourteen contemporary artists. Set within the space of an exhibition, the artwork presented is a projection of the artists’ larger visions about futurity. Each section of the show is a microcosmic speculation on what could have been, what is, or what is to come. These worlds are steeped in lessons of our complicated pasts, peppered with the ravages of oppression but also blooming joys. Their work critically examines current struggles for equity by exploring strategies for justice and equality through multifaceted futurisms.

This exhibition borrows its title from the 1983 film, Born in Flames, by artist and activist Lizzie Borden. The film sets forth an essential question within the exhibition: What can the future hold if our present is part of a long-standing cycle of capitalist values? The artists expand on this question through envisioning futures that defy our current oppression or understand that its reality is insurmountable, calling to light the realities of capitalism and patriarchy.

The works posit that futurity and social justice are inextricably connected, ​as writer Walidah Imarisha notes in her introduction to Octavia ​Brood: Science Fiction Stories from the Social Justice Movement​. She says, “Whenever we try to envision a world without war, without violence, without prisons, without capitalism, we are engaging in speculative fictions.” When we envision a world where social justice is no longer a radical idea, but a reality, we reaffirm the bond between futurism and justice.

Born In Flames: Feminist Futures presents works created over the last four decades, bringing together ideas from multi-positional, intersectional, and intergenerational vantage points. The exhibition demonstrates not only the artists’ place within a futurist lineage but also exposes the ongoing impulse to imagine new realities on their own terms.