The Last Blues Song of a Lost Afronaut - film launched

Posted on Thu 11 May 2017
Afronaut Femi as imagined by Drojan Visuals

Afronaut Femi by Drojan Visuals

We are delighted to share a short film documenting the work developed by Edson Burton, during his recent Artist Residency at Pervasive Media Studio.

(Film created by Drew Cox)

The Last Blues Song of a Lost Afronaut is an immersive theatre piece in which protagonist Afronaut Femi travels through space in search of life on other planets. After landing on a desolate world she recreates the last survivor Maya, an extra-terrestrial the like of which she has never seen before, a White girl. What they learn about and from each other, irrevocably alters who they are.

Edson arrived at Watershed with this idea. An idea inspired by his frustration of feeling locked in a dialogue that doesn’t move us forward as a society. A dialogue that focuses on the binary of race and the binary of political ideologies that don’t actually vision a new way of being in a different space. Through this work he asks:

“What is the narrative that creates a new kind of consciousness, an honest one, that gets us to a point where we can think differently about where we want to be.”

Provoking new dialogue by collectively imagining a different space is integral to his vision of this work. 

Edson conceived of The Last Blues Song of a Lost Afronaut in 2013, but has never had the time, space or support to make it a reality. Watershed’s Artist in Residence programme offered him this important opportunity. With work space at Pervasive Media Studio, a network of peers, plus technical, critical and financial support, the residency offered Edson the chance to fully focus on developing the piece. He experimented with technology exploring ways in which it could enhance the narrative and audience experience, he developed the aesthetic for the costume, the look and feel of the spacecraft and planets, and brought together an amazing team of artists and designers who worked with him to stage a live trailer at Jacobs Wells Baths in January 2017. The trailer tested excerpts of the performance with a live audience, and concluded with a valuable discussion with attendees around future development of the work. Edson says:

"The residency could not have come at a more perfect moment in my life and I could not have found a more nurturing environment. 'Techies' 'geeks' words I have heard used externally to describe the Studio community – offer less than a third of the story. I have rarely laughed so hard as in my time in the Studio, nor experienced such a fluid relationship between the personal and professional. The Studio is a fantastic 'play' cum 'work' environment. I have been overwhelmed by the advice and interest in my project, and have likewise been inspired by the work of fellow residents. The Studio has raised the bar on my practice, and accelerated my self-development at a perfect time in my career."

Edson is now working hard to raise support to produce the full piece, building on learning gathered during the residency. We’re delighted to have helped him kick start this original work and are continuing to support him to create a full immersive performance.

You can learn more about the work by reading Edson’s project journal here. If you are interested in becoming our next Artist in Residence, we’re now open for applications. More details here.