Clockshop Event: Radio Imagination Launch Party

“I have the kind of imagination that hears. I think of it as radio imagination.” 
– Octavia E. Butler

I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph the Radio Imagination Launch Party last February for Clockshop at their headquarters at elysian. Clockshop’s Radio Imagination is a series of programs and artist commissions exploring the legacy of Octavia E. Butler. The party started out with a call-and-response ritual inspired by the Earthseed religion of Butler’s prophetic novel Parable of the Sower (1993), followed by brief tributes to Butler presented by writers Lisa Bolekaja, Tisa Bryant, Robin Coste Lewis, Rasheedah Phillips, and Yolo Akili Robinson.


Photo: Patti Perret, 1984

Radio Imagination celebrates the life and work of Pasadena science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006). Organized by Clockshop, the program centers on ten contemporary art and literary commissions that explore Butler’s archive at the Huntington Library. New work will premiere alongside performances, film screenings, and literary events throughout the year.” –

For a list of upcoming Radio Imagination events, visit:

clockshop-octavia-2 clockshop-octavia-3Who is Octavia E. Butler?

Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006) was the first Black woman to achieve international prominence as a science fiction writer, and the first and only writer of science fiction to earn a MacArthur ‘genius’ Fellowship.” –

Radio Imagination artists and writers will conduct first-hand research in Butler’s archive at the Huntington Library and create new work based on their research. New poetry and creative nonfiction by Tisa Bryant, Lynell GeorgeRobin Coste Lewis, and Fred Moten will premiere at a public reading event. New contemporary artworks by Laylah Ali, Courtesy the Artists (Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade), Lauren HalseyMendi + Keith Obadike, Connie Samaras, and Cauleen Smith will be presented at an exhibition at Armory Center for the Arts (October 1, 2016–January 7, 2017).” –


Music by DJ Lynnée Denise of WildSeed Cultural Group


Clockshop’s ‘More Heat’ tote is available online here. Half of the proceeds go towards the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship, which helps writers of color get to the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop at UCSD. The tote features handwritten text by Butler from the Octavia E. Butler papers at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.



Select Butler titles from Skylight Books



Cocktails by Mark Hendrix



Forage–themed snacks by elysian

clockshop-octavia-11 clockshop-octavia-12 clockshop-octavia-13


The evening opened with a call-and-response ritual inspired by the Earthseed religion of Butler’s prophetic novel Parable of the Sower (1993), presented by the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network.

clockshop-octavia-15 clockshop-octavia-16


Above: Tribute by Tisa Bryant



Above: Tribute by Rasheedah Phillips



Above: Tribute by Robin Coste Lewis


Above: Tribute by Lisa Bolekaja


Above: Tribute by Yolo Akili Robinson

clockshop-octavia-24 clockshop-octavia-25 What’s Clockshop, you ask?

“Clockshop is a multifaceted arts organization that works at the intersection of politics, urban space, and cultural production to explore the forces that shape our lived environment. We program events and screenings, and produce artist projects and conversations. We are especially interested in bringing people together to share in the strange particularities of our hometown, Los Angeles, and in the global creative practices and politics that influence us. Clockshop is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.” –


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