World-Building with the Afrofuturist Podcast

Wednesday, May 22
7 p.m. (doors at 6:30)
NeueHouse Hollywood

Led by AFPC host Ahmed Best, AFPC co-creator Lonny J. Avi Brooks, and game designer Eli Kosminsky, we’ll play-test a new game for radical imagining, where the goal is to co-speculate in visions of equitable futures. Anthony Weeks, "the Public Listener," will live-document our progress in graphic form.

This event is free and open to the public. Please join us!

For questions about accessibility or to request accommodation, contact Lacey Wozny at or 913-669-8705.

Seating is limited; registration is required to attend. Please RSVP here.

Afro-Rithms from the Future is a futures forecasting tool, but we’re going to use it to build a world we want to live in.” 

— Ahmed Best, Hyperallergic (May 21, 2019)


Ahmed Best is a senior fellow at the Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC; host of the Afrofuturist Podcast; CEO of BISN Media; and a writer, director, producer, actor, musician, and futurist. A founding member of the acid jazz group the Jazzhole, in New York, he starred in the Broadway musical Stomp and as the first CGI lead character in a motion picture, as Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequel trilogy: The Phantom MenaceAttack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith

Best is an MFA graduate of the American Film Institute and has received honors including an Ovation Award, an LACC Award, a Stage Raw Award, and an ANNIE award. He is executive producer of Dinner at LOLA (Stop That Bangin Productions/BISN Media) andThe DL Chronicles (GLAAD Award winner for Best Miniseries), as well as creator, writer, and director of science-fiction comedy The Nebula.

Lonny J. Avi Brooks is an associate professor of strategic communication and media studies at California State University, East Bay, where he has piloted the integration of futures thinking into the communication curriculum for the last 15 years. He contributes prolifically to journals, conferences, and anthologies on subjects related to Afrofuturism and forecasting. Most recently, he published “Diverse Alternative Learning Visions 2026-2066: Transforming and Reframing the University as a Lifelong Social Design Lab,” co-written with colleague Ian Pollock, in Futures Thinking and Organizational PolicyCase Studies for Managing Rapid Change in Technology, Globalization, and Workforce Diversity. He is also lead co-editor of a Journal of Futures Studies special issue, titled “When Is Wakanda: Afrofuturism and Dark Speculative Futurism,” forthcoming in November 2019. 

Brooks is co-executive producer and co-creator, with Ahmed Best, of the Afrofuturist Podcast; lead organizer and advisory board member for the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM), in Oakland; and principal leader for BSAM Futures, which aims to publish comprehensive, inclusive and collaborative analyses of contemporary Afrocentric works. He also volunteers as a core member for outreach at, a pioneering non-profit dedicated to creating a more collaborative and dynamic computational medium for the long term.

Eli Kosminsky is an educational game designer and developer from the Concord Consortium, a non-profit developing tools for STEM education. He is also one-half of Room and Board Games, a small board-game publisher that launched in 2017 on Kickstarter with Ursa Miner, a game about bears mining honey. 

Since moving to San Francisco, Kosminsky has partnered with Lonny J. Avi Brooks to mentor Afrofuturist game jams and develop physical games for forecasting queer and Afrofuturist stories. In collaboration with the California College of the Arts, Kosminsky is also developing In It Together, a climate change game about equitable solutions to sea-level rise in East Oakland. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he spent several years at the MIT Education Arcade. 

Anthony Weeks began working as a public listener and graphic facilitator in 1998. Over the course of his career, he has worked nationally and internationally with leaders, product developers, and strategists to facilitate dialogue and ideation, think visually, and turn data into stories.

Weeks’s documentary films have been screened in the United States and around the world. He was a 2009 grant recipient from the Princess Grace Foundation in New York/Monaco. He was honored with an Emmy and a student Academy Award for his 2010 documentary short, Imaginary Circumstances. In 2011, Weeks was one of several American film directors selected by the US State Department to travel to embassies and consulates abroad as part of the American Documentary Showcase, a cultural exchange program.

He holds an MFA from Stanford University, a master’s of social work from Augsburg College (MN), and a BA with honors from Grinnell College. He was a 1997-98 Coro Fellow in Public Affairs.


(photo: Matt Martin) 

(photo: Matt Martin) 


Listening Party and Video Premiere

Thursday, June 7, 2018
6:30-8:30 p.m.
at NeueHouse Hollywood

Join Fathomers and longtime collaborator Cody Critcheloe as we celebrate the release of SSION’s new album, O  "the sound of the zeitgeist catching up with Ssion," according to Pitchfork  with an indoor/outdoor listening party and happy hour at NeueHouse. Critcheloe and friends will be on the scene to screen SSION's most recent videos, including the latest: "Heaven is My Thing Again.

Space is limited; please RSVP here


On Dec. 6, 2017, Fathomers presented a conversation among artist Michael Jones McKean; paleophysiologist John VandenBrooks; and Stacy Switzer, Fathomers’ curator and executive director, on McKean’s effort to replicate a 300-million-year-old atmosphere within a simple residential house — one of a dozen sites around the world that make up Twelve Earths, the project-in-progress launched by McKean and Fathomers to unfurl over the next decade.

"Atmosphere is the thing that we're living in.

It's the thing that literally shrouds our bodies, the thing that seeps into our clothes, the thing that we breathe inside of our bodies momentarily, and extract something, and then exhale certain exhaust out.

It's the thing that we kind of take for granted every single second of our life.

As an artist, trying to think about a project that considers the earth itself as a total object, it felt essential to consider this invisible force field that is gluing us all together in the room -- that is at one with us right now."

-- Michael Jones McKean


Michael Jones McKean (b. 1976, Micronesia) is an associate professor of sculpture and extended media at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he has taught since 2006, and the co-director of ASMBLY, in New York. He has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Nancy Graves Foundation Award, an Artadia Award, and fellowships and residencies from the Core Program (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), the International Studio and Curatorial Program (New York), the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program (New York), the MacDowell Colony, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts — where he devised and employed a large-scale self-contained water harvesting and storage system to produce a simple but phenomenal visual event: a rainbow in the sky.

John VandenBrooks, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of physiology at Midwestern University in Glendale, Ariz.. His research focuses on how varying amounts of atmospheric oxygen over geologic time influenced the physiology, development and evolution of animals. He has consulted on and appeared in television and radio programs from National Geographic, the Science Channel, the History Channel and the BBC, and has been awarded grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the American Museum of Natural History, and the American Philosophical Society, among many others. VandenBrooks received his Ph.D. in geology and geophysics from Yale University in 2007 .

On Mycotecture: Breakfast with Phil Ross

Wednesday, Nov. 2
9-10:30 a.m., at NeueHouse Hollywood

As an artist, Philip Ross has exhibited work at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, MoMA and the Museum of Jurassic Technology; as a bioengineering scholar at Stanford University, he’s working to develop an internet of biological things. He’s also co-founder and CTO of MycoWorks, a start-up that turns mycelium (the threadlike, vegetative part of mushrooms) into building bricks and leather – where he’s poised to revolutionize the materials industry with his carbon-neutral, chemical-free, organic, biodegradable and fully sustainable designs. Join us for this casual breakfast discussion presented by Fathomers, a philanthropic research institute dedicated to reshaping the realm of the possible, and hear why fungus is the future. 
RSVP is required and space is limited.

Contact to inquire about availability. 

Mycoworks, "Fungus Brick". Fungal mycelium. Image courtesy of Mycoworks.

Mycoworks, "Fungus Brick". Fungal mycelium. Image courtesy of Mycoworks.


De-extinction & Donuts

Breakfast with Andrew Torrance
Wednesday, June 29
9:30-10:30 a.m., at NeueHouse Hollywood

If you resurrect a woolly mammoth and it falls in Pershing Square, who is liable for the damage? Join Andrew Torrance, an expert in the cutting-edge field of biolaw, to find out. With a PhD in biology from Harvard University and a JD from Harvard Law School, Torrance conducts groundbreaking research in intellectual property and the right to innovate as a professor at the University of Kansas School of Law and a visiting scientist at MIT. In this casual breakfast discussion presented by Fathomers, a philanthropic research institute dedicated to reshaping the realm of the possible, Torrance will cover the how and why of de-extinction—a lab experiment no longer limited to science fiction movies—and share stories of his current adventures in reviving the great auk.

RSVP is required and space is limited.

Contact to inquire about availability.