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June 2021

Drexciya: The Quest

The Dividual

“Could it be possible for humans to breathe underwater? A fetus in his mother’s womb is certainly alive in an aquatic environment.

“During the greatest Holocaust the world has ever known, pregnant America­-bound African slaves were thrown overboard by the thousands during labor for being sick and disruptive cargo. Is it possible that they could have given birth at sea to babies that never needed air?

“Recent experiments have shown mice able to breathe the liquid oxygen. Even more shocking and conclusive was a recent instance of a premature human infant saved from certain death by breathing liquid oxygen through its underdeveloped lungs. These facts, combined with reported sightings of Gillmen and Swamp Monsters in the Coastal Swamps of the South Eastern United States make the Slave Trade theory startlingly feasible.

“Are Drexciyans water­-breathing, aquatically mutated descendants of those unfortunate victims of human greed? Have they been spared by god to teach us or to terrorize us? Did they migrate from the Gulf of Mexico to the Mississippi River Basin and to the Great Lakes of Michigan?

“Do they walk among us? Are they more advanced than us? How and why do they make their strange music?

“What is their quest?

“These are many of the questions that you don’t know and never will.

“The end of one thing … and the beginning of another.

“Out – The Unknown Writer”

These are the mythical words on the cover sleeve of Drexciya’s 1997 album The Quest. Kodwo Eshun famously called the Detroit techno duo “esoterrorists,” or “someone who terrorizes through esoteric myth systems. Infiltrating the world, the esoterrorist plants logic bombs and then vanishes, detonating conceptual explosions, multiplying perceptual holes through which the entire universe drains out.” [1]1
Kodwo Eshun, “Drexciya: Fear of a Wet Planet,” The Wire, no. 167 (January 1998).
The myth of the Black Atlantis of Drexciya has since gained fame and been adapted to various media, but at the heart of it lies the xenogenesis, the metamorphosis into aliens. As Eshun states, this is a key feature of Afrofuturism: “From Sun Ra’s instruction to the peoples of Earth to Parliament’s greetings to the citizens of the universe, from The Martian’s astro disco Red Planet series to Dr. Octagon’s address to Earth people, becoming alien allows an extraterrestrial perspective.” [2]2
Ibid.
At the same time, the Drexciya myth draws from the material realities of dividual existence as slave and woman.

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