This article looks at Rita Indiana’s performance work and latest novel as an example of Dominican futurism. Dominican futurism, like its counterpart Afrofuturism, centers the Dominican body in a technologically enhanced future, positioning it within a speculative world in which Dominicans are the agents of change. This article argues that Indiana’s version of Dominican futurism engages with “negative aesthetics”—defined here as the aesthetics of disorientation, dystopia, and disgust. Negative aesthetics offer a way of staying with the pain and unrest of trauma in speculative texts. The author posits a lineage of negative aesthetics in the Dominican literary tradition, which we can trace back to the work of the Dominican pessimist writers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While the writers articulating this outlook were invested in colonial attitudes such as anti-Blackness, however, Indiana puts forth a feminist and queer of color version that continues the aesthetic practice while also offering a radical departure by critiquing colonial and neocolonial categories. This article contends that in her Dominican futurism, Indiana pairs the speculative with negative aesthetics to point toward a future that is hopeful while being attentive to the trauma of the past and present.

You do not currently have access to this content.