alisha b. wormsley
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Children of Nan

(a work in progress) is a metaphor for the survival and power of black women. Children of NAN uses science fiction tropes, historical and anthropological narrative, and origin mythology of race, mysticism and gender. It’s really my survival guide through a history of storytelling, myth and historical narrative about black women in America or the lack of that has always felt oppressive, disempowering and incorrect.

This work is very much informed by Octavia Butler, Zora Neale Hurston, La Jetee by Chris Marker, The Phoenix Papers by Dr. Frances Cress Welsing and the ancient li- braries of Timbouctou.

The plot tells of a distant post apocalyptical future where there are only two groups left on the planet: a group of black women called the Abassi which were the original hu- mans and a group of white men led by the “scientist” who turns out to be the albino son of one of the Abassi, outcast from Africa sent to live in the caves of Europe. Working laterally with history these groups have been at war since the beginning of humanity.

The protagonist of the story is Aditi 34, a woman who was made in a lab by the “scien- tist” using kidnapped Abassi, Nan. Aditi 34 has 3 sisters, Aditi 35, 36 and 37. One by one her sisters disappear and she leaves the lab, goes above ground, to find them. Led by a mysterious guide who is a portal through time she goes a discovery to find NAN.


39 minute version of film available for screening please inquire ...

Written about Children of NAN by Alexandro Segade

"Like many science fiction stories, Alisha Wormsley’s “Children of Nan” is an epic (and I mean this in the classical and brechtian sense) .  The filmmaker plays with time travel, dystopia, cloning, and psychic phenomena, deconstructing these symbolic motifs while re-assembling conventions of experimental film via internet conspiracy video.  An assemblage that goes from poor jpeg to lush hand-held tableau, Wormsley references Chris Marker, Julie Dash, Sun Ra, Elaine Brown and Alfonso Cuarón, among many others, while deeply indebted to writers such as Zora Neal Hurston and Octavia Butler.  In its telling of a young black mother’s experience — including the existential threat posed by our racist police state and the legacies of white supremacy — Wormsley’s protagonist, Aditi 34, finds self-care to be a way to care for her community, which in turn takes care of her.  The film itself is a product of such a community.  

Lauren Olamina, the main character in Butler’s Parable of the Sower, comes to understand that, as she puts it, “God is change,” and thus, as she warns: “A victim of God may, Through learning and adaption, Become a partner of God, A victim of God may, Through forethought and planning, Become a shaper of God.”  Aditi 34, an archivist, comes to understand her own way of shaping change, and surviving, through constructing an image world in which her own subjectivity occupies a space in the center.  Through her kaleidoscopic lens, Wormsley multiplies this subjectivity into a collective consciousness, rooted in a black American women’s shared experiences, recurring and refracting across the screen.

It has been a pleasure and honor to work with Alisha these three years as she toiled on what we are about to see, “Children of Nan.”"