034 :: “Dirt Behind Our Ears” : On Solarpunk and the Need for New Futures

I was asked to submit a talk to a big conference over in Berlin in May to talk about Solarpunk and what it’s like to have been involved in the genre from the very beginning as an admin over on solarpunks.net​. I found out last week that it wasn’t accepted, but some other solarpunks were – I posted this to tumblr already but it won’t ever have any google juice there so x-posting here for wider archives as is my tradition.

I’m posting my talk proposal below as it’s the first time that I’ve ever really written something on Solarpunk despite being involved for so long. Some of the wording and phrasing as become important to me especially the lines about not being able to speak for other solarpunks.

“Dirt Behind Our Ears” : On Solarpunk and the Need for New Futures

500 Char Public Thesis – ~ 75 Words

Give a short and catchy idea about your main argument. This text will be used publicly once your session is accepted, so it’s worth proofreading it.

Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction, art, fashion and activism that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?”.

The future does not passively ‘arrive’ fully formed  from the aether, we must first meet it the way humanity has always done: though dreams, stories and song. This session will cover the story of the nascent genre of solarpunk and the communities attempts to ‘remake our present and future history’.

2000 Char Description – ~ 300 Words

Please describe what your session is about, how you want to proceed and what methods you are going to use. Be clear and check orthography and grammar. This text will be used publicly once your session is accepted, so it’s worth proofreading it.

The emerging science fictional genre and aesthetic of “solarpunk” begins with ‘Infrastructure as a form of resistance’.

In 2014 the EIA, CIA, & World Bank published a graph charting the falling cost of solar energy and titled it ‘Welcome to the Terrordome’. The upcoming 21st Century shift toward clean energy opens the future to an age of ‘innovative dissent’.

But we don’t see terror in this future. Solarpunk envisions a world where the drastic technological shift towards renewables and decentralisation empowers movements for social justice and economic liberation. It attempts to foster a socio-cultural environment which emphasises individual autonomy, consent, unity-in-diversity, with the free egalitarian distribution of power. It creates a multitude of spaces for indigenous sovereignties, reproductive justice, and radical queer politics. Of course with these principles comes polyphony, one cannot speak for other solarpunks, only be in dialogue and occasional chorus with them. Some solarpunks recognize it was a great tragedy that the alternate historical genre of steampunk was not decolonial to its core from its inception. Others call for the recognition of rights for the ‘non-human’: trees, rivers and mountains. And technologists building decentralised P2P social networks are doing so under a solarpunk banner. The genre provides a rich soil of ideas and action from which our struggles en route to a better world can grow.

This session will briefly explore the history of the genre, some of its central themes and principles and offer a present that can help us begin to see a future with a human face and dirt behind its ears.

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031 :: He escapes into absurdity

 

The battle for freedom is not fought alone on the great fronts. It is fought in every home, in every community, in every state in the world. it is fought in the mind and heart of every man.

Jack Whiteside Parsons – Freedom is a Two-edged Sword

Narrative

Returned from Berlin invigorated and renewed with a sense of purpose. I must admit that its a nice change. Before I left I’d somehow gotten myself stuck in my living room, becoming increasingly anxious about leaving the house – some kind of prison of inaction. I’ve decided to make some changes and build out more of a routine to ensure it doesn’t happen again… you know… like committing to leaving the house for at least an hour a day lol. I have too much to do this year to let being a Sad Boi get in the way.

SO much has happened to me since I left my job in September, on top of that I wouldn’t say it was hyperbole to say that I’m just coming out of a PTSD like situation from my old job. I’d really like to go for dinner with my old boss (who quit before me) to close out that period of my life. Not that I want sympathy or I’m telling a sob story or anything but the last 6/7 months really have been a real struggle for me.

Work meetings aside, the main thing that I got from the Berlin trip was seeing friends and talking frankly over dinner with people I really admire about their strategies for managing their daily lives. Keeping up with the self motivation, goal setting etc. I’m grateful for that discussion. I’ve taken a lot home with me.

Dipping the stacks

  • I see that the elite’s are going to get their war with Russia after all
  • Half of all the democrats running in the mid terms are connected to the US security apparatus in some way
  • Im thinking about unfollowing at least 200+ people on twitter but not quite sure yet

The Ministry

Since I last blogged (a few days ago) I’ve basically been getting my ducks in a row ready for a busy next week. I’m also in the middle of trying to tidy my desk/working space and creating a better environment for myself. Not that it wasn’t organised (HAHAHA- Eve) it was just er…. visually messy…. who am i kidding. It’s sometimes so messy Eve puts up a screen in front of it when people come over.

I heard back from Re:Publica Berlin about my talk proposal on Solarpunk. They said in the email that I’d hear something in the next 2 weeks or so. Time is moving along and out though, so they need to get on that I have other shit in my life to organise.

Frank Landis wrote a fantastic pice on solarpunk over on Antipope.org which was super cool.

Reading

I’m 2/3 of the way though Metro 2035 (Метро #3) by Dmitry Glukhovsky

I think the first book was probably the best one in the trilogy as it was new and an exciting premise in the genre, plus my head was full of it on my first trip to Moscow just as Roadside Picnic and the game Stalker was in my head when I visited Chernobyl. I have a massive soft spot for post apocalyptic fiction since I was a teenager. I just can’t help myself.

It’s interesting listening to my inner thoughts/reaction to the world of the novel having been so deep in the solarpunk community recently. The first great solarpunk novel is still to be written but the focus on the hope amongst climate and environmental tragedy is much more my jam. Post apocalyptic solarpunk written by teenagers paints a more interesting and complex world than nuclear grimdark.

I have David Holmgren’s newest book Retrosuburbia on order I’m super excited about it.

Music

Since I got back I’ve had the Superorganisim, S/T album on repeat. It’s a real strong debut album.  Something for your M.I.N.D is one of my favourite singles from last year and the album builds and iterates on it.

I’m really glad that I got to see them at their first ever show last year at Village Underground. I’ve just looked and they are hitting the festival circuit hard in 2018.

Rollingstone have a cool article on them called: Superorganism: How an Internet-Addled Commune Made a Warped Psych-Pop Gem – I’d agree. If you like quirky psych pop, this might already be shaping up to be the album of the summer for you.

In other music news, I picked up Toto Coelo – I Eat Cannibals 12″ single for 50p MINT in Oxfam yesterday and it’s made me so so happy.

Remember kids:

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