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robertogreco : speculative   11

CENHS @ Rice! » 133 – María Puig de la Bellacasa
“Dominic and Cymene indulge a little post-Pruitt glee on this week’s podcast and speculate about the possibility of six foot tall low carbon lava lamps in the future. Then (16:46) we are thrilled to be joined by star STS scholar and emergent anthropologist María Puig de la Bellacasa to talk about her celebrated new book, Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds (U Minnesota Press, 2017). We start with the importance of care in feminist philosophy and how this work, alongside her own activist background, inspired this project. She asks us to consider how we can make knowledge that takes seriously a politics of care without giving ourselves over to the neoliberal commodification of care. And she asks how a commitment to speculative ethics can lead us to imagine and enact worlds different than the one we inhabit now. Later on, María tells us about what led her to quit philosophy and why appropriation might not actually be such a bad thing. Then we turn to her work with permaculturalists and soil scientists, what it was like to study with Starhawk, changing paradigms of soil ontology and ecology, what are alterbiopolitics, speculative ethics in a time of political crisis, and so much more.”

[See also:

“Matters of Care by María Puig de la Bellacasa, reviewed by Farhan Samanani”
https://societyandspace.org/2019/01/08/matters-of-care-by-maria-puig-de-la-bellacasa/

“Reframing Care – Reading María Puig de la Bellacasa ‘Matters of Care Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds’”
https://ethicsofcare.org/reframing-care-reading-maria-puig-de-la-bellacasa-matters-of-care-speculative-ethics-in-more-than-human-worlds/ ]
maríapuigdelabellacasa  care  maintenance  2018  morethanhuman  humanism  posthumanism  multispecies  anthropology  ecology  alterbiopolitics  permaculture  caring  ethics  politics  soil  philosophy  brunolatour  work  labor  activism  neoliberalism  feminism  donnaharaway  academia  knowledge  knowledgeproduction  thoughtfulness  environment  climatechange  individualism  concern  speculation  speculativeethics  speculativefiction  identitypolitics  everyday  pocketsofutopia  thinking  mattersofconcern  highered  highereducation  intervention  speculative  speculativethinking  greenconsumerism  consumerism  capitalism  greenwashing  moralizing  economics  society  matter  mattering  karenbarad  appropriation  hope  optimism  ucsc  historyofconsciousness 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
Solarpunking Speculative Futures — Cultural Anthropology
"Here is a map of Eneropa, a vision of the continent of Europe in 2050. Reorganized by renewable energy production, the new states—Hydropia, Solaria, Biomassburg, Geothermalia, Vrania, Tidal States, and the Isles of Wind—are connected by a centralized European energy grid. The grid serves to redistribute renewable energy across the continent by season, with the predominant energy supply from strong winterly winds in the north replaced by solar summers in the south. Europe’s carbon emissions have dropped by (at least) 80 percent from 1990s levels, and the continent is almost entirely energy-independent. The new, post-transition Europe is a safer, happier, and more politically stable place to live.

[image]

This is not an exercise in speculative fiction, but an example of backcasting: a policy technique of detailing a desirable future and then reverse-engineering solutions to achieve it. This map was featured in a 2010 vision document entitled “Roadmap 2050: A Practical Guide to a Prosperous, Low-Carbon Europe,” which was funded by the European Climate Foundation. It is only one in a series of eye-catching visuals that present a case for a European energy grid that would have made the inventor and scientist Buckminster Fuller proud. Others include snapshots of what each of these regions will look like; often, renewable energy production is integrated with holiday-like leisure activity, from surfing to sunbathing and general frolicking in the sea.

If the imagery seems fantastical, it is nonetheless informed by a mass of technical data: grid engineering and design, plausible costs, investment plans, in-depth modeling of system balancing requirements, and analyses of the macroeconomic impacts of large-scale decarbonization. The Office for Metropolitan Architecture gave the project visual form. Head architects Rem Koolhaas and Rainer de Graaf, among others, worked in conjunction with experts at the Energy Futures Lab at the Imperial College London, the technical grid consultancy Kema, management consultants McKinsey and Company, the climate change think tank E3G, and Oxford Economics. The aesthetic might be fantasy, but the genre is very much policy.

Many have written about the synergistic, mutually constitutive relationship between speculative fiction and technological innovation. Less attention has been paid to the more mundane work of policy, which serves to bridge speculative imagination and mass adoption of a new way of life. One way to address this might be to extend the aforementioned analyses, comparing themes across a sampling of publications to determine the influence of speculative fiction on the genre of the vision document, or vice versa. Another would be to eschew the reading of one genre alongside another in favor of reading such policy documents as speculative literature in themselves. This is what “Roadmap 2050” challenges us to do. Far from being facetious, its purpose in employing codes of fantasy is to engage us in an act of genre generosity. The fantastical elements empower us to approach the document with a willingness to suspend disbelief and to go beyond our usual attunement to limits and conservative assumptions.1

But what does reading policy as a speculative genre achieve? To begin with, it forces us to acknowledge that fiction as conventionally defined no longer has a monopoly over speculative narratives. As an act of world-making, speculation is present in several contemporary professional contexts, with climate change–related policymaking as only one of them. Design fiction, for instance, is a speculative world-building methodology that employs so-called diegetic prototypes to explore how new inventions hold up both socially and technically in multiple future scenarios (see Sterling 2005). However, while design fiction accounts for a variety of futures, both desirable and dystopian, policy backcasting must always project an optimistic future. This makes it somewhat unique, read against the pantheon of speculative subgenres.

Within academia, optimism is often adopted self-consciously as an ethics, or is tied back into an overarching analytics from within which it is rendered either “cruel” (Berlant 2011), naive, or a symptom of selling out. Reading policy not only for its proffered content but speculatively for its form might prompt anthropologists to take optimism seriously—not (just) as an ethics, but as a form of labor that we encounter in the field. We know the plight of climate scientists all too well (see Clayton 2018), but how can we make sense of the obligatory optimism of policymakers as they work to promote so-called global solutions?

To diagnose optimism as an object, we might take inspiration from an analytic device in the environmental humanities: close reading for narrative aesthetics grounded in contemporary petrocultural forms (e.g., Szeman 2017). While we are far from disembedding ourselves from the petrocultural, a new subgenre coalescing around the term solarpunk might serve as a starting point to engage with the labor of optimistic speculation. Described by Elvia Wilk as wishing to “wrench science fiction from both steampunk’s magical tech fantasies and cyberpunk’s tech-gone-wrong,” solarpunk locates itself in a near future of feasible tech that often already exists in some form. Its worlds are fueled not by coal or oil (as were steam- and cyberpunk respectively), but solar energy, as a way to access a postpetro social. In its best moments the genre is not engaged in utopianism, but acts of dislocation.

If the point of speculative anthropology is not simply to recognize the speculative in contexts we encounter but also to adopt the speculative in the manner by which we engage them, then reading policy documents (with some indulgence) as solarpunk might constitute one such act of dislocation. It may even allow us to punk the relationship between our modes of critique and the dominant energy form. Perhaps Bruno Latour (2004) was more prescient than he knew when he declared that critique had run out of steam. Perhaps it is in need of some solar instead."
solarpunk  speculativefiction  speculation  speculative  designfiction  anthropology  nanditabadami  2018  speculativeanthropology 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Speculative Anthropologies — Cultural Anthropology
"At the intersection of speculative fiction and anthropology, we find a sense of epistemological humility about the kind of worlds we could or should inhabit. Yet epistemological humility should not be confused with futility: possibilities and potentialities still matter. We do not know what we are capable of, and yet that need not keep us from the pursuit of what ifs. Through the imaginative interpellations of speculative fiction (SF), the contributors to this Theorizing the Contemporary series gravitate toward new localities and means of presence: ecological, technological, Afro-futuristic. Facing the imminent prospect of both disaster and discovery, they call us to resist despair and to craft tangible ways of shaping and repairing the worlds we still hope for.

Posts in This Series

Introduction: Speculative Anthropologies
by Ryan Anderson, Emma Louise Backe, Taylor Nelms, Elizabeth Reddy and Jeremy Trombley

The Unstable Edge: Anthropology, Speculative Fiction, and the Incremental Threat of Sea Level Rise
by Ryan Anderson

Our Present as the Past’s Fictitious Future
by Sally A. Applin

Solarpunking Speculative Futures
by Nandita Badami

Thinking Parabolically: Time Matters in Octavia Butler’s Parables
by Priya Chandrasekaran

Looking for Humanity in Science Fiction through Afrofuturism
by David Colón-Cabrera

Planeterra Nullius: Science Fiction Writing and the Ethnographic Imagination
by William Lempert (Open author orcid page in new window)

Fieldnotes from the Twilight Zone
by Patricia Markert and Jeremy Trombley

Invisible City: A Speculative Guide
by Taylor Nelms

First Contact with Possible Futures
by Michael Oman-Reagan (Open author orcid page in new window)

Speculative Fiction and Speculating about the Social
by Elizabeth Reddy

Evidently SF
by David Valentine

Anthropology’s Latent Futures
by Samuel Gerald Collins

Unbounding the Field/Note
by Valerie Olson

The Necessary Tension between Science Fiction and Anthropology
by Matthew Wolf-Meyer"
speculative  anthropology  speculativeanthropology  speculativefiction  designfiction  speculation  afrofuturism  ecology  technology  immigration  climatechange  ryananderson  emmalouisebacke  taylornelms  elizabethreddy  jeremytrombley  sallyapplin  nanditabadami  priyachandrasekaran  davidcolón-cabrera  williamlempert  patriciamarkert  michaeloman-reagan  samuelgeraldcollins  davidvalentine  valerieolson  matthewwolf-meyer 
december 2018 by robertogreco
West coast is something nobody with sense would understand. : Open Space
""West coast is something nobody with sense would understand."

That’s a line from Jack Spicer’s “Ten Poems for Downbeat,” written in 1965, just before the Los Angeles-born poet died, age forty, in San Francisco. Was it true then, is it true now? What are some ways to make sense of this place (which isn’t one place), in this time (when it seems like there’s so little time)? Speculative, subversive, meditative: here are a few attempts."
westcoast  sanfrancisco  losangeles  jackspicer  1965  2017  place  speculative  subversion  speculation  meditation  pendarvisharsha  art  guadaluperosales  elisabethnicula  sophiawang  jennyodell  suzannestein  sandiego  cedarsigo  leorafridman  trees  fog  annahalprin  dance  eastla 
november 2017 by robertogreco
William Gibson: on Atemporality — The High Bar
"William Gibson‘s writing is timeless. For mortals, conquering time is a Quixotic endeavor, only imaginable with the aid of good religion, better hallucinogens or great science fiction.

Today(?), Mr. Gibson walks into The High Bar and joins me to raise a toast to and raise the bar for… atemporality. Will time stand still and if so, what impact will it have on our memories, intimate or communal?

The legendary author (Neuromancer; Pattern Recognition) discusses his childhood, his craft and his hope for a future he has never truly predicted, even within the pages of his recent collection of articles and essays, Distrust That Particular Flavor."
self-projection  love  siri  technology  culture  prostheticmemory  fascism  patternrecognition  speculative  history  time  memory  nostalgia  distrustthatparticularflavor  monoculture  childhood  warrenetheredge  scifi  sciencefiction  williamgibson  2012  atemporality  conservatism 
july 2012 by robertogreco
ICON MAGAZINE ONLINE | Design Fiction | the most comprehensive archives of architecture and design content on the web
"process in which they’re working is a bit like a scientific process where you have a hypothesis & you try to experiment not knowing what the outcome is going to be."

"…how can I say anything which someone will be able to see in 20 years in the form in which it was created…serious…new contemporary problem, how do we make something work in a situation where the means of production are in a maelstrom or things are politically or financially falling apart? I don’t expect bookstores…libraries…Google, Facebook, Yahoo or Twitter…Microsoft to survive 20 years, I don’t expect NATO to survive. I don’t know about the EU. This is not like a gospel of despair or anything I just really think we could do something magnificent by just rising to the scale of the actual problem."

"Experience design is the first school of design that can actually encompass literature as a wing of itself."

"[I]t would be a shame if everything was virtual or written in a way that precludes the tangibility of things."
sciencefiction  speculative  research  future  culture  speculativedesign  ephemerality  uncertainty  process  imagination  creativity  literature  tangibility  permanence  futurism  dunne&raby  fionaraby  anthonydunne  interviews  2012  experiencedesign  designfiction  design  brucesterling  ephemeral 
april 2012 by robertogreco
placekraft
"placekraft is an interdisciplinary research module devoted to generating and studying: tactical urbanism, speculative cartography, ephemeral/vernacular architecture, and itinerant practices."
design  art  architecture  maps  mapping  randallszott  interdisciplinary  cartography  vernacular  speculativecartography  speculative  tacticalurbanism  situationist  incubate  radicalcartography  museumofjurassictechnology  glowlab  socialfiction  centerforlanduseinterpretation 
may 2011 by robertogreco
RORY HYDE PROJECTS / BLOG » Blog Archive » ‘Know No Boundaries’: an interview with Matt Webb of BERG London
"we attempt to invent things and create culture. It’s not just enough to invent something and see it once, you have to change the world around you, get underneath it, interfere with it somehow, because otherwise you’re just problem solving. And I wont say that design has an exclusive hold over this – you can invent things and change culture with art, music, business practices, ethnography, market research; all of these are valid too – design just happens to be the way we do it…our things should be hopeful, and not just functional…beautiful, inventive and mainstream…you could see our work as experimental, or science-fiction, or futuristic…our design is essentially a political act. We design ‘normative’ products, normative being that you design for the world as it should be. Invention is always for the world as it should be, and not for the world you are in…Design these products and you’ll move the world just slightly in that direction."
mattwebb  berg  berglondon  design  invention  hope  culture  change  purpose  innovation  scifi  sciencefiction  designfiction  beauty  future  inventingthefuture  speculative  speculativedesign  fractionalai  ai  brucesterling  evolutionarysoup  storytelling  isaacasimov  arthurcclarke  argoscatalog  schooloscope  behavior  evocativeobjects  collaboration  functionalism  technology  architecture  people  structure  groups  experience  interdisciplinary  tinkering  multidisciplinary  play  playfulness  crossdisciplinary  flip  gamechanging 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Welcome to the Imaginary Gadgets Project | Beyond the Beyond from Wired.com
"You are likely getting useful, provocative insights from people who were never your colleagues in the past. These are people with thought-processes somewhat orthogonal to your own, who nevertheless show up repeatedly on your search engines as you perform your own work. ... I think this situation is a fact-on-the-ground for a densely-networked, digitized society. I also think the pace of this phenomenon is accelerating. I don't believe we will get a choice about it. If it's inevitable, then we should exploit the inevitability. Now, my larger suspicion here -- let's call it a hypothesis -- is that there is some grand unified theory for speculative cultural activity. In other worlds, "speculative culture" is not a crazy-quilt, it is a nexus. Every creative discipline has methods to shake up its preconceptions and think inventively. I want to catalog, compare and contrast those methods. I surmise that they have some inner unity, a consilience."
via:preoccupations  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  technology  culture  future  creativity  consilience  networks  writing  imagination  speculative  futurism  retrofuture  inventions  scifi  sciencefiction  design  brucesterling 
march 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Hotelier at Sea
"Within four or five decades of inconsistent contact, the Library of Congress sends out a new, 21st century Alan Lomax to visit those thriving offshore subcultures and record their folk songs and oral histories."
design  architecture  environment  offshore  reuse  bldgblog  structure  us  gulfofmexico  speculative  alanlomax 
february 2009 by robertogreco

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