Culture & Ecology Network: Narratives of the Future Recap

Culture and Ecology Network: Narratives of the Future (January 2015)
Monday, Jan. 26th, 2015
Young Vic

Plasticine corpses and elephants kicked off the year. By way of introduction we were asked to bring objects that represented our interest in culture and ecology. Dresses, books, wooden owls and water bottles were among some of the objects introduced. During the Notice board section, people mentioned upcoming events including protest/activist events looking for creative projects, online resources and networks, conferences and a book recommendation. Then we broke out the Plasticine and constructed two worlds: one dystopia based on the climate change narrative of a future after a climate catastrophe (as in The Road) and one techno-utopia based on the ‘technology will save us’ dominate narrative of the future. One group constructed each world and presented it to the other group. Strikingly, it was hard to agree on a tech-utopia version, as there were so many problems to solve while trying to maintain free will and a democratic government. We were then given cards with questions/provocations that problematised each world (such as where do people give birth? What happens to people when they die? How is crime dealt with? Is there a space for the arts?). The dystopia adopted a necro-capital economy (in which body parts are currency) while the techno-utopia treaded a fine line between collectivism and fascism. While criticised for the lack of choice in the techno-utopia, at what point is this need for individualism a manifestation of neo-liberal capitalism? Both worlds explored and played with some current fears (and hopes) about the narratives of the future using colourful Plasticine. It led to questions about our own work: how can we nuance these narratives in our work/practice? How are we leaning on these potentially reductive narratives to think about ecological ideas and communicate them to an audience? What kind of alternative futures can we think up?

Next meetings:

March 23rd – Young Vic: On Mobility

April 27th – Young Vic (and other sites): On our relationship to space, environments and architecture

May 26th – TBC

June 29th – TBC

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