The Nature of a Natural Future

I got to write a non-fiction piece for the Indigenous Futurist issue of Apex Magazine! And an excerpt:

When we think of the future, what does mainstream media show us? On the side of the dystopic: behemoth brutalist architecture bathed in glaring neon billboards, holographic advertisements flashing through steam and smoke. Roaming drones and militarized robots. On the utopic: hermetically-sealed structures just as goliath but perhaps designed with a more open, translucent façade. Glass and steel intertwined with trees and ferns to suggest eco-civilized harmony; pristine white interior design with the occasional pop of green from an austere, well-placed bonsai. In these fictional hyper-Anthropocene futures, we grapple with our anthropocentric anxieties: resource scarcity, severe deprivation, and economic quality of life.

But where is nature, the very literal bedrock of our future, in all of these imaginings? In our global culture of capitalism and consumerism, nature has been reduced to a commodity and the futures explored by our most revered storytellers maintain this status quo of leaving the land out of the future. How can we disentangle capitalism, nature, and our narcissistic vision of the future? How is the concept of progress corrupted by imperialist capitalism? And what does a future look like with nature at the fore instead of our own “standard of living”?

You can read the full article here.

Art, Harm and Semiotics

(Yet another little collection of tweets from awhile back, just so I can archive and mull over it again later.)

People who cleave to the belief that ‘immoral’ art/fiction can do mind-altering harm often use the same line of reasoning to conclude that consuming ‘moral’ art/fiction makes you a morally better or more empathetic person. It’s a seductively easy and romantic binary to agree with and one that is fundamentally wrong. There’s a lot of elements at play with buying into that idea; art & stories are so often peddled as ‘empathy machines’. Disgust and offense and generally feeling bad are easy to categorize as ‘immoral’ so I understand the inclination.

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On Structure, Protagonists, and Conflict

Did I forget I had this blog? Maybe. Am I tired of trying to find decent newsletter platforms that aren’t a pain to use and allow discussion but aren’t funding bigots? Yes. So I’m back to this ancient WordPress site, to hopefully renew its use within a regular writing practice. I write a lot for myself but it never enters a state where it’s polished enough to share which is why most of my thoughts go half-baked on Twitter. But I’d like to get back to trying to write essays and express myself on a critical and theoretical level again. For now, here’s some thoughts I want to revisit. (Yes, originally they were tweets. Baby steps.)

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Notes: Daratt dir. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

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I wrote about this movie sometime last year and then forgot I wrote anything. I really liked this movie but I’m not sure about these thoughts anymore. I don’t know if I engage with it like this now but I might as well share.

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun is a Chadian filmmaker, born 1960 in Abéché, Chad. He studied cinema in Paris, journalism in Bordeaux and began making films in his home country in 1995. One of Haroun’s goals as a filmmaker is to share intimate portraits of his little known homeland, a crucial mission that if abandoned only leaves, as Haroun says, “a colonization by images.”

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