Friday, January 10, 2020

future tense: imagined worlds from the margins

This semester's A of R focus topic is devoted to imagined future worlds through the lens of people on the margins (women, LGBTQ, POC, disability). Initially, we were thinking dystopias, but opened it up to all re-imaginings of a future, better or worse, nightmarish or ideal.  . We already have some Afrofuturist zine nights planned in collab with Chicago Public Library, a workshop on faux propaganda, and a Book to Art selection of The Handmaid's Tale, as well as artwork already filtering in for the exhibit like mad, so looks like it will be an interesting semester.

Planning for it got me thinking about Ursula Le Guiin's "The Ones Who Walk way from Omelas"  When I was in my freshman 101 English class in North Carolina, I had an unusually forward-thinking professor (I remember very little about him except that he was a younger dude.), who had us reading all sorts of things I might not otherwise have encountered, even as an English major later on. The premise is a perfect society, happy people, a city thriving financially, food for everyone---all at the expense of a single child kept chained in a basement in misery.  Basically, what the cost of utopia is and how bearable that cost and by who. (We also read Gabriel Garcia Marquez' "The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings," which is another of my all-time favorites.) 

As for my own work, the subject matter dovetails nicely with my ordinary planet series (from which I took some inspiration for the poster, as well as the background & cover concept I did a while back for Katharine Diehl's The Fourth Wave.) Since I usually like to contribute something of my own depending on if there is some extra wallpspace, I might be able to finish beforehand another series of more futurist collages made from some old Time magazines I began last year and then abandoned. 

Hopefully, the topic this time will be a little less bleak than our APOCALYPSE, USA semester a couple of years

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