#diaryfromthefuture #demandtheimpossible #artivistnetwork
“The world we want is one with space for many worlds.” – Subcomandante Marcos, Zapatistas
This is an invitation to join a global experiment to (re)imagine the future. We are in a rare moment in history when many of the patterns that dominate the story of “normal” are being disrupted. We have a unique opportunity to nurture new qualities that are emerging in these strange times, and to re-imagine the destructive and unjust dynamics of “normal”. Before we can create new worlds, we first have to be able to imagine them. Artists have an important role to play in the necessary work of remaking the world. Let’s be honest, the future will not be all roses and butterflies – but it will be unimaginable.
This is an open invitation to create short works of fiction that open windows into new visions of how the world could be.
We invite you to join in this collective practice of re-imagining our entangled possible futures by submitting work that offers a glimpse into another world before 2030 (our last chance to keep global temperature rise below a 1.5℃). These short pieces of fiction may be grounded in the mundane – a diary entry from an average day in a far better world, or the epic – the morning after a global uprising; a single telling detail from a better world, or anything in between. Pieces do not need to be complete “stories” as we understand them, but may also be fragments – 20 “normal” minutes of someone else’s life in 2029, the ranting journal of a 14 year-old as they wait for a tram, the observations of someone who decides to walk home in the rain during the mass protests of 2026. Stories may tell of inspiring worlds where specific injustices (borders, debt, mass extinction events, fossil fuels, hyper-consumption, etc.) have disappeared or dark visions of what may come if tyrannical forces go unopposed.
We have chosen this project because we believe stories to be useful. Speculative Fiction offers two critical tools at the same time: A tool by which we can reexamine and critique the present, as well as a tool to help others to imagine a life beyond the constraints of what “normal” deems possible. Telling a story of other worlds opens space for thought, it expands the gap between what is and what could be, holding within this paradox the implicit question of why it is not, and what is preventing that world from becoming. We invite participants to embrace the confusing paradoxes and structural traps that are already embedded and manifest in “normal”, and to use the mirror of fiction to expose both how things truly are as well as how they could be.
All submissions will be posted on the upcoming project website on a rolling basis, as well as social media platforms of The Artivist Network and our project partners, with a short biography of the author and link to their other works. We welcome submissions in all languages. We actively encourage submissions from indigenous people and the global south and will prioritize these works in translation efforts. Selected submissions will be compiled and made available for free download in an online publication, as well as published and distributed free of charge at international climate justice gatherings. Printed copies will be sent to all collaborators included in the publication. Please email submissions (or inquiries) to Kevin@artivistnetwork.org with a short biography and any links you would like included.
Every world is born first as thought, then as story; only once it is shared may it become real. Join us by adding another window into the possible.
Suggested Guiding Questions:
What of the world that surrounds your daily life (either before or during COVID) do you wish where different? How could it be improved?
What is the role of non-humans (plants, animals, ecosystems, etc.) in this world? How does it rub up against the human world?
What are some details that you could mention that hint at much bigger changes in human values?
What are your character’s senses observing of this world? What smells, tastes, sounds or sights do they encounter?
What is something that already exists (either positive or negative) or previously existed? Ask elders from your community or family remember what they remember as being better in the past then carry that into the future.
What material objects does your character interact with their world? Where did they come from or what is the story behind that object?
Try out this writing exercise – https://artivistnetwork.org/2020/05/25/diary-from-the-future-writing-exercise-45-minutes/