Note — Sep 20, 2020

SOLARPUNK - Life in the Future Beyond the Rusted Chrome of Yestermorrow

Fascinating piece here (based on a presentation so lots of visuals) by Jay Springett who sets the table by covering some memetic theory and media narratives, to then beautifully present and explain what Solarpunk aims to achieve. He presents punk and mainstream, how our interests and where we can share them was atomized by the internet, to then re-cohear on the big platforms. Pre-internet is the last time there was a more defined mainstream, so Disney and others are constantly re-hashing old heroes and cultures. They “frack” the media of the past because it is the (somewhat) common ground they can make blockbusters from.

It’s the same with sci-fi and most of the futures presented to us; they are old futures based on and extracted from the culture of those past decades. As “climate change looms over all those futures and no-one seems capable of doing anything about it,” we need better futures, extrapolated from this present, not that of our predecessors. “We need to collectively foster a new way of seeing the world” and, quoting Madeline Ashby, we need “to talk, loudly and frequently and in detail, about the future [we] want. You can’t manifest what you don’t share.”

I highlighted 32 passages from this talk so I highly recommend having a look, even if only to see his slides, it’s the best presentation of Solarpunk I’ve read, covers a lot of ground, is hopeful, and cites quite a few topics and people often covered in Sentiers.

[U]nder the logic of a capitalist cultural monopoly, commodity owners have to continually frack the past from a time when a collective cultural grammar still existed to still make money. […]

The sense of creating new immediate futures and repopulating the futures space with something entirely divorced from previous consensus futures. Solarpunk attempts to re-future all of our imaginations. […]

[I]t attempts to foster a socio-cultural environment which emphasizes individual autonomy, consent, unity-in-diversity, with the free egalitarian distribution of power. […]

It is not a genre that relies on huge technological leaps into the future, nor by taking wistful glances at the past, but by looking laterally at what’s already in the world, and projecting it forward. […]

Solarpunk then is a collective ‘Memetic Engine’. A cultural construct, or media entity that is a tool that powers and provides the ‘refuturing’ that our collective imagination needs. […]

If you want a better future, and are already involved in activism of all kinds then Become a solarpunk. Stand in opposition to the doom and gloom of our current media environment, adopt a more sunny disposition. It’s why solarpunk is punk.