Speculative Fiction: A Dispatch from the Year 3021

sherman meme gang strikes again

So when I originally pitched the Museum Computer Network (MCN) on this I did the thing everyone does where you have an idea you’ve barely thought about and you fart out some word soup on the application. Then I forgot about it for a few months, then in September I realized I needed a presentation in like a month.

The good news about this I think constraints help make good art and I also think slide decks can be art. I mean look at this slide I made, this is real outsider art shit, to me.

If we want to go real artspeak on this presentation then its using the lens of solarpunk to examine the tech practices of today in order to illustrate what needs to change to reach the “dream idyll” of Museums in 3021.

If we want to be blunt its really about my frustration that popular visions of the future look like the present, but ignore all the technical and structural problems of implementing them. For example, Elon Musk’s vision of Electric Vehicles ignores the pending scarcity of rare earth metals, mining conditions in the global south, the fact that even if cars run on “green energy” there are still carbon emissions in the production of all materials that create the vehicle.

This happens in museums too, where the popular understanding of a “progressive” museum looks a lot like the museum today, except we talk about marginalized communities more. To be clear, that’s a good first step – but my critique of museums is much deeper and more structural.

My new director asked the other day whether any museum as a “right” to exist, which to me is the whole ballgame. We take museums or places of culture as a necessity or a dream of ‘”civilized” society, but rarely interrogate why.

I intended to do some speculative fiction and create a world for 3021, but found it really difficult aside from some vagaries about solarpunk. Yet, I realized that the purpose of Sci-Fi is to create alternate worlds and see what we can learn from them, so in that sense I did actually do a speculative fiction, I guess – I dunno its a reach, but it’ll sound really good when I say it, which is really all that matters for presentations much of the time.

Take heart, at least in the future we’ll still be doing this.