Rahel Aima on “aspirational weirdness”:
Whose future, and in whose name? I’m thinking about Joel Dinerstein’s writings on ‘techno-fundamentalism’ and ‘technology as White mythology’ here, certainly. But also about that particularly futuristy tic of aspirational weirdness. As in, what we want out of the future is not that it’s better or more comfortable or less ecologically destructive or more equitable or more just. What we want out of the future is that it’s weird, please let it be weird. Where does this come from? Is it a particularly classed, gendered, even racinated (?) thing?
Does aspirational weirdness assume the same kind of techtopianism as Clarke, where all the inequalities and injustices of today will somehow get vectorised and smoothed over? Or is it that these struggles frankly not on the radar for folks who aspire to—long for—weirdness? And now I’m wondering, how do you arrive at a praxical synthesis of weirdness and social justice? (Because undoubtedly, there’s something enticing and seductive about «weirdness» for me too.) I want to emphasise the praxical, because it’s all too easy to arrive at something that feels fresh, directional, transformative, but never manages to transcend the realm of aesthetics, especially with regards to ethnifuturisms. (Not that aesthetics aren’t equally as important. A future featuring people who look like me? Radical) And what’s more directional and transformative than social justice?
I wish she’d included some examples here because I’m not quite sure I know what’s meant here. Like Rahel, I do long for MORE WEIRD. But I’m not I’ve come across anyone really saying “what we want out of the future is not that it’s better or more comfortable or less ecologically destructive or more equitable or more just. What we want out of the future is that it’s weird, please let it be weird.” On the other hand, unlike Rahel, I’m a white male and might just not be seeing it.
One thing I can say, though, is that sometimes it seems that people end up fetishizing certain types of futures, even if they sound unpleasant. One can’t help but think that the people stocking up their bunkers for the proverbial “big one” really do want it to come. Likewise, those obsessed with certain ultra-controlled, Orwellian futures also seem to actually look forward to them at some point — perhaps because they really want to have someone else make decisions for them in their lives, or perhaps because they want to be a part of the struggle against it. In that regard, it’s not hard to think that there are those of out there who fetishize weirder possibible futures — without much, if any, regard for social justice.