I’ve been thinking about a talk by Bruce Sterling I read last week, about “atemporality” and what it means for artists. It’s an idea he and William Gibson are both poking at right now, that the current state of technology and culture means that past, present, and future all exist side by side in different contexts. Lately I’ve been stuck on the idea that the future is a state of mind, so this clicks with me.
Two bits from the talk that I especially like:
Refuse the awe of the future. Refuse reverence to the past. If they are really the same thing, you need to approach them from the same perspective.
Why not designer fiction as life? Why not role-playing games in real spaces? Why not become the change you want to see?
If, for instance, you think the future should offer ‘personal space flight’ – perhaps you are an enthusiast for that? – why don’t you just dress up as an astronaut? Just invent the whole thing, just go out and carry it onto the streets! Just invent the Jezz Bezos Blue Origin spacecraft, make your own spacecraft suitcases, spacecraft astronaut gear.
Yes, you will look ridiculous. But by what standard? By what standard can you be held to be ridiculous? Why not just go and make yourself a personal public testimony for a future that doesn’t exist? Why not just carry it out with a kind of Gandhian dedication, and see what happens?
I’m still trying to figure out what sort of future I would want to personally embody. Gala Darling already has this down with her psychedelic ladies who lunch—her “style direction” is more of a lifestyle movement. Steampunk comes from a similar impulse, merging the aesthetic with a desire to make functioning things that should exist in a steampunk universe.
In other news, I’m still sick but finally enough better that I can go out in public without people giving me the “keep your plague over there” look. We went out to dinner at Bamboo Sushi on Saturday. It was delicious, and I’d like to go back for happy hour sometime soon. We live so close it’s silly we didn’t check it out sooner.