Call for Action #9
The future seems once again trapped, surveilled by new technologies, flooded by environmental destruction, and held hostage by authoritarian forces. The next issue of engagée grapples with the difficulties this poses for disobedient futures and asks: beyond dystopian prospects haunting the present, which experiments can unchain radical open futures?
Today, many have turned to the problem of the future. Echoing recent debates, the predominant way of projecting the future is once more guided by notions of technocratic and marketized progress. However, the idea of the future has also converted into a unique resource for democratic resistance. From Fridays to Future to Extinction Rebellion, from Xenofeminism to accelerationism and beyond, protests, forms of activism, as well as theoretical interventions, have been increasingly organized around criticism that tackles the loss of futures, while at the same time, demanding their radical openness and plurality. This raises a decisive question: Why should the idea of disobedience be tied to the future?
engagée takes on the task of exploring this question. It seeks to unmask the unexpected, the alien, the unforeseeable: the drowned futures of climate disasters, the futures tamed by webs of narrow digital codes and sold by global investors. Given the unequal access to opportunities to shape the future and the ways in which the future itself is, still, ‘not evenly distributed’ – as Sci-Fi-writer William Gibson put it – engagée strives to shed new light on current struggles that contest closures to unlock radical open futures. In so doing, it explores the distinct fibers of disobedient futures, their conceptual foundations, practical aspirations, and inherent uncertainties.
The real challenge today is to disobey imposed futures. In theoretical terms, this could mean restoring openness and equality at the center of our political vocabulary. In practical terms, disobedient futures could express and enact a radically openness, breaking with the current reign of nationalistic governance, future colonization, and algorithmic surveillance through hacking borders, blocking extinction, and abolishing Silicon Valley.
In this light, engagée calls for action and invites interventions on and beyond the following themes: new forms of philosophical speculation, embodied counter-futures and cyborg theories, accelerationism and critical approaches to accelerationism, alien futures, feminist futures and non-binary futures, Afrofuturism, Xenofeminism, flashbacks in future perfect, never realized and broken futures, the right to the future, critiques of algorithmic governmentality and future narratives, attempts to democratize the future.
engagée welcomes essays, interviews, sci-fi stories, poems, short stories, illustrations, comics, drawings, and artworks among other forms of experimental writing (in English and German). Please send an abstract of 300 words (max.) by 15th December 2019 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Final interventions should not exceed 10.000 characters and will be due on 15th February 2020.