Illustrations by Anna Niedhart
Illustrations by Anna Niedhart
I once had a dream that woke me up. It was several members of my Detroit community crying together. There was a huge sense of loss, like real take-your-breathaway grief, but there was also a feeling of comfort and togetherness. This dream has led to a draft novel about grief in Detroit. It’s also led to a commitment to conduct trainings in Detroit for generative somatics, a sensation-based movement practice for relieving trauma and advancing social justice. That way, more people could feel more of themselves, of our shared grief, of our potential for healing and shaping the future. It’s been incredible to be in a community that is deepening together.
This small blue sphere is spinning, while orbiting a ball of fire, in a galaxy that’s constantly changing, in a universe thick with galaxies. The atmosphere is beautiful and complex. We have jaw dropping mountains and incomprehensible oceans, prairies, deserts. It’s a miraculous, robust home. And we are destroying our relationship with home.
We have the gift and responsibility to imagine.
We are a species that has been gifted an abundant earth and the ability to orgasm, but we mostly fight and lie and ignore beauty. We choose to follow the rules, to follow tweets of people who hate us. We choose to quibble over strategies that we already know intimately, in all possible potential and limitation. We are barely surviving, and always dying, in a world shaped by shortsighted imaginations.

Imagination is always changing too, getting wider, pushed open. Getting narrow with edges of fear and ego. Sometimes people who are scared that they aren’t enough become convinced that they can only be big if others are made small. They fill their imaginations with walls and borders, differences and projections. We currently live at an intersection of small minded white men who place gaining over sustaining, and those who can’t bear the weight of the miraculous and are willing to hand over their power and freedom in exchange for any kind of approval.In so many ways, we’re not surviving. We are dying. We are dying alone in prisons, dying as the climate changes all around us. Dying by accidental shooting. Dying of exhaustion. Dying because we can’t do it anymore, can’t see tomorrow anymore.
Find the wounded places in your community, where thinking and action are stagnant—bring the medicine of imagination.
This crisis is not happening to us. It is happening because of us and with our complicity, fueled by our belief that we are victims, that someone else is responsible. We have to reclaim the sacred ground from which the world is made—our imaginations. There is a part of each of us that can see beyond what exists. As children we see so much before we are taught to see everything in boxes and binaries. We have the gift and responsibility to imagine.

And yes, this is a dark age. And a darkness such as this is the perfect setting for our dreams. Visionary fiction is a way to shape dreams of justice—to understand that art is not neutral, that what we dream and create is a practice ground for the futures we need.

Here’s what to practice:

Take your dreams seriously. Your daydreams during meetings, the messages you gather from your night dreams. Ideas come together in nonlinear ways, and dreams are a crucial space for seeing the intersections where magic can happen. Look at what’s happening now as an iteration, as a cycle of experimentation. Learn the lessons and let that learning shift your next steps.

Illustration by Anna Niedhart Find the wounded places in your community, where thinking and action are stagnant—bring the medicine of imagination.

Time travel for perspective. How did earlier generations move through similar challenges with less communications? When you project forward a decade or two, what positive change can you forecast? How would it happen? What strategies would it require?

Write with others. Generate worlds together and write many paths through them. Let the writing be a place to explore tensions, play with difference, and create something better than any individual could imagine.
Letter of the Editor
Terraforms – Or, How to Talk About The Weather
On Persistence: The Past Art/Works of An/Other Future
What the Enlightenment Got Wrong about Computers
Community Learning at Dynamicland
Imagining a Universal Declaration of Digital Rights
An interview with Audrey Tang
Dream Beyond the Wounds
The Blurring
More than HumanCentered Design
The Unpredictable Things
When the Path We Walked Blocks Our Ways Forward
Letter of the Editor
A viewpoint on Craft and the Internet
Who Controls the Internet?
Ethical Tech around the World
Interview with Gillian Crampton Smith
Life & Death
Typographic Craft
The Internet as a Lota
A Medieval Crash
A Gandhian Dream
Evolutionary Craft