/futures sep 12 '17
For my contribution the day of the PHLA Opening Celebration at the Perelman Building, I hosted a world-building workshop. The workshop consisted of a changing crew of about six people as folks walked back and forth through the exhibit, some leaving partway through, and some joining partway through, talking about the future and how to meet its challenges by imagining it through the lens of creating art. I see tremendous challenges based on current trends, from climate change to the imposition of police state to technology outpacing society's understanding of it. These challenges are so severe, and the fingers of the powerful so want to take advantage of people's disorientation, that I have decided to devote my life to helping people shift their stories toward personal and community resilience and empowerment. The game keeps changing, but we are still human, and stories still move us.
As a workshop leader, my goal is to set the stage and get out of the way. I intend to spark imagination in a way that facilitates the empowerment of participants over the stories they use to perceive the world is the end result, then let my excitement bubble their own process.
Every time I host this workshop, people express desires for: increased sovereignty through skill-sharing, retrieval of knowledge and activity from automation, development of a sense of control over one's life and resources, and investment in one's community governance rather than having governance come from far away. The people want decentralized, localized spaces of power in the face of increasing dysfunction in our centralized systems. Even among kids, who intersperse their contributions with periods of tapping away at their phones, the desire is for a greater sense of knowing how to handle their basics. We're gathering information together, trying to learn and grow to face uncertain times, because we don't trust our so-called leaders to have our backs.
We are trying to become our own leaders. My worldbuilding workshop makes this abundantly clear to me. I've been involved in Left organizing in the city, and among organizers exists a robust dialogue between a more socialist way of handling challenges and bringing people together, which puts the emphasis on mass organizing and building numbers, and a more anarchist way of handling challenges, which decentralizes power and focuses on building individual capacity for resilience and resistance. My view is that both are important; the problems are big enough that they require large-scale participation in solutions, but they are complex enough that they require individuals to be capable, autonomous, and strong in themselves to fight the forces of oppression and keep the movement as a whole on track.
I will be having another Worldbuilding Workshop on September 23, 2017 from 3pm-5pm at the Perelman Building. Please join me!