15-24: This Story Applies to You
What role might the imagination play in a world beset by such formidable and concrete problems as polarizing inequality, rising tides, racial and social injustice, and food scarcity? “We know all the ways our world will end,” we wrote in the questionnaire that acted as the prompt for Speculations (“The future is ______”). Can we write our way to an alternate future? Or are art and literature mostly capable of imagining a modified version of the world we already know, of making the world strange so as to see it more clearly? From indigenous Aztec music filtered through Fruity Loops to somatic exercises that exorcise the frozen-pie factory, artists and writers considered the relationship between ideation and action, whether and how we might find a common language, and what work that language might do.
Samuel Delany is the author of science-fiction novels including Dhalgren and Babel-17. Kelly Link coedits Small Beer Press and has written three collections of short stories, most recently Pretty Monsters. They talked about how we use and abuse the future.
Sunday, May 19, 20133 p.m. seminar (audio recording below)
Rivka Galchen’s most recent book is American Innovations, a collection of stories. Her first novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, was awarded the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Norman Rush is the author of three novels, including Mating, which won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1991. They discussed commonalities between literature, obsessive-compulsive disorder, fortunetelling, lucid dreaming, and weather reports.
Sunday, May 26, 20133 p.m. seminar (audio recording below)
Kim Stanley Robinson is a science-fiction author and the winner of Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. John Crowley is the author of many novels and volumes of short fiction, including the fantasy novel Little, Big. They spoke about the future in ruins, pocket and global utopias, technical meritocracies, vampires versus zombies, and the role of science fiction as a social motivator.
Sunday, June 9, 20134 p.m. conversation (audio recording below)
Jace Clayton is an artist focused on the intersection of sound, the use of technology in low-income communities, and public space. As DJ/rupture, Clayton has released a number of acclaimed albums. He discussed inexpensive time-travel devices and how the future might not exist.
Sunday, June 27, 20132 p.m seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
Ben Rivers is an experimental filmmaker and artist based in London. Drawing on his film in development, After London, Rivers talked about a possible future England, landscape transformation, toxic wastelands, and the coexistence of multiple, diverging utopias.
Friday, June 28, 20132 p.m seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
The poet CAConrad is the son of white-trash asphyxiation whose childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift. He is the author of A BEAUTIFUL MARSUPIAL AFTERNOON: New (Soma)tics, The Book of Frank, Advanced Elvis Course, Deviant Propulsion, and a collaboration with poet Frank Sherlock titled The City Real & Imagined. He described how the ever-increasing brutality of our mechanistic world has required us to find our bodies to find our planet to find our poetry.
Monday, July 1, 20132 p.m seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
Mierle Laderman Ukeles is an artist known for her exploration of feminist, labor, and ecological themes. Since 1977, she has created art that deals with the endless maintenance and service work that “keeps the city alive,” urban waste flows, recycling, ecology, urban sustainability, and our power to transform degraded land and water into healthy public places. Ukeles spoke about the future of her work, begun in 2013, as the New York Department of Sanitation Percent for Art Artist at Freshkills Park.
Monday, July 25, 20132 p.m seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
John Crowley is the author of many novels and volumes of short fiction, including the famed fantasy novel Little, Big. He discussed the prophetic work of Norman Bel Geddes, designer of the Futurama, and described his own foolproof method of predicting the far-distant world future.
Monday, June 10, 2013 2 p.m seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
The pioneer in ecological and land art Agnes Denes gave a lecture, “Art for the Third Millennium,” on her ongoing project designing mega-dunes and barrier islands to protect the Rockaway shores and New York Harbor from future storms. She also discussed future cities that she designed in 1980 to deal with global warming. Denes’s monumental earthworks have included forests in Finland and Australia.
Sunday, July 21, 20133:30 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
Katie Kitamura has written for Frieze, Wired, and the New York Times. Her novels include The Longshot and Gone to the Forest. Hari Kunzru is the author of the novels The Impressionist, Transmission, My Revolutions, and Gods Without Men. They described a future where languages are traded like currency.
Friday, June 7, 20132 p.m seminar (no recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)