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The Subliminal Horizon

“I don't think we have any alternative other than remaining optimistic. Optimism is an absolute necessity, even if it's only optimism of the will, as Gramsci said, and pessimism of the intellect.” Angela Y. Davis, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, 2016

A mood-board on sci-fi and the importance of a positive narrative for speculative futures—exploring the voice of Octavia Butler amongst other current references.

In response to the New Geographies online programme events, I would like to focus on what was shared during the inspiring panel discussion on Landscape and the points on the importance of science fiction for imagining a new and positive future. Taking David Blandy's film, The World After as a starting point to share a mood-board on current and older references that I would like to share.

Blandy’s film is set as a fictional tale which imagines a world after the Anthropocene era, a time in which humanity’s activities had detrimental effect on earth’s climate and environment. In this future world, human influence on the planet has faded following a catastrophic man-made ecological crisis, with those who remain having to find new ways to survive and form kin. On that note and throughout my personal interests and research, I have encountered books, animations, comic books and artists' works which entail the idea of starting anew, seeking for a future that is positive and inclusive.

I would like to mention the importance of Octavia Butler in current science fiction writing as well as in its adaptation into TV and comic books.

Dawn (from the Xenogenesis Trilogy: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago) follows Lilith Iyapo a human chosen by the aliens, the Oankali to rebuild a new community on earth after a nuclear catstrophy. The Oankali saved a few of the last earth survivors, their species exist and evolves through genetical merging with older civilisations.

Anne Duffau is the Interim Curator at Wysing, currently working on the Wysing Polyphonic Festival. She has been co-ordinating the New Geographies: Tracing the East online event in May 2020.

She independently runs the nomadic platform: A---Z (www.abc-z.org).

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