Monika Bielskyte is a world designer, immersive artist, science fiction critic, and cultivator of Protopia Futures (@ProtopiaFutures on Instagram), which is a an intersectional design practice that was distilled down into a Protopia Futures [Framework] manifesto published on May 18th, 2021 that was created in collaboration with over 30 collaborators. I’ve previously talked with Bielskyte in 2017 about Designing The Future through Sci-Fi World Building and in 2018 about Sci-Fi Worldbuilding to Collaboratively Shape Protopian Futures, and she’s actually been moving away from the concept of “building” and “world building” and more towards the more relational and organic metaphors of world growing and world cultivating.
There’s also been a distillation of the Protopia Futures Framework, that’s anchored into the seven principles of:
- Plurality — Beyond Binaries
- Community — Beyond Borders
- Celebration Of Presence
- Regenerative Action & Life As Technology
- Symbiotic Spirituality
- Creativity & Emergent Subcultures
- Evolution Of Cultural Values
I had a chance to do a pretty epic deep dive into these seven principles with Bielskyte on November 2nd, in a nearly 3-hour conversation that is broken down into four major parts:
- Background context, creative process, & intersectional inspirations for Protopia Futures Framework.
- Deconstructing Denis Villeneuve’s Dune through the lens of Protopia Futures
- Detailed unpacking and breakdown of the seven principles of Protopia Futures
- Deconstruction of Metaverse Sci-Fi, how Meta is basing their vision of the Metaverse on Ready Player One, & deeper decolonial critiques of their techno-utopianism and denial of context.
This is a pretty extensive, nearly 3-hour long episode, but is able to articulate so many deep insights about how those who control the fantasy, control the future. Given the power of these science fiction narratives in how the guide, direct, and shape our technological futures, then it’s worth having some critical frameworks to use to not only deconstruct the deeper patterns of these stories that are being told, but to also provide a design framework, map, checklist, and blue print for a world design, world growing, world cultivating, and future dreaming practice that nurtures radical tenderness, radical hope, and our imaginations for what types of Protopian Futures might be possible.
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