2022 main reflections:
△ Not much writing actually happened in the sessions.
Most sessions naturally tended much more towards conversion, collective brainstorming, sharing ideas, giving feedback on projects. And this was so so generative and not something we want to change. So this year we are reorganising the sessions to prioritise more collective writing experiences that allow us to write through various exquisite corpse methodologies and keep the focus on collaboration and exchange. That being said, each session adapts to the desires of those in the group, so if one week we find ourselves craving more silent and individual creation processes, there will always be space for that. We really want Queer Futures to be a space where we each feel we can show up exactly as we are, introverted, chatty, hungover, slow, energised and know that we will meet each other somewhere in the middle. This takes trust, vulnerability and communication! All of which takes time. But from the beginning our processes have been slow and we’ve been committed to building really solid connections, working practises and foundations on which hopefully this community can become sustainable and long term practise. Nothing fast is built to last.
The nature of Gather inherently sets up some barriers to access as it is definitely a site more friendly to the technologically inclined. For this reason we have discussed whether this platform is sustainable, and it might get to a point where we decide to switch. For now, we are trying to be more thorough in the way we onboard newcomers to the site in hopes to alleviate some of the overwhelmingness of it.
How can the structure and way we communicate the sessions cater more to the neurodiverse amongst us?
While we have definitely got it wrong at points this year, we are committed to a process of constant reflection and feedback so that when we make mistakes they can quickly be picked up on and corrected. We don’t want open communication to be the exception for when something goes wrong but an ongoing default to the way we work together.
△ What is Queer? What is Future?
Queerness has definitely been very trending this last year, often used as a proxy for when something/someone is scrambling to advertise themselves as vaguely progressive or current. While we’re all for queers in the spotlight, it’s also undeniable that the use of the term Queer has been co opted and appropriated by institutions and organisations everywhere. This has been a big part of our dialog, what makes a piece of writing or art queer? When is nature queer? What makes a future queer? When it’s use is so widespread, how do we relate to this term both as a group and individual identity?
What is the connection between science fiction and the future? Are they inherently linked? Can we resist compulsive forwards orientation through futurist writing? How do we rewrite progress narratives through emphasis on remembering and looking backwards? What is it to write the future versus channelling the future, moving the future, queering the future? How do we future and why?
2023 - what's to come …..
△ Our monthly sessions will continue.
Our monthly sessions every last Sunday will remain a constant throughout the year. As you can read on our sessions page, they are now structured through the progression of a water cycle. We craved a bit more continuation to each session and a sense of each month flowing into the next. Having predetermined the themes of each session for the rest of the year, we hope to give a sense of the collective journey that this cycle will bring us on. We have a separate post that elaborates on ideas behind choosing the water cycle to structure our sessions through.
△ More telematic / multimedia creative exchanges.
This could be in the form of virtual field trips, postcard chain mails. We are up for any experiments you might have here.
We are planning to host our first Queer Futures writing residency this year. In the spirit of liminality, we have spoken about a long distance train journey being a potential vessel to host our lab. Obsessed with Public Domain Review, we have ideas to host a residency that straddles online/offline participation, gathered around this bizarre web archive. We are currently open to any ideas, partnerships and funding to make the first Queer Futures residency happen.
We are also hoping to attend residencies. We want to host more offline Queer Futures sessions and do more in person meet ups.
We have a lot of interest in performance, opera, theatre and music etc. Very tentatively, we have spoken about turning some of our Queer Futures conjurings into physical productions. If queer/sci-fi/time travelling operas sends your heart palpitating like it does for us, let's chat.
We hosted an evening of performances back in October at Al.Berlin and it was very lovely, so more of these hopefully coming to a venue near you!
18 January, 2023