Dystopia may have become a luxury genre. Indulging in miserable future scenarios is not something everyone has time for. William Gibson recently repurposed his own adage, “the future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed” to say that “dystopia is not very evenly distributed” either.2 For most, the dystopias the privileged entertain themselves with are old news. In the current political landscape, “when we are all living in the shadow of at least half a dozen wildly science fiction scenarios,” to quote Gibson again, and while Hollywood harps on every version of paranoia to construct a thousand dystopias according to formula, dwelling on dystopia could be seen as downright lazy.3 Along with the resources to sit around and ponder the future of humanity, shouldn’t there come the responsibility to invent actionable proposals as opposed to cautionary tales?

Enter the coalescing movement called Solarpunk. In a 2015 blog post titled “Solarpunk wants to save the world,” writer Ben Valentine summarizes: “Solarpunk is the first creative movement consciously and positively responding to the Anthropocene. When no place on Earth is free from humanity’s hedonism, Solarpunk proposes that humans can learn to live in harmony with the planet once again. Solarpunk is a literary movement, a hashtag, a flag, and a statement of intent about the future we hope to create.”4

The first stirrings of Solarpunk emerged online around 2008, with a noticeable expansion around 2014. At least until now, its dispersed internet origins have mostly kept it from a single authoritative definition or decisive political bent. Some Solarpunks invoke the speciated futures of Donna Haraway and the disaster utopias of Rebecca Solnit, while others say their ideals fit squarely within the “wider tradition of the decentralist left”; some cite the sci-fi canon of the New Weird or Cli-Fi (climate fiction), one claims “post-nihilism,” and a recent book adds dragons to the mix.5 While this diversity of vision is the whole point, one also finds mention of the “core community of stewards who know who they are.”6 Like many born-digital movements, especially those tolerant of anonymity, Solarpunk grapples with what inclusivity means in practice. If everyone’s responsible for it, no one’s responsible for it, too.

(via Is Ornamenting Solar Panels a Crime? | e-flux)

Another fantastic long read on solarpunk this time in e-flux architecture

Includes quotes from a few of us here at @solarpunks but also @missolivialouise and others.

It follows other long read articles this year (2018) in Real Life Mag and the LA Review of Books

Is Ornamenting Solar Panels a Crime? – e-flux Architecture – e-flux

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