Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Shining Some Light On Solarpunk's Politics

Artwork courtesy of T.X. Watson
If you're a regular reader of this blog, you've probably heard of steampunk. I've also covered steamfunk and silkpunk. There's a cyberpunk off-shoot that started via artist tumblrs and has grown from aesthetic to a speculative near-future with some interesting political underpinnings: solarpunk.
It's been the prompt for at least one game jam, and has an oversize influence in visual domains: There's a seemingly endless scroll of solarpunk pinterest boards, and the concept has worked its way into webcomics and concept art for Black Panther.

Writing for Medium, Andrew Dana Hudson has an in-depth look at the vision behind this speculative future, and the politics behind the genre. An excerpt:
Let me say from the outset: the world of solarpunk is this world. The here, the now and the very soon. Burdened with all that that’s been slung across our backs. While you might set your solarpunk stories in far off futures or fantasy universes (I won’t stop you), great speculative fiction always reflects the fears and aspirations of the time and place it was written. This is what I’m interested in: what solarpunk can tell us about the civilization we have right now, where it’s going and what we’ll be living through.
I’ll also offer up my own ideas about what exactly we should be doing with this strange bloom we’ve found. Solarpunk feels like a cathartic uncorking of a pent up imagination, and that energy can be channeled in different directions. A genre explores ideas through motifs, variations on a theme. A movement provokes change through iterations of strategy and deed. I love the former, but we need the latter.
The entire article is fascinating reading, so I implore you to read the whole thing. Then, once you've done that, have a look at the impressive body of work from the late, great Solarpunk Press, where you can find art, podcasts and fiction that explore the genre.

No comments:

Share This Post