Cosmotechnics & Cosmofuturisms
The modern world system, as colonial/capitalist, relies on non-economic order (on work being done that is not productive). It ignores education, healthcare, and social work (not compensated enough for the importance of the work, which literally keeps the world alive). It relies on oppression.
This oppression has historically relied on gendered oppression. Nobody has to pay for or compensate women for this work (historically domestic work: raising/educating children, care, etc). Let’s not forget the racial, ethnic, cultural (etc) oppression! Also, nature expropriation. Capitalism NEEDS these marginalized groups. It needs these certain communities (ethnic, gendered, etc.) to stay marginalized in order to benefit from them.
Because we are so used to it, I think for a lot of people “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism.” I agree with this statement. I don’t necessarily think it’s true in its essence, but I do think people have accepted it as a way of life now. So much so that they stay away from terms like ‘capitalism’ and ‘decolonization’ because it’s just easier not to think about it; capitalism will do the thinking for you. It turns out there’s actually a term for this, ‘Capitalist Realism’, coined by Mark Fisher.
However, I believe there are alternative ways of thinking. I think I’ve always felt like this and made art around futurist concepts ever since I was a young artist. Learning about these cosmological concepts in a more academic setting has definitely furthered my knowledge and the intention about the kind of art/design I want to be making.
The definition of cosmology is a science of how the universe started and how it is structured. The scientific study of the origin, evolution, and structure of the universe. So, why can’t we imagine new ways of how the universe started? Or even imagine a whole new world based on today's world? Also, don’t people have their own conceptions of how the world actually started? Especially those in marginalized communities?
In class, we discussed two kinds of cosmologies: Cosmotechnics & Cosmofuturisms. Cosmofuturism provides us with the possibilities of alternative worlds. Cosmotechnics was described as (by Dr. Ansari):
- Artifice (design/architecture, food/diet, clothing etc.)
- Culture (art, religion, beliefs)
What resonates with me the most from these concepts is that cosmofuturism is not just about the future, but the representation of the present, AND a commentary on the past (the colonial trauma/rupture of the past and the cosmotechnics of the pre-colonial era). The art created through these concepts is “not art for art's sake.” It opens up a different way of thinking about art. You can clearly see these ideas in the Afrofuturist movement.
The idea of cosmotechnics is extremely interesting to me. Yuk Hui describes it as, “the unification of the cosmos and the moral through technical activities, whether craft-making or art-making.” So, to my understanding, cosmotechnics can fall under a cosmofuturist society. We can imagine different worlds, but what these worlds actually consist of are cosmotechinics.
Side tangent: sci-fi and speculative fiction weren’t created in the west!! This makes sense to me now! Of course these “new and imagined” worlds derive from marginalized people. They have long histories from different parts of the world and are STILL dealing with the repercussions. Imagining alternative futures than the ones they’ve been forced into only makes sense.