Walidah Imarisha on Visionary Fiction

This is beautiful, and true. “Visionary fiction and other imaginative spaces are key to true liberatory change — because we must be able to imagine something different before we can build it, and we have lived all of our lives within systems that tell us radical change is an impossibility.”



Visionary fiction opens the Overton window.

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I’m intrigued, say more.

“We must practice, joyfully and even playfully, imagining what lies beyond the event horizon society has embedded in our minds.” Very true!
The piece reminded me of a sci-fi film I recently watched, called In Vitro by Larissa Sansour. The film deals with what ‘nationalism,’ ‘collective memory,’ ‘exile,’ ‘temporality’ means against the backdrop of tabula rasa created in the face of an ecological disaster. Just like Imarisha tells us about how the idea of abolishing the police was at a time not thought of as possible to conceive, the film pushes one to reckon with something like nationalism that is embedded in our mind and pushes us to envision the otherwise and where it might take us. In light of that, I come to better grasp what we mean by visionary fiction.
Also Imarisha’s comment on how “the future and the past can exist simultaneously with the present” and how this is a crucial understanding for social change to take place, is experimented with in the film. But, the film, also unsettle it at the same time, questioning what happens when we let the past, present, and future project onto each others.
I am thinking this, partly because I am trying to make sense of how the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (supposedly preparing for situations in the future which is moved by the premise that something like a ‘nation’ is unstable to solely rely on for protecting seeds) is bound by national laws and also the fact that the nation that deposit seeds is the only one able to access the seeds later in the future. What happens when a ‘nation’ or its people are no longer there. I feel that my thoughts are straying so I will stop here …

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I’m curious about this film and I’ll check it out. But what you point out about Svalbard @israa, I had no idea. Seems so ironic and deflating, that a facility designed to survive the pathologies of this time would still hold so tightly to some of its organizing fictions, like national boundaries, sovereign ownership, such that one could very well imagine, as you suggest, vast hosts of stateless and orphan seeds, illegitimate and placeless lineages, carrying on almost like ghosts in the future.